Kirk Nieuwenhuis and other Mets battling for roster spots

Kirk NieuwenhuisWe all know that there are things in life you just shouldn’t do. You should never text and drive, you should never get involved in a land war in Asia and you should never make roster decisions based solely on Spring Training stats. But there are reports that Terry Collins was tapping furiously on his phone while driving down the highway to get to the local Denny’s in time for the senior special. While we can hope he was trying to reach someone in the defense department, more likely he was looking at Spring Training stats on mlb.com while thinking about the Opening Day roster.

While Ike Davis and Lucas Duda both have received few PA in their battle for the first base job due to injuries, there are other positions still very much up in the air where the participants have more than 20 trips to the plate. Let’s take a look at these early results to see what we can find and determine who is the early leader in these various battles to go north with the big club.

Backup Catcher
Anthony Recker – 20 AB, .775 OPS
Taylor Teagarden – 22 AB, .507 OPS

Backup Middle Infielders
Wilmer Flores – 27 AB, .615 OPS
Omar Quintanilla – 22 AB, .445 OPS
Anthony Seratelli – 25 AB, .471 OPS

Fifth Outfielder
Andrew Brown – 28 AB, .722 OPS
Matt den Dekker – 27 AB, .987 OPS
Kirk Nieuwenhuis – 24 AB, 1.092 OPS

Fifth Starter
John Lannan – 8 IP, 1.13 ERA, 0 BB, 9 Ks
Daisuke Matsuzaka – 7.2 IP, 3.52 ERA, 0 BB, 7 Ks
Jenrry Mejia – 2.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 BB, 3 Ks
Rafael Montero – 6.1 IP, 1.42 ERA, 1 BB, 4 Ks
Noah Syndergaard – 8.2 IP, 5.19 ERA, 5 BB, 10 Ks

Relief Pitcher

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the following pitchers are going to be on the Opening Day roster: Parnell, Black, Torres and Rice. Here’s how others in the running are performing:

Joel Carreno – 5.0 IP, 3.60 ERA, 5 BB, 7 Ks
Jeurys Familia – 5.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 BB, 4 Ks
Kyle Farnsworth – 5.0 IP, 5.40 ERA, 1 BB, 1 K
Gonzalez Germen – 6.2 IP, 6.75 ERA, 3 BB, 5 Ks
Ryan Reid – 6.0 IP, 10.75 ERA, 4 BB, 5 Ks
Jose Valverde – 5.1 IP, 5.06 ERA, 1 BB, 4 Ks

Lannan was listed among the starting pitchers but it seems like a decent bet that he opens the season as the second lefty in the bullpen. Never mind that he has a track record as a starter in the majors and has never pitched an inning of relief in the big leagues, either. To be fair, he did have two relief appearances as recently as 2007 and a total of seven in his 95-game career in the minors.

Juan Centeno is seemingly not in the running for the backup catcher’s spot, as he has only 6 ABs. The backup middle infield position looks totally uninspiring and only gets worse if you include Ruben Tejada’s numbers, thinking Sandy Alderson will acquire someone else to be the starter. The spot for the final outfielder is shaping up to be a fine battle. We can’t say the same yet for the final spot in the bullpen. If Familia and Lannan get added to our earlier four guys, that leaves Carreno and Valverde for the final spot, with neither pitcher really stepping forward as a frontrunner.

Of course, it’s a good thing to remember Blaine Boyer. He had a track record as a poor reliever but picked a great time to string together (roughly) 10 sparkling relief innings. He made the Opening Day roster back in 2011 but each time he was brought into a game once the regular season started, he was hit hard. Mercifully, he was cut after just five games.

12 comments for “Kirk Nieuwenhuis and other Mets battling for roster spots

  1. Jim OMalley
    March 16, 2014 at 9:18 am

    I saw den Dekker yesterday ….he looked good.

  2. Jerry Grote
    March 16, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Brian … I wouldn’t be so fast to include Mr. Black in your collection of bullpen arms. Jus’ sayin. The guy has not shown any near approximation of control.

    • Jerry Grote
      March 16, 2014 at 9:43 am

      and thanks for posting the numbers.

    • March 16, 2014 at 9:44 am

      That’s a good point.

      But we’re having trouble filling seven spots with Black. Unless he gets worse – certainly a possibility – I expect him to go north.

    • Chris F
      March 16, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      Im in full agreement JG. Basically, I get the “ElRam” blues every time he climbs up the hill this Spring. Yesterday was terrible.

  3. Metsense
    March 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    As Yogi said “It is Deja Vu all over again” or as Chris F said “Its still all shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic”.
    This is what I think they will do.Recker is a yes, Quintinilla back up infield,Duda the fifth outfield spot because Collins will start Davis, and the pen Lannan, Familia, Valverde ,with Matzusaka as the fifth starter.
    This is what I hope they do: Recker, Tejada as a backup middle infielder (obtain a starter), Duda at first base, Mejia as 5th starter, Lannan, Familia, Matzusaka in the pen, and the 5th outfield spot to Nieuwenhuis. (although den Decker has time to win it out but that would be more shuffling of the deck(er) chairs)

    • March 16, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      I agree with what you stated that the Mets will do.

      I would not put Dice K in the pen. I’d have MDD playing every day in Las Vegas because I still think he factors into things at the major league level. With the 5th OF I think it should come down to if you need a LH or RH bat off the bench. I think Nieuwenhuis’ contact issues are a huge concern and Brown should win by default.

    • Chris F
      March 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      Good call Metsense…I think you are spot on with both. Now strike up the band, she feels like shes beginning to list towards the bow!

  4. Name
    March 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Too early to think of roster manipulation. The Met don’t need a starter until the 6th. If Dice-K or Lannan is going to be that 5th guy, is it even possible for the Mets to send them down to Vegas to call them up that date? Would they be willing? They definitely can with Mejia.
    I see den Dekker/Kirk battling so that spot if that’s the case.

    And that Davis/Duda battle that was supposed to happen this spring has basically turned into who can heal the fastest. Virtually guarantees that Davis won’t be traded before Opening Day.

    • March 16, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      Ha! Our 1B may stink but at least he’s a quick healer

  5. Patrick Albanesius
    March 17, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Too bad none of our outfielders play 1B too. Maybe a trade is in order.

    • Dr.Phibes
      March 21, 2014 at 8:32 am

      They say Duda can play some 1st, oh wait , he’s a DH

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