Spring training is still relatively young and there are plenty of games to play and prospects to scout (while we casually watch pseudo-Olympic baseball) but a few members of the Met team have stood out to me as deserving a role come April.
Collin Cowgill – Cowgill hit the ground running and is probably the starting CF in my mind and not a platoon player regardless of Nieuwenhuis’ health. Sure he’d sit against tougher righties but it would not be a strict platoon. The fact is that Cowgill has been the best offensive player in the Met lineup this Spring and he might also be the best defensive option not named Matt Den Dekker. He was likely to have been assured a roster spot anyway but he’s done some additional work cementing his name into a locker at Citi Field.
Marlon Byrd – So… who knows how long this will last but ther other dart that Sandy closed his eyes and hoped for a bullseye looks like he might work out as well. He’s got more power than Cowgill but Byrd might be just as likely to have earned the #1 RF role over Mike Baxter and Co. He’s going to get tired as the year goes on but he looks like a solid replacement to Scott Hairston.
Zach Lutz – Why can’t Lutz magically learn how to run faster and jump higher? (Stupid genetics…) Anyway, Lutz has done as much as I think he can with his bat and his eye to make the Met staff take note. He’s got a good shot (at this point) of being the primary right IF on the bench but Justin Turner, Brandon Hicks, Omar Quintanilla and even Bixler have more positional flexibility and might beat him out for the role.
Jordany Valdespin – Looks like the Mets have realized just how stupid they were to pidgeon-hole Valdespin at second to start the Spring. He’s got the speed and ability to play the outfield and his speed and power make him one of the most promising talents available as an option in Citi Field. Unfortunately I think it’s too late for him to win a role UNLESS Kirk Niuwenhuis or Mike Baxter isn’t going to start the season in Flushing. I think it won’t be long before Valdespin winds up in the Met outfield.
John Buck AND Travis d’Arnaud – Okay, so I read a post that I didn’t like or agree with about bringing d’Arnaud to Flushing. They said that Alderson owed it to the fans but that is a bad decision and we all know it. For 1, it starts the clock on his salary arbitration and 2, Buck has earned the job. I have no issue with Buck being the primary back-stop for the Mets based on how well he’s played this Spring and I think that while d’Arnaud has been maybe a little better, I don’t think we have any footing for an argument of not using Buck with all the reasons to keep d’Arnaud out of the majors until mid-season.