People were not pleased with me when I neglected to list Luis Guillorme in my top prospect list of 2018 and it seemed that they would prove me wrong based upon his strong Spring Training. The defensively gifted infielder had .306/.447/.417 batting line at the end of the Spring and was coming off a solid, if not spectacular season in Binghamton where he managed a .706 OPS.
During the 2018 season, Guillorme would get his chance to play in the majors amassing 67 at bats over 35 games but the results were not what anyone was hoping. He only managed a .209/.284/.239 batting line getting some time at second base and third.
This Spring he is once again hitting well (and getting on base well). While he will never have anything by way of power, he is good enough defensively to be a worthwhile bench player so long as he can manage a .250 batting average and about a .325 on base percentage in the majors but what would really push him over the edge would be versatility.
The Mets have Amed Rosario at shortstop and would hope to be trotting out Robinson Cano, Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier or Pete Alonso in the rest of the infield but they are strapped for backup infielders who can play the more skilled positions. If Jeff McNeil is an outfielder now and J.D. Davis is going to be the backup at first and third, the Mets need someone who can be a worthwhile backup at shortstop and second base.
The Mets have seen questionable defense from Gavin Cecchini and know they are unlikely to get much offense from Adeiny Hechavarria but with Guillorme they might have an ideal solution. We are seeing him return to shortstop more and more as Spring moves along and one might wonder if the athletic infielder would be able to hold his own as a true utility player in the outfield as well.
The best thing he could do towards earning a role on the team is working on this versatility in the field. Though his bat will need to win him the job. His home run Sunday afternoon and his 1.405 OPS this Spring will likely get some people into his corner. Most importantly, he’s avoiding strikeouts which is crucial for a player with limited power. So far, he has been good enough to emerge as a potential favorite for the Middle Infielder bench role, but there is a lot of Spring left to play.
Spring Training Musings
Pete Alonso continues to be a bright spot – The Mets aren’t enjoying a ton of success in the early going. Alonso might not only be earning his spot on the roster but a marquee spot in the lineup. Even when he gets outs a lot of them seem to be on a line.
Defense is a major concern in the majors and minors – While we all watch Alonso’s glove with worries of his defensive liability we’re seeing players like Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, J.D. Davis, Wilson Ramos, Gavin Cecchini, David Thompson and Tomas Nido committing errors. This is a troubling trend to say the least.
J.D. Davis is getting the chance to show his versatility – With Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier hurt it is logical to see if Davis was any use to the Mets at 3rd but his defense at any position is rated as questionable.
Could Amed Rosario break out in 2019 – We all talk about how Rosario was starting to play better and better late in 2018. A good start this Spring gives us hope that is actually continuing. Not only is Rosario hitting but he’s been hitting for power. Rosario and Wilson Ramos are leading them Mets (those with regular at bats) in OPS.
Young lefties, David Peterson and Anthony Kay look entirely overmatched – They only pitched in Advanced A in 2018 and neither was a roaring success but they both got shelled in their Spring outings. It’s questionable why the Mets had them pitch in these early games and it adds worry to those who pegged either to start the season in Binghamton.
Bullpen race tightening up – With Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo all pretty much locks for the bullpen there are likely to be two races for the last two spots in the bullpen. The righty race seems to be between Paul Sewald, Tyler Bashlor, Drew Smith, Jacob Rhame and Eric Hanhold (with Sewald, Bashlor and Smith the early favorites). The lefty races is shaping up to be Luis Avilan, Daniel Zamora, Hector Santiago and P.J. Conlon but my money is on Avilan and Santiago having the inside track.
Dominic Smith is off to a good start – He’s gotta go down to AAA to learn to be more versatile but he’s hitting in Spring Training games and could develop value if he has a good year in Syracuse. He isn’t showing power other than his Sunday home run) but if he can return to being a high BA and higher OBP player, we’ll all be happy.