Today we are taking a look at how the Mets minor leagues and those players under contract could be used to create the best possible team for 2018. This assumes, as some of us already do, that the Mets are going to stay out of the bidding for some of the top Free Agents like Mike Moustakas, Jonathan Lucroy and Wade Davis.
Some things are written in stone, namely Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, but some things are less clear. Matt Harvey has had a seriously rough season, though he is entering his final year of arbitration, Zack Wheeler struggled in his return to active pitching duty and Steven Matz looked decidedly less impressive than he had in previous seasons.
Then the Mets had some surprisingly strong showing from players like Rafael Montero as well as quality innings from Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Chris Flexen (Though their results were decidedly mixed). Behind them the Mets have players like Corey Oswalt, P.J. Conlon and Marcos Molina who all pitched in AA and all could contribute to the major league roster.
1. Noah Syndergaard
2. Jacob deGrom
3. Matt Harvey
4. Steven Matz
5. Robert Gsellman/Rafael Montero
In the end the Mets need to get the most out of the arms they have and it seems that Wheeler’s arm doesn’t have the length in it to go deep into games. He and Lugo both go to the bullpen while Gsellman and Montero vie for the final rotation spot. Flexen and Oswalt will be waiting in AAA and Conlon will be discussed later on.
The Mets will be hoping for a return to form from Jeurys Familia and have added a quality reliever in A.J. Ramos for support. Behind them we’ve already added two (three) starters leaving a stiff competition between Paul Sewald, Jamie Callahan, Eric Goeddel, Jacob Rhame, Hansel Robles and Josh Smoker.
● CL – Jeurys Familia
● SU – A.J. Ramos
● SU – Zack Wheeler
● MR – Paul Sewald
● MR – Seth Lugo
● MR – Josh Smoker
● LR – P.J. Conlon
You’ll notice that Robles is not appearing in the 2018 bullpen and that is by design. He and Goeddel are pushed out of the bullpen and (ideally) back to AAA where the Mets can hold them in reserve as Rhame and Callahan work on developing their stuff. While AAA is a pitchers nightmare the Mets should look to make it a proving ground with so many MLB ready pitchers currently designated to that level.
Everyone reading this has to know that ideally the Mets are not going into 2018 without signing someone to play third base. Either way, I’ve penciled Wilmer Flores onto the team. In a perfect world the Mets are using the defensively limited player at second base where his suspect arm’s impact is minimized. The Mets need to give his bat a shot at a full-time gig in the lineup.
Other positions are more obvious. Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto return to the corners of the outfield and the heart of the lineup, Travis d’Arnaud (when healthy) and Kevin Plawecki assume catching duties, and some amalgamation of Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo winds up in the outfield. The youngsters, Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario should be locked into their respective positions of first base and shortstop for at least another year.
1. Amed Rosario, SS
2. Brandon Nimmo, CF
3. Yoenis Cespedes, RF
4. Michael Conforto, LF
5. Wilmer Flores, 3B
6. Dominic Smith, 1B
7. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B
8. Travis d’Arnaud, C
In the end the Mets should probably stick with the safer option of having the veteran bat in the bottom third of the lineup although I would prefer they spend their money in other ways.
Nothing terribly exciting with regards to the bench as the Mets are handling things internally, for this exercise. I much prefer the Mets to make some moves.