Adam Rubin suggested in a recent ESPN article that Anthony Seratelli stands a chance of being a 31-year old rookie with the Mets come April. Many people are rooting for him to succeed and no wonder since this is a heartwarming tale for a career minor leaguer who is well-versed at playing first-base, second-base, shortstop, third base, and the outfield. He has put up a .385 OBP over the last two years with the Royals’ Triple-A system, as well as 39 combines stolen bases and 28 combined home runs. He seems like a versatile weapon to have on the Mets bench.
However, there are some holes. Watching Seratelli play this past Saturday, he was fluid in the field and he handled both shortstop and second-base well. At bat though, he seemed very out of sync. On his last 0-2 count, the guy seated next to us actually said, “And now he is going to swing at some garbage out of the strike zone.” To which, Seratelli promptly did for his third K that afternoon. Dumb luck? Sure. But there was no denying that he looked bad at the plate.
Of course there is the argument to be made that pitchers are often ahead of hitters at this point during spring training, and perhaps it was just nerves over trying to impress. All of that is valid, and no one is suggesting that someone not get a fair look throughout the long spring. However, Rubin’s article, combined with Seratelli’s short, rough start of 0-7 doesn’t make Mets fans feel any better. Couple that with Terry Collins saying this early into Spring that both Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan stand a better chance than Jenrry Mejia at being the fifth starter, and one wonders if that 90-win season memo has been passed around the office enough.
This is not meant to disparage Seratelli, Matsuzaka, Lannan, or anyone else in the Mets organization. This is merely a question about how serious the Mets are about competing this year. According to Collins, Mejia may start in the bullpen to build his innings. In theory, this sounds great. But didn’t we go through all this already, and didn’t it delay Mejia’s process a few years?
Seratelli was certainly not nearly the only player who struggled during Saturday’s game. Zach Lutz also struck out three times, and Josh Edgin’s got hit almost as much as Rocky Balboa’s face. Kinks to be worked out in spring? Sure, we can go with that. But if any of these guys have a bad spring, because let’s face it, none of them are seasoned veterans, would you feel comfortable with a bench or a pen consisting of mostly Triple-A players?
Again, we don’t know what the front office knows, and perhaps a guy like Seratelli is a diamond in the rough. On Saturday, only the eye test was available to us. We also watched Lucas Duda’s homer soar to right field, and then we watch him make an error on a double play that could have ended a big inning for the Marlins. So instead we looked to the dugout to see if we could see a more promising future. It’s only spring, and it was only one game. But after nearly a decade of sour games, it would have been nice to see a little more looking toward tomorrow from this Mets club early on. Instead, we got beat by a backup Marlins team that looked like the Harlem Globetrotters compared to our Washington Generals. And it looked to be such a nice weekend, too.