The regular season is getting closer every day and the Mets don’t seem to be moving in the right direction, at the major league level. I can’t think about the failings at first base and shortstop anymore, it’s time to dive into the minors. The Met minor leagues are still on the rise and there are lots of storylines to keep you feeling good about the blue and orange if the big league club fizzles.
Countdown to Pitchers – The Mets will have up to four talented young starters in Las Vegas and sooner or later these pitchers will get their chance to make it in the majors. Jenrry Mejia, Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom are all capable of being impact pitchers at the major league level and that should give the AAA team a viable storyline in almost every single game they play.
Back to the Shortstop Future – Wilmer Flores was never considered a plus defender. He played shortstop earlier in his career, but it was never supposed to last. Thanks to a fitness camp, Flores now looks the part. We’ll be watching closely to see if he can cut it at shortstop to any real level of professional defense. The Mets would love to add his bat into the lineup.
Return of the Injured – The Mets lost two promising arms for most of 2013. We should all be watching closely in 2014 as Luis Mateo and Michael Fulmer try to make good on the promise of their lower minors success. Either could start their year in Port St. Lucie but their test lies in Binghamton.
Should d’Arnaud Watch His Back? – Kevin Plawecki took Savannah and Port St. Lucie by storm in 2013. 2014 will give the Mets a better sense of his actual ceiling. If Plawecki can continue to show an advanced bat with solid power, then Travis d’Arnaud’s future as the Met catcher is put into some doubt.
How Excited Should We Be? – About Steven Matz, that is. Matz is a talented lefty, but his first healthy year was 2013 so we cannot be sure how good he will actually be. He throws awful hard for a lefty, it could be a major feather in the Mets cap if he continues to get results in higher levels.
The Top Shortstop in the System – Is named Dilson Herrera. He has yet to play shortstop as a pro, but since becoming a plus defender at second base, the Mets are considering returning him to his drafted position. He has 20/20 potential, so if he can give you league average defense at short, he instantly becomes your team’s best future option.
How Far Away Is Our Future? – Ike Davis and Lucas Duda aren’t exciting anyone. Dominic Smith excites a lot of people. Smith had a successful year in rookie ball, and I am willing to concede that he can start the year in Savannah and not Brooklyn (Where I would get to watch him play). Smith will have a full year in Savannah and that is worth more than getting him in front of New Yorkers. For fans watching, don’t expect tremendous power to be on display as Savannah is not beneficial to power hitters. Our hope should be for similar results to Plawecki and Jayce Boyd. I think that is reasonable to hope for in 2014. Don’t be discouraged if the Mets place him in Brooklyn… go watch him play!