Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
With Opening Day three weeks away, the Mets are dealing with injuries to Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier, getting terrific Spring Training production from a refreshed Dominic Smith, and slowly working Travis d'Arnaud back into the swing of things. Here's how we see things shaking out in our 25-man Roster Prediction 2.0...
Starting Rotation (5)
- Jacob deGrom, RHP
- Noah Syndergaard, RHP
- Steven Matz, LHP
- Zack Wheeler, RHP
- Jason Vargas, LHP
Notable Spring Training Developments: None
As was the case when we released our Roster Prediction 1.0, the Mets' starting rotation remains one part of the expected 25-man roster where there are zero questions. Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler will all be in the starting rotation if healthy -- we have Wheeler as the No. 4 starter simply as a way to break up the left-handers.
While there has been some consternation about Jason Vargas, he pitched quite well in the second half of the 2018 season and is earning $8 million this season. Beyond that, the Mets don't have any slam-dunk alternatives and the team has already come out and said Vargas is their guy at No. 5.
- Edwin Diaz, RHP
- Jeurys Familia, RHP
- Seth Lugo, RHP
- Robert Gsellman, RHP
- Justin Wilson, LHP
- Luis Avilan, LHP
- Drew Smith, RHP
- Kyle Dowdy, RHP
Notable Spring Training Developments: Luis Avilan has been terrific, cementing his hold on a spot as the second left-hander, and Drew Smith has pitched very well. Rule 5 pick Kyle Dowdy has struggled a bit.
As noted during our Roster Prediction 1.0, the first five spots in the bullpen were always going to Diaz, Familia, Lugo, Gsellman, and Wilson. And the expectation remains that the Mets will carry eight relievers, meaning there are three spots left.
There is a chance the team will carry three left-handers, and it's a near-certainty that they'll carry at least two, so Avilan remains on track to make the team. Smith is also putting himself in great position. While Dowdy has struggled a bit, no one else (from a group that includes Tyler Bashlor, Paul Sewald, and Jacob Rhame) has really sent a message. So the last spot is still Dowdy's to lose.
Everyday Position Players (8)
- Wilson Ramos, C
- Dominic Smith, 1B
- Robinson Cano, 2B
- Amed Rosario, SS
- Jeff McNeil, 3B
- Brandon Nimmo, LF
- Juan Lagares, CF
- Michael Conforto, RF
Notable Spring Training Developments: Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier are both dealing with injuries and one or both will likely not be ready by Opening Day. In the first base competition, Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso are both demolishing the ball.
With the Mets having added depth and being extra cautious when it comes to injuries, it's fair to expect both Frazier and Lowrie will not be ready for Opening Day. And if that's the case -- with the Mets having two lineup spots to fill -- a minor shakeup should be in order.
That minor shakeup would involve Jeff McNeil temporarily moving from left field to third base, which is something GM Brodie Van Wagenen left the door open to last month when discussing the injury issues. And if McNeil (a far better option than Adeiny Hechavarria) is at third base, it allows the Mets to use plus-defender Juan Lagares in center field.
When it comes to first base, while Van Wagenen has been open about Pete Alonso having a chance to make the team, it would still be malpractice to carry him from the get-go since it would mean forfeiting a year of team control. And with Dominic Smith playing incredibly well, this decision should be a relatively easy one.
- Keon Broxton, OF
- Devin Mesoraco, C
- J.D. Davis, 1B/3B/OF
- Adeiny Hechavarria, SS/3B/2B
Notable Spring Training Developments: Injuries to expected everyday players have shaken things up
In our Roster Prediction 1.0, Juan Lagares and Travis d'Arnaud were on the bench. With us now having McNeil shifting to third base, a regular outfield spot has opened for Lagares, meaning an extra spot on the bench, which we have going to Hechavarria.
Van Wagenen has cited Hechavarria as a potential starter at third base, but there really isn't a circumstance where a contender should be using a player like Hechavarria in a starting role.
When it comes to the backup catcher, Devin Mesoarco has replaced d'Arnaud due to two reasons -- the pace at which d'Arnaud (returning from Tommy John surgery) is being worked back into the swing of things, and the praise that has been heaped on Mesoraco for his work when catching Jacob deGrom.
So expect Mesoraco to be the backup, with d'Arnaud either held back in Port St. Lucie while continuing to get in playing shape or getting traded.