In addition to the Mets having to make decisions on players like Jerry Blevins, Yoenis Cespedes, and Neil Walker in free agency, they are going to have to make a number of decisions on their own minor league free agents. As we saw with Ty Kelly last year, minor league free agents are important because they not only provide depth at the minor league level, but they also could be players that may need to be called-up to the majors during the season. With that in mind, here is a review on some of the more notable Mets minor league free agents
Roger Bernadina, CF
2016 AAA Stats: .292/.376/.465, 65 R, 29 2B, 4 3B, 10 HR, 55 RBI, 20 SB
For the second straight season, Bernadina did not play a game in the majors. Instead, he put up what was solid offensive numbers for the Pacific Coast League. Bernadina appears to be the same player who was a decent fielder and sub-par hitter he has been throughout his career. He still has decent speed, and the Mets should consider bringing him back.
Eric Campbell, UTIL
2016 MLB Stats: .173/.284/.227, 9 R, 2B, HR, 9 RBI, SB
2016 AAA Stats: .301/.390/.447, 63 R, 15 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 47 RBI, 7 SB
With Campbell regressing at the plate for a third straight season, he has once again proved he is really a AAAA player. He has his positive attributes which include his defensive versatility, his ability to pinch hit, and his overall good attitude. However, with the numbers, the Mets couldn’t justify keeping him on the 40 man roster anymore.
Chase Huchingson, LHP
2016 AAA Stats: 1-1, 5.93 ERA, 22 G, 1.902 WHIP, 8.6 K/9
Before his second substance abuse suspension in 2013, Huchingson was a player to watch as he made his way through the Mets farm system. While his stuff hasn’t changed, the results have with him mostly struggling in the upper levels of the minor leagues. Part of the reason for his struggles this year was his dealing with some arm soreness. At 27 years old, he may never realize his full potential, but he remains AAA depth with some upside still remaining.
Andrew Barbosa, LHP
2016 MiLB Stats: 3-0, 1.51 ERA, 16 G, 15 GS, 0.907 WHIP, 8.9 K/9
After barely making it out of A ball, Barbosa found himself pitching for the Long Island Ducks. Barbosa was dominant for the Ducks, and like many who succeed with the Ducks, Barbosa found himself a part of the New York Mets organization. In one season, Barbosa rose from Rookie Ball all the way to AAA. Even though he is 28 years old, there is still a chance Barbosa can be a contributor at the big league level (most likely in the pen). The relationship between Barbosa and the Mets was beneficial in 2016, and it should continue into 2017.
Rainy Lara, RHP
2016 AA Stats: 7-11, 5.27 ERA, 23 G, 21 GS, 1.467 WHIP, 5.6 K/9
Lara has progressed somewhat slowly through the Mets organization since being signed as an 18 year old out of the Dominican Republic. His stuff hasn’t progressed much either with him still having a low 90s fastball with a slider and changeup he still has not quite mastered. If Lara is going to make the majors, it is going to be as a middle reliever maxing it out every inning. If the Mets are interested in seeing the 25 year old try to make the transition, he would be a worthwhile player to re-sign.
There are many other minor league free agents the Mets need to make decide whether to re-sign or lose them to another team. It will be interesting to see not only who the Mets eventually do sign, but also if any of those players get to the majors like Kelly did in 2016.