Spring Training is a week away from ending and few positions remain hanging in the balance. Will the Mets management allow the fans to force them into starting Pete Alonso’s clock early? Probably not. Who will make up the back end of the Mets bullpen? Which means that the Mets AAA roster is beginning to coalesce from the mists of what may be into what will be.
A Rotation of Depth:
The Mets have all five of their likely starters healthy and while we worry about the struggles of Steven Matz and Jason Vargas’ ability to pitch deep into games we should take some heart in the depth provided by the projected rotation of the Syracuse team.
#1 Corey Oswalt RHP – The Mets should be pleased to see the success that Oswalt has managed this Spring and should remember the mixed success of his MLB innings from 2018. While AAA rankings don’t necessarily mean much he will likely be viewed a step ahead of the other backup pitchers. Oswalt strikes me as a #5 pitcher on an average MLB team and I believe the Mets will be well served by him when the call comes down.
#2 Walker Lockett RHP – If his Spring had been a little more successful he might be the #1 pitcher on this list but for the moment he remains the second option for the Mets to employ. Lockett’s ceiling is probably a rung higher than Oswalt’s but the results did not show in the 6.2 innings that were hurled so far. That said, his 7 strikeouts and low WHIP are both highly positive signs.
Chris Flexen RHP may not have much of a ceiling but he’s on the fringes of the major leagues.
The Alonso Show:
While he remains in AAA Pete Alonso is the biggest story for the team. If Dominic Smith can continue his strong Spring and if the Mets are winning games the Mets will be able to delay things for a time, but fans are not eager to watch Todd Frazier starting at first base and hitting .211 for long. While that major league storyline plays out Alonso will be doing what he can to keep the fans paying attention.
Not much else will be of note for Syracuse will be going on. While the Mets might have Andres Gimenez on the roster the only offensive difference maker for the 2019 season is likely to be Alonso. The Mets will have Gavin Cecchini and (likely) Luis Guillorme who will also be fighting to earn time in the majors to serve as backups.
We should all remember that the Mets hitters will no longer be enjoying the bouying effects of Las Vegas and the Pacific Coast League. Alonso’s batting average may take a hit to start the year but we should truly worry should his strikeouts balloon or his power evaporate. Neither of which I believe likely to happen and I expect him to win a role on the Mets and in the middle of the lineup by the beginning of the Summer.