The New York Mets rode with their veterans for as long as they could. To a certain extent, you could understand it with Mark Canha being an integral part of a 101 win team. However, even with that in the 8-7 extra inning win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Buck Showalter did what needed to be done, and he hit Brett Baty for Canha.
Given the fact Eduardo Escobar and Tommy Pham were already out of the game, that meant Baty was going to have to play left field. It also meant that was the first time we got to see Francisco Álvarez, Baty, and Mark Vientos in the field for the Mets at the same time.
In many ways, this was the dawn of a new era of Mets baseball. We knew that Álvarez was always going to be the catcher of the future. It seemed Baty surpassed Vientos as the third baseman of the future. The question was what was to happen with Vientos. DH seemed to be the spot, but perhaps, there’s a new roadmap in place.
We got a glimpse of what Álvarez can do. He’s already an excellent defensive catcher, which has been a very pleasant surprise. We also saw him channel his inner Mike Piazza to hit the game tying homer in the ninth.
The Kids Are Alright!
Francisco Álvarez caps a big @Mets comeback! pic.twitter.com/jzSwfRZo7H
— MLB (@MLB) May 18, 2023
That was the second Mets homer of the game. The first came from Vientos. He was called up to the majors because of his power at the plate. We all suspected it was game changing power, and we saw that happen when he homered in the seventh to tie the game at 2-2. It took a Mets team that looked down and out and put a jolt into them,.
WELCOME BACK TO THE BIG LEAGUES MARK VIENTOS!!!!
THIS GAME IS TIED! pic.twitter.com/z8iegpI5pF
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 18, 2023
We also know Pete Alonso hit the walk-off homer in the tenth to give the Mets an unexpected and much needed win. Of course, Alonso homering there only highlights the problem the Mets have. With Alonso at first, the team cannot put Vientos at first to put Baty at third like they did in Syracuse.
No, Vientos either has to play third or DH. Asking a young player to DH is sometimes an issue, and it would be better for him to play third. Looking to the offseason, the Mets also want to keep DH open to try to entice Shohei Ohtani, but that is a discussion for another time.
The discussion for right now is how to get Baty and Vientos onto the field at the same time. Perhaps, Baty having to play left field in an emergency is the roadmap. Perhaps, the Mets could try putting Baty in left with Vientos at third.
For what it is worth, Baty looked good there in 250 innings in the minors. His 27.1 ft/sec sprint speed is quicker than Pham and is sufficient to play left. He’d be one of the slower left fielders, but with his quick reactions formed while training for third. There is also the fact the Mets were preparing for that eventuality when they initially agreed to terms with Carlos Correa.
Vientos is not a great third baseman. It’s one of the reasons he was usurped by Baty. We saw him make a great throw to get Jose Siri, but he also made a rough throw that cost the Mets a chance at a double play. However, he is vastly improved defensively, and he has a game changing bat.
The Mets can and should bring Luis Guillorme back up to fill in for late inning defense. Canha can be available for that as well. They can use Escobar to spell third on occasion. Using key veterans like Canha, Escboar, and Guillorme will help the Mets keep Baty and VIentos in games.
It will also help the Mets get the most out of their young players. It will help them make Álvarez, Baty, and Vientos the core of this team now and for the future.
In the opening game of the series against the Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets fans were angry Luis Guillorme hit for Mark Canha with the bases loaded and Alexis Díaz on the mound.
It didn’t matter Canha has trouble with the slider and has been hitting .188/.229/.313 over the past two weeks and ..208/.268/.333 over the past month. What they know is that Guillorme isn’t better than Canha.
Actually, that’s not true. It’s a complete assumption predicated on the fact Guillorme does not hit for power. Since he does not hit for power, he is de facto bad. One blown call from the third base umpire, and those assumptions were then solidified as fact.
Here’s the thing. Guillorme has not been that good this season. We have not seen Gold Glove level ability in the field. Instead, Guillorme has a -3 OAA at second base. To be fair, if Guillorme is not fielding, it’s hard to find a spot for him to play.
However, the ability is still there. Despite the consternation from Mets fans, Guillorme got the start after failing to deliver with the bases loaded (Canha grounded into a double play with no outs and the bases loaded earlier in the game, but that didn’t matter as much). We saw Guillorme’s ability to field on display yet again:
A diving stop by Luis Guillorme! pic.twitter.com/N5jlqUWcXD
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 10, 2023
That was not the full extent of Guillorme’s contributions to the 2-1 win. He would start a two out rally with a double off Hunter Greene. He would come home to score the winning run on a Brandon Nimmo RBI single.
On the day, Guillorme was 2-for-3 with a run and a double. It was his second two hit game in as many starts. Since April 14, Guillorme is hitting .278/.395/.333. If he can field like Guillorme, that’s a very productive player.
Guillorme is not a superstar and is never going to be one. He is a guy who plays very good defense. He has good at-bats not striking out often and finding a way on base. As we saw last year, he is a winning type of player who makes your team better.
With the way Canha is struggling, it is difficult to play him over Guillorme. Guillorme has been much better over the past month, and he brings more to the team from a defensive standpoint. If given a playing time, he can again do what he did last year. If so, the Mets will begin winning games again.
Mostly, Guillorme can re-establish the type of player he is. He’s a strong defender who gets on base. When he’s that, the Mets are better, and when he’s playing like that, he will silence his critics (again). All he needs is a stretch of playing time. At this point, there is little doubt he should be getting it.
When Eduardo Escobar got off to a slow start to the season, the New York Mets did what they should have done to start the season. Brett Baty was called up to the majors to become the everyday third baseman with Escobar going to the bench.
Baty has been very good with a 154 wRC+ and a 1 OAA. He has claimed the Mets third base job for now and hopefully over the next decade. With him hitting his first homer against a left-handed pitcher, Buck Showalter is running out of excuses to sit him in favor of Escobar.
While Baty has been thriving, Escobar has been the consummate professional. He has helped Baty, and he also has been there to do whatever he can do to help this Mets team win.
What has gone unnoticed is he has been hitting well of late. Over his last six games played, Escobar is 6-for-19 with a double, triple, two homers, and five RBI. The obvious caveat there is the Mets have been playing him against left-handed pitching which he hits very well.
Still, the more Escobar hits, the more he is going to push his way into the lineup. Looking at Baty over at third, we know Escobar is losing his opportunities to play at third. Honestly, that is probably a good thing with Escobar having a -6 OAA at third last year and a -9 over the two previous seasons.
However, Escobar has been a good defender at second base. In 2021, he had a 3 OAA at second base. Keep in mind, with Escobar being on the bench, he is going to have to be versatile and be able to play more than just third. Fortunately, as we see here, second is probably his best position.
Escobar at second could help solve an issue for the Mets. At the moment, Mark Canha keeps regressing, and the Mets are running out of reasons to keep him in the everyday lineup. He has a 91 wRC+, and he is not hitting the ball hard.
Historically, Jeff McNeil is a better hitter when he plays left field. In his career, he has a .841 OPS as a left fielder against a .806 as a second baseman. That held true last year with McNeil having a .852 OPS at second as compared to a .863 OPS in left (and .896 in RF). Fact is, he’s a better hitter when he’s playing the outfield.
Getting him out there means Canha sits. Right now, the Mets can’t really sit Canha for Luis Guillorme. Guillorme only has an 80 wRC+, which is low even for him. Even more troubling is the -2 OAA at second. If he’s not fielding like he usually does, there really can’t be a spot for him in the everyday lineup.
The biggest takeaway here is the Mets have three players in Canha, Escobar, and Guillorme who are struggling. McNeil being better in left gives the Mets the ability to ride the hot hand between the three. Right now, Escobar is the hot hand. As a result, he needs to get the bulk of the playing time until he needs to come out of the lineup, and/or Canha or Guillorme get going again.
The New York Mets finished April with a 15-12 record three games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East. Even for the Mets, there was a lot to digest:
1. David Cone made it clear Max Scherzer wasn’t cheating, and Scherzer is owed an apology from Major League Baseball. The Mets do as well for the extra toll it took on their rotation.
2. Jacob deGrom‘s continued injuries are sad, and we should all want the best for him. However, no one should be using that as justification for the Mets letting him go to Texas when Justin Verlander has yet to throw a pitch for the Mets.
3. David Peterson pitched himself out of the rotation, and it’s not clear where the Mets go from here with him. He’s in Triple-A where he belongs for the time being. In the long term, the Mets need to figure out if he’s salvageable as a starter, needs to be their Trevor Williams, or perhaps their next Seth Lugo.
4. David Robertson has more than taken over for Edwin Díaz. The issue is the rest of the bullpen continues to fluctuate between injured, ineffective, and lights out. Really, game-to-game, the Mets have no consistency down there other than Robertson.
5. The youth movement has begun with Brett Baty, and we see Francisco Álvarez has been forcing the issue (surprisingly with his defense). At some point, the Mets are going to have to just give the DH job to Mark Vientos because he has been annihilating the baseball.
6. Buck Showalter seems content to stick with his veterans, and if that continues in the long run, it is going to be a problem. Given how young players were the key to his success in Baltimore, it is flat out crazy to see how he hasn’t involved from the instincts which doomed him with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Texas Rangers.
7. Pete Alonso has been nearly everything you could ask from him to start this season. In fact, he’s even back to playing good defense at first base.
8. Brandon Nimmo has responded to signing that massive contract by arguably being the best player in baseball to start the season. This will be the first season he is an All-Star, and we should seem him get some MVP consideration should he stay healthy.
9. It’s been an uneasy start for Francisco Lindor, but he has been phenomenal defensively. Just remember with him, May is typically the month he breaks out in a season, so we should be in for a treat.
10. The way Daniel Vogelbach has started the season he is going to give the Mets reason to follow Daniel Murphy, who is off to a hot start with the Long Island Ducks. Better yet, we may see Vientos here sooner rather than later. Really, at some point, Vogelbach has to hit for some power.
11. Whatever the Mets thinking was on Tommy Pham, it was wrong. Moreover, it was wrong to build outfield depth with players 34 and older (aside from Nimmo). That goes double when you consider the Mets have zero Major League ready outfield depth in Syracuse.
12. Jeff McNeil surprisingly got off to a very slow start. However, he has been really strong the past two weeks, and he appears poised to have another very good season for the Mets.
13. McNeil needs to be more of a table setter. The Mets going with Starling Marte batting second just isn’t working. He’s making weak contact, and he’s just not getting on base enough. McNeil isn’t a five hitter. Again, Showalter needs to stop with the deference to veterans and start looking to win games.
14. Give Eduardo Escobar all the credit in the world. He lost his job, and he responded by being an amazing teammate and mentor. While his production may not be what the Mets wanted it to be when they signed him, the signing has paid off tenfold with his leadership and clubhouse presence.
15. Increasingly, Mark Canha looks done, at least as an everyday player. There needs to be a rotation with him and Luis Guillorme playing until the Mets figure out what they want to do with Ronny Mauricio. On Mauricio, so long as Showalter is loathe to play the young players, you simply cannot call him up.
16. There is an ace somewhere inside Kodai Senga. We saw it in Japan, and we have seen glimpses of it here. However, if he is going to continue to walk the ballpark, he is going to be a borderline MLB starter. That is a huge problem for the Mets with much of their success being tied into how good or bad he performs.
17. Every year, Drew Smith seems to be performing worse than what his actual numbers are. Part of that is his walk rate is too high.
18. Tomás Nido‘s defensive metrics are surprisingly poor. Part of that may be the difficulties in catching Senga. If not, the Mets are in trouble when their defensive specialist behind the plate isn’t performing.
19. The biggest takeaway from April is the Mets appear to be a postseason team with part of that being because it is an expanded postseason format. Keep in mind, while their record now may not be awe inspiring, they are still on a 90 win pace.
20. It needs to be repeated over and over again. The Mets need to go with their younger and more productive players. If Showalter is going to stand in the way of that, the Mets need to find someone who won’t. It’s just that simple.
The New York Mets have a number of offensive problems to start the season with nearly everyone struggling at one point. Singling out any single player is a big unfair, but like with what the Mets did with Eduardo Escobar, at some point, the team needs to know when to make a switch.
Right now, the Mets are getting into that position with Mark Canha.
Canha is a useful player on a Major League roster. He gives excellent at-bats, and he makes contact. He does find a way to get on base with a career 21.2% walk rate. He is a solid defender in left field, and he is a good base runner with some speed.
However, when you break it all down, we are seeing a 34 year old with diminishing skills. In some ways, he is the epitome of a Mets offense with has trouble generating power and scoring runs.
Per Baseball Savant, Canha is among the worst in generating hard contact at the plate, which is why his xBA, xSLG, and xwOBA are so low. He’s generating just 5.3% barrels per plate appearance. Keep in mind, that is not at all the worst on the Mets.
Last year, Canha got away with this same approach a bit for two reasons. First and foremost was his .309 BABIP. That was uncharacteristically high for him. He’s at .289 for his career, and with him at .262 this season, we are seeing a batter with a 96 wRC+ to begin the season.
Canha currently has a .690 OPS. Historically, he has a .741 over the first month of the season. Last season, he had a .792 OPS over the first month of the season. So far, he has not been the same hitter he was last season, which has been problematic.
Another reason Canha was so effective last season was the HBP. He’s been a pincushion his entire career, and he led the majors with 28 HBP last year. That was after leading the league with 27 the previous season. So far this year, he is “only” at two, which puts him on pace for roughly 12.
Now, the Mets could get away with this if Canha was an elite defender. He’s not. He was a -1 OAA last year. This season, he is at a 0 OAA while converting roughly the same percentage of plays he did last season.
Fact is, Jeff McNeil plays a better left field than Canha does right now. Looking at the roster, Luis Guillorme may hit for even less power than Canha, but he is a better defensive player (even if his -2 OAA at second is uncharacteristically low to start the year). The Mets also have the option of looking towards Ronny Mauricio at some point during the season.
Again, Canha has value. He can be the platoon option for Daniel Vogelbach. He can spell Pete Alonso at first. He can still play left field. The problem is he’s not hitting enough to remain as a regular in the lineup, and he doesn’t field well enough to carry a weaker bat.
By all accounts, the Mets can give him more time. Typically, May is really when he gets going in a season. He should get a couple of weeks at least, but at some point, if Canha still isn’t producing, he is going to have to sit for another player.
As usual, the New York Mets went to Milwaukee and forgot how to play baseball. It always happens:
1. Since 2016, the Mets are 3-18 at whatever they’re calling Miller Park now. It’s at the point where the 1986 Mets in their prime couldn’t beat a Milwaukee t-ball team if it is played in that ballpark.
2. The Mets lost a game 10-0 and the next one 9-0. That’s something the 1962 or 1993 Mets did. That should tell you how bad the series was.
3. Keith Hernandez on a hot mic double guessing Buck Showalter for the insanely bad decision of sending Carlos Carrasco for another inning spoke for all Mets fans.
4. Carrasco getting a pitch clock violation before he threw a pitch tells you how well he’s adapting to it.
5. Showalter saving Adam Ottavino for the Brewers best left-handed hitters and burning David Robertson before that is simply incompetent managing. Robertson is great against left-handed batters, and Ottavino got hit hard by them last year.
6. With all that is going on with the Mets are the present, Showalter cannot afford these unforced errors. More to the point, the whole premise for hiring him was he doesn’t make these egregious mistakes because he knows more than us all.
7. If the issue for Pete Alonso was the bat handle, the Mets shouldn’t let him near anything other than the axe handle again.
8. It was a real positive to see Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, and Jeff McNeil get three hit games. All three have been struggling in their own right, and they all need to break out of their early season slumps.
9. Whatever is going on with Max Scherzer, he needs to figure it out. It’s not just the three homers on three pitches. He is becoming susceptible to the big inning, and the strikeout numbers are down. If he’s not an ace, the Mets are in trouble.
10. Luis Guillorme does what he does. He had a good game at the plate, and he was very good defensively. He also stepped up and pitched a scoreless inning when the Mets really needed to save the bullpen. He is much better than people want to give him credit.
11. Mark Canha had one big game in Miami. Aside from that, he has been terrible at the plate, and we know he hasn’t been great in the outfield. His days as a starter should be numbered.
12. Of all the issues we see with Eduardo Escobar, perhaps the most troubling is his sprint speed is way down. Perhaps, that is because he hasn’t had any reason to sprint this season.
13. The Mets did have a bright spot in the series with John Curtiss and Dennis Santana. Hopefully, they can be this reliable all season long.
14. Omar Narváez will be missed. He had an excellent start to the season, but now, they Mets are going to be without him for two months. This should be the start of the Francisco Álvarez Era.
15. If not for the Brett Baty thumb injury, you have to imagine he would have been here this weekend. The Mets already need him. You can say the same for Mark Vientos, but there’s no obvious spot on the roster for him right now.
16. After all we saw in Milwaukee, the Mets were smart to delay the season opener a day. The team was in shambles and needed a rest. It sucks for the fans, but we are more interested in wins than anything else . . . or at least we should be.
17. Flat out, the Mets did not look good in this series. They were completely outplayed by a mediocre Brewers squad. The hope is that it is just that ballpark.
18. After the home opening series against the Miami Marlins, things get more difficult for the Mets. If they continue playing this way, changes will need to come sooner rather than later.
19. This id David Peterson’s chance. He can’t blow it like he did in this series.
20. That final game of the series is what gives you hope. As we saw last year, when Lindor and Alonso are hitting, everything is fine. You’d like to believe after last season, Billy Eppler would’ve tried harder to ease Lindor’s and Alonso’s burden.
We need to start with a couple of caveats here. First and foremost, it’s only two games. Moreover, those two games were started by reigning Cy Young Sandy Alcantara and Jesús Luzardo.
That all said, the New York Mets right-handed hitting options outside of Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, and Starling Marte were going to be a question mark at best. Problem at worse.
So far, it has looked like a problem.
Mark Canha’s bat has looked as slow as it did in September and October of last season. Tommy Pham is hitless in four relatively non-competitive at-bats.
We can and should say many times over it’s early. However, we’re seeing problems of last year resurface for both players. That creates a dilemma for the Mets.
Down in Triple-A, they have Brett Baty who looked ready to go. Yes, he’s left-handed, but he would force at least one of Canha or Eduardo Escobar to the bench.
This could keep Canha and Escobar fresher. Mainly, it shifts the positions and responsibilities of veterans. Instead of everyday players, they become utility or semi-regular players.
Moving Canha to the bench could have Jeff McNeil in left with Luis Guillorme at second. The Mets could also opt for Guillorme at third with Escobar on the bench.
If no one is hitting, then Guillorme’s glove needs to be on the field everyday. In reality, it always needed to be there.
Same goes for Baty. He always should have been on the roster. He’s a better defender now than Escobar, and he has more potential to be a better hitter than Canha or Escobar.
Again, this seems to be a rush to judgment, but that’s partially because the Mets have a rapidly approaching deadline. Per Baseball America, if Baty is called up with two weeks, the Mets may be eligible for the Prospect Promotion Incentive.
Due to the timelines, if Baty is called up soon, the Mets are eligible for a first round pick and international bonus pool money if he wins Rookie of the Year. Even if he were not to win it, the Mets could receive future compensation if he finishes in the top three in MVP voting until he’s arbitration eligible.
If Baty is up, there will still be plenty of at-bats to go around to Canha and Escobar. That’s partially the result of Daniel Vogelbach being a platoon DH.
However, at some point, the Mets need to stop worrying about finding them at-bats and just give playing time to worthy players who can help them win.
At the moment, Canha and Pham look overmatched at the plate and aren’t great defenders. Escobar isn’t a good defender and again appears to be a platoon bat. There’s a deadline on Baty fast approaching.
The Mets created a problem by assembling this roster. The right-handed bats were very questionable and look all the more so through two games.
Given Baty and PPI, they can’t just wait for Canha, Escobar, and Pham to right the ship. Mets need to act quickly and right the ship.
For the New York Mets 60th season, I made 60 bold predictions heading into the season. The concept is to really go for it instead of being meek and saying Francisco Lindor will play the most games at short, or Pete Alonso will lead the team in homers. It was to be daring. Some hit, and some did not. In any event, here are 61 for this year as this is the 61st season:
1. The New York Mets will win the 2023 World Series.
2. The Mets will be the third best team in the division during the regular season.
3. David Peterson will have more starts this season than any other Mets starter.
4. Kodai Senga will be an All-Star.
5. Jeff McNeil will make a run at .400 and will finish with a batting average north of .370.
6. By the middle of June, Brett Baty will be called up, and he will overtake the Mets third base job for the next decade.
7. The Mets will have more blown saves by the All-Star Break than Edwin Díaz had all of last season.
8. The Mets are going to find a way to get Alexis Díaz this season. When they get him, Steve Cohen will speak about just how important family is and how that was a motivating factor in getting Díaz.
9. Part of the Díaz deal will be Joey Votto going to the Mets. The lifelong Red will be excited because he is getting a chance to win, and the Reds will be excited because it clears a massive chunk of payroll. Votto will take over as the Mets DH.
10. Ronny Mauricio is going to be moved this year as the big prospect to get a big piece or two at the trade deadline.
11. The Mets are not going to come to terms on an extension with Pete Alonso, but they will surprise us with one for Baty or Francisco Álvarez.
12. We will see Álvarez get called up multiple times, but he is not going to stick on the roster until September.
13. The Mets will not need a closer at the trade deadline, but they will need an outfielder. They will still get at least one reliever at the deadline.
14. Mark Canha will regress and lose his starting job forcing Jeff McNeil to left field.
15. Jacob deGrom will have a better season than Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. All three pitchers will finish in the top five in Cy Young voting.
16. The Mets will announce a date where they are going to retire Carlos Beltrán‘s number 15.
17. The pitch clock is going to be a hit with the fans, but we are going to see multiple issues early in the season where games are swung on its implementation leading to player and that fanbase’s frustration.
18. We are going to see Luis Guillorme make more starts on the infield than anyone not named Alonso or Francisco Lindor.
19. The Mets are going to have a tough first half with many wondering if the team was too old or if this is a reincarnation of the 1992 Worst Team Money Could Buy. The Mets will shut everyone up with a great second half.
20. The rule changes will rejuvenate Keith Hernandez, who will come to enjoy the modern game more than any particular fan.
21. Brandon Nimmo will be a first time All-Star. He will be joined there by Lindor, McNeil, Senga, and Verlander.
22. Pete Alonso returns to the Home Run Derby, and he wins it again.
23. Tommy Pham and Tim Locastro are not going to last the full season on the Mets roster as the team learns they need to radically overhaul their bench.
24. Eduardo Escobar loses his starting third base job, but he will still serve as an important semi-regular on the roster.
25. Lindor will be the only Mets player to win a Gold Glove this season. Guillorme and McNeil will be finalists.
26. Starling Marte will play fewer than 100 games, but he will be healthy for the postseason and will be one of the best Mets in the postseason.
27. Dylan Bundy will be added to the Major League roster at some point during the season, and he will stick in the bullpen at some point.
28. McNeil and Lindor will each finish in the top five in MVP voting with McNeil winning the award.
29. J.D. Davis will get out to a good start leading for Mets fans to further complain about the Darin Ruf trade, but Davis will cool off considerably thereafter with no one saying much of anything past May.
30. This will be Eric Chávez‘s last season as a coach with the Mets as he will be the hot candidate for managerial jobs in the offseason.
31. Meet Joey Meneses, who will be the newest Mets killer.
32. Scherzer is going to have a better season than Verlander.
33. Verlander will have zero issues adjusting to New York.
34. Lindor is going to play in every single Mets game this season.
35. The Mets will aggressively pursue David Bednar and Bryan Reynolds, but the stingy Pittsburgh Pirates owner will not make a deal with Steve Cohen on principle based on this spending the last offseason.
36. When he returns from the IL, Mets fans are going to fall in love with Bryce Montes de Oca, and we will see him get at least a down ballot Rookie of the Year vote.
37. Shohei Ohtani will not be traded this year no matter how hard the Mets try to get him. Part of the reason will be the Los Angeles Angels contending for the last Wild Card spot.
38. Noah Syndergaard will actually start against the Mets when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit Citi Field in April. He will get a loud ovation as he takes the mound.
39. Tylor Megill will make more starts for the Mets this season than Carlos Carrasco.
40. Alonso will appear in more games at DH than any other right-handed batter as Buck Showalter tries to keep him fresher than he did last season.
41. While there will be calls for a closer-by-committee approach, Showalter is going to go with David Robertson as the closer to begin the season, and he will carry the role at least through the All-Star Break.
42. Buck Showalter will not be the NL Manager of the Year, and he will not finish in the top five in voting.
43. There will be more of a time share at catcher between Omar Narváez and Tomás Nido than anyone will expect.
44. Jose Butto will be up-and-down a few times this season being designated at that prospect who comes up one week for a spot start and another week to hang out in the bullpen. He is going to struggle, and there will be more people calling him a non-prospect.
45. While it will be an exhausting story line, Verlander will win a World Series start, and he will be dominant.
46. Despite his World Baseball Classic success, no team will sign Matt Harvey this season with his pending suspension being part of the reason.
47. Brooks Raley will have a similar transition from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Mets that Aaron Loup once did.
48. Pride Night is scheduled for June 16. The Mets will force Raley to wear whatever gear is mandated that day by Major League Baseball.
49. Lindor is and will continue to be the best shortstop in baseball. Yes, that means he will have a better season than Trea Turner.
50. We will see Mark Vientos at some point this season but only for a limited time as the Mets are going to struggle to find spots for him even with Vientos having a monster year with Syracuse.
51. This will be the last season the 1962 Mets have the record for most losses in a season. The bottom feeders of baseball are just that bad this season.
52. Nimmo wins his first Silver Slugger this season.
53. The Mets will have a day honoring the New York Rangers after the Rangers win the Stanley Cup with Mets fan Adam Fox throwing out the first pitch.
54. While Adam Ottavino will have another good year, Drew Smith will be the Mets best set-up reliever this season.
55. Kevin Parada will play in Double-A this season, and we will start to hear some wonder if it is him or Álvarez as the Mets catcher of the future.
56. Nimmo is going to steal 20+ bases this season.
57. Escobar will continue his streak of 20+ home run seasons.
58. One development from the pitch clock is Citi Field will begin to have all of their concession stands handle pre-order and pick up as fans are not going to have as many delays and will not want to miss game action.
59. There will be some celebration at Citi Field this season for the 40th anniversary of the 1973 pennant winning team. It will likely be tied into Old Timers’ Day.
60. The Mets will have multiple events throughout the year giving rewards to Mets fans for wearing their caps out in public as a continued attempt to get them more attention than the Yankees.
61. This will be the first time New York holds a Stanley Cup and World Series title since 1928.
The New York Mets made a series of puzzling decisions when forming their 2023 Opening Day roster. Brett Baty was sent down to Triple-A Syracuse. Tommy Pham was given a spot on the team as a fourth outfielder. All of this despite Darin Ruf being designated for assignment.
With Pham, you see the Mets are going to rely on its older veterans to start the year. Mark Canha is guaranteed a spot in left, and Eduardo Escobar is going play third in some capacity.
Putting aside any questions or disbelief, what really needs to be analyzed at this point is how the Mets should best utilize their roster. Looking at the roster as it stands right now, the only conclusion is Luis Guillorme needs to be an everyday player whether that be at second or third base.
If you look at the rule changes being implemented for the 2023 season, they almost beg for the Mets to play Guillorme regularly. That is from a defensive and na offensive standpoint.
The defensive point was obvious. Guillorme is an outstanding defender. He is a more natural second baseman, but he has made the adjustment to be excellent at third. That was part of the reason he was able to force himself into a platoon at the position last season.
Keep in mind, with no shift, infield defense will be at a premium. Remember, Escobar was a -6 OAA last year when you could fully shift. Without the shift, the Mets will need more from here, and it is highly doubtful he can give it to them.
There is also the matter of left field. Last season, Canha had a -1 OAA in left. We also saw his sprint speed dip every so slightly from 27.8 ft/sec to 27.5 ft/sec. That’s not earth shattering, but he is now 34 and will be more likely to lose another step than to gain it back.
There’s also the matter of his bat. His barrels and launch angles cratered last season. We also saw him limp to the finish line last season hitting .249/.349/.383 over his final 37 games of the season. He carried that into the Wild Card Series going 0-for10 at the plate.
This all isn’t to say Canha and Escobar don’t have value. In a limited or semi-regular role, they can stay fresher and do what they do well in shorter spurts. In the event of injury, they can step up into a starting role over a stretch.
In the meantime, we can see Guillorme playing excellent defense at second or third while Jeff McNeil moving between second and left. We can also see Guillorme’s contact oriented approach thrive all the more with the institution of the pitch clock and the ban on the shift.
Overall, Guillorme promises to be much better defensively than what Canha or Escobar can provide. He may also have the chance to outperform them offensively. All told, he is just a better and more valuable player than either of them necessitating he be in the everday lineup.
Before Darin Ruf played a game for the New York Mets, the trade was a bad deal. The J.D. Davis part made total sense. He was bad and needed to go. However, parting with Carson Seymour and Nick Zwack made the trade an insane overpay.
People tend to forget stuff like that when a player is great, and the team wins. However, Ruf had a 13 OPS+ with the Mets, is dealing with an arthritic wrist, and the Mets had a historic collapse before succumbing to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Round.
The Eduardo Escobar signing didn’t make sense when it happened. After all, he was never really a third baseman. There were a number of intangibles he brings where you understood the signing as the season progressed.
However, Escobar would eventually lose his third base job. He eventually fell into a platoon with Luis Guillorme. If not for an injury, he would have forever lost it to Brett Baty. To be fair, Escobar did have a great September and was a leader for the Mets.
However, that was all 2022. The Mets now need to figure out how best to build their team for 2023. Instead of doing that, they took all the lazy cop outs and stuck with the veterans.
Watching this spring, it was very clear Brett Baty was ready to take over the everyday third base job for the Mets. It was also clear Mark Vientos was better than Ruf as the right-handed platoon option, and it also seemed like he could take over for Daniel Vogelbach for the entirety of the job.
For Vientos, you understand the demotion. Vogelbach should put the miserable spring behind him and have a good year. It should also be noted being a short side platoon DH option is just about the worst way to develop a player.
Looking at Baty, choosing Ruf and Escobar over him made absolutely no sense whatsoever.
As has oft been noted, Escobar is a bad third baseman. He was a -6 OAA at the position last year. With the elimination of the shift, he may soon become downright unplayable at the position.
Still, Escobar had use for the team. While he hasn’t been a good left-handed hitter, he did thrive against left-handed pitching last year. He could have taken over Ruf’s role as the platoon DH. That is a far more preferable option.
First, Escobar is just a better hitter. More importantly, Escobar has far more versatility. He can play all the infield positions except first, and he was exposed to left field this spring. Having Escobar as the platoon DH option and on the bench makes the team stronger and more versatile.
Escobar being on the bench naturally coincides with Baty in the starting lineup. That would make the lineup deeper and the defense far better. As a result, the Mets would have been far better. Instead of pursuing that option, Eppler opted for excuses.
He said Nolan Arenado played more games in the minors. Of course, Arenado didn’t have to deal with a pandemic. Also, that wasn’t an issue when the Mets called up Baty last season.
In the end, this is the side product of a lot of things. Buck Showalter prefers veterans. The Mets are trying to justify two bad deals. Certainly, we cannot discount a bit of service time manipulation.
Whatever the case, the Mets 2023 Opening Day lineup isn’t nearly as good as it can or should be. As a result, Eppler failed the team in his main objective – getting the manager the best roster he possibly can.