The 2018 Grapefruit League has come to an end and opening day looms on Thursday. What we are going to examine here is which Mets played the best at each position. We will count only ST stats to determine this order of merit. Some of these players will be starters, some will not and some will be Nevada bound, at least to start. Yoenis Cespedes gets in the headline because of his stunning offensive production.
1b… Wilmer Flores. The guy can hit, his Grapefruit league slash line was .320/.397/.560 with three homers. He doesn’t really have a natural position, first base seems like the best fit for him. As for competitors, Dominick Smith barely played before an injury and Adrian Gonzalez played a lot but hit only at a slash line of .207/.20/.293.
2b… Luis Guillorme. The young infielder hit better than anyone expected, putting up a slash line .306/.447/.417, including a homer. He made 4 errors but he also made some nifty plays, including smoothly turning nine double plays. Asdrubal Cabrera hit .277/.333/.404 with a home run. He has limited range defensively, but he likely will be the starter on opening day. Guillorme will start the year in AAA at Las Vegas, but don’t be surprised if he is a starting infielder for the Mets in 2019.
SS… Amed Rosario. He is still developing, but hit a robust .313/.353/.542 in 17 games this spring. Jose Reyes also saw some action at short, but he hit and fielded like the Jose Reyes of the first half of 2017, with a dreadful line of .174/.240/.261.
3b… David Thompson. Thompson will be heading to AAA, but he did burnish his resume this spring with a slash line of .348/.464/.391 in 16 games. Todd Frazier will be at third opening day. His overall slash line was .236/.283/.418 with two homers, he was hampered by a very slow start in ST.
LF… Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes has said one of his 2018 goals was league MVP, and he sure played like one this spring. In 20 games he batted .324/.368/.882(!) with six homers, at least one of them was a tape measure job.
CF… Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo showed power to go along with his usual good OBP, and he produced an excellent .306/.371/.613 slash line. In addition, he played a respectable center field. Juan Lagares hit a disappointing .200/.259/.220 line despite, or maybe because of, his retooled swing.
RF… Jay Bruce. Bruce had a fine spring with a line of .310/.326/.595 with three homers in 16 games. The durable outfielder and possible first baseman should be a key source of power for the Mets this year.
C…. Travis d’Arnaud. He had a tremendous spring smacking the ball at the rate of .333/.442/.667 with three homers in 17 games. His competitor Kevin Plawecki also had a fine Grapefruit League with a line of .270/.341/.405 with a home run in 16 games. He should get plenty of playing time during the year.
SP… Noah Syndergaard. In 20 IP the big right-hander struck out 23 and posted an ERA of 1.35, and he regularly hit the upper 90s to over 100 mph for his fastball velocity. Jacob deGrom also was very sharp, striking out 12 and walking one in his 7.2 IP.
Once again, this order of merit is based only on Grapefruit League play this spring.