Last season the Mets used 53 different players and the year before that the number was 56. You can’t use that many players without adding new blood on a consistent basis. Some of these players come from outside of the organization, whether through trades or free agent signings or waiver pickups. And some make their way up from the minors. We’re going to look at the guys added each year, with the defining characteristic being the year they exceeded their rookie status. Most of these guys will be farm system products but there are still a decent number who were picked up from other teams who already had some MLB experience.
Obviously, when you’re using 50-plus players a year, a lot of those are cup of coffee guys. Those aren’t the players we’re primarily interested in, which is why we’re requiring exceeding rookie status. And even with that, the following list will contain a lot of guys who weren’t memorable. But it’s interesting to track the changes and see how the team has operated. Here’s the list:
2010 – Chris Carter, Ike Davis, Ryota Igarashi, Jenrry Mejia, Hisanori Takahashi, Ruben Tejada, Josh Thole
2011 – Mike Baxter, Pedro Beato, Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Mike Nickeas, Val Pascucci, Jason Pridie, Dale Thayer, Justin Turner
2012 – Josh Edgin, Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hefner, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Elvin Ramirez, Vinny Rottino, Jordany Valdespin
2013 – Robert Carson, Gonzalez Germen, Juan Lagares, Scott Rice, Josh Satin, Zack Wheeler
2014 – Vic Black Eric Campbell, Travis d’Arnaud, Jacob deGrom, Matt den Dekker, Jeurys Familia, Wilmer Flores
2015 – Michael Conforto, Sean Gilmartin, Erik Goeddel, Dilson Herrera, Jack Leathersich, Johnny Monell, Rafael Montero, Kevin Plawecki, Hansel Robles, Noah Syndergaard, Logan Verrett
2016 – Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Matt Reynolds
2017 – Chasen Bradford, Robert Gsellman, Brandon Nimmo, T.J. Rivera, Amed Rosario, Paul Sewald, Dominic Smith, Josh Smoker
2018 – Tyler Bashlor, Chris Flexen, Jeff McNeil, Tomas Nido, Corey Oswalt, Tim Peterson, Jacob Rhame, Drew Smith
2019 – Pete Alonso, Drew Gagnon, Luis Guillorme, Daniel Zamora
Is this good? It’s impossible to say without going through and doing it for other teams. But my gut feeling is that it certainly isn’t bad. After all, the Mets have brought in seven players who appeared as All-Stars in a Mets uniform in 10 years – Harvey, deGrom, Familia, Conforto, Syndergaard, McNeil and Alonso. And while there are some guys who may be painful to recall, there are also plenty of multi-year performers, too.
Hitters who played in at least 300 games for the Mets – Davis, Tejada, Thole, Duda, Turner, Lagares, d’Arnaud, Flores, Conforto, Nimmo, Rosario,
Pitchers who appeared in at least 100 games for the Mets – Mejia, Gee, Edgin, Harvey, Rice, Wheeler, deGrom, Familia, Robles, Syndergaard, Lugo, Matz, Gsellman, Sewald
Additionally, they’ve been adding at least one significant contributor each year, even if not in the season they used up their rookie status. This time last year, if asked who that guy was going to be for the 2019 Mets, most of us would have answered Alonso. While it was up for debate if he was going to make the club out of Spring Training, few doubted that he would be on the team for the majority of the season. And most expected him to put up a 30-HR campaign at some point in his career.
But who’s that guy for 2020? That one’s not so easy to answer. It’s not likely to be a position player. The Mets have established starters at virtually every position with a backup ready, too, for the most part. If a serious injury happens to a middle infielder, maybe the Mets promote Andres Gimenez and he ends up filling the bill.
However, it’s not like there’s an obvious pitching candidate, either. The Mets head to Spring Training with six starters, so there would need to be multiple injuries at the same time for a minor leaguer to get a shot. That’s certainly not unheard of, so perhaps David Peterson gets the chance to prove himself and exceeds rookie status. Likewise, the bullpen seems full right now and that’s without counting previous holdovers like Bashlor, Peterson, Rhame, Sewald and Smith, who should return at some point during the 2020 season. But given that the Mets used 20 guys exclusively as a reliever last year, perhaps there’s a shot for someone like Ryley Gilliam or Adonis Uceta or Steve Villines to qualify.
Or it could be that the Mets acquire a guy from outside the system who’s yet to exceed rookie status who ends up getting a shot. That seems like a remote possibility, however. The odds seem better for this type of pickup when you have a losing team with a lot of holes, like what the Mets trotted out at the beginning of this past decade. But J.D. Davis just barely lost his rookie eligibility in 2018, or else he could have been that type of acquisition last season. So, you never know.