As the Mets are approaching the regular season the team begins to take shape, despite the unhappy spring training record, it is fit to wonder which of the minor league players might play a significant role in the fortunes of the 2018 Mets. Is there anyone who can save us from Hansel Robles and Adrian Gonzalez? What do we do if Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler or Matt Harvey Struggle?
First a few quick thoughts on some major leaguers who have been pleasant surprises thus far:
Brandon Nimmo looks like he might be a serious contender for playing time even when Michael Conforto returns. He’s hit for great power, he’s still getting on base and he’s not striking out to a dangerous degree. Do we dare to be hopeful?
What catching problem? Kevin Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud have looked pretty impressive as a tandem with bats in their hands. With both players hitting over a .900 OPS health is the only thing that should truly scare us.
Should the Mets leave both Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo in the rotation? They could send Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz to AAA to work on their issues for a while. It’s not as if Gsellman or Lugo have struggled, so who hits the bullpen and who goes into the rotation?
Now, let’s talk about the minor leaguers:
Corey Oswalt – One prospect who you’ve heard about a few times this offseason is having himself a respectable Spring Training and will be among the more promising starters in the AAA rotation of Las Vegas. Based on his track record in the minors, he’s still got some proving to do to start 2018 but, based on his 2017 successes alone, he’s on the radar and depth charts for major league promotion. With Wheeler and Matz struggling to varying degrees Oswalt could be one injury away from a potential call to the major leagues. Once that happens, he could make it hard for the Mets to send him back down.
Luis Guillorme – The more time that goes by the more crow I’ve been eating, concerning Guillorme. He’s looked good with the bat this Spring and if that can translate to the majors there is no reason why he shouldn’t be a starting infielder for the Mets. That .455 OBP from this Spring is a very tantalizing number to salivate over, with the Mets lacking an ideal leadoff hitter.
P.J. Conlon – While he’s not likely to start again as a Met you can expect Conlon to have a part in the Met’s 2018 plans. With few lefty options out of the bullpen (outside of Jerry Blevins), Conlon will either be biding his time in AAA or cutting his teeth on some low-leverage major league situations.
Jacob Rhame – Of the players the Mets acquired last season in their “Fire Sale” Rhame struck me as the most major league ready. He’s got potential to develop into a high leverage relief pitcher and, depending on injuries, (… and if the Mets refuse to dump Hansel Robles) he could begin the year in the majors.
Chris Flexen – It’s admittedly odd to suggest that Flexen has less chance of impact than Oswalt but I would prefer Flexen to get more minor league seasoning, of the two. Flexen lost so much time to injury in his career that I think he’d benefit more from additional time in AAA than his counterpart.