Grapefruit League play – where the samples are small and the competition is less than MLB-quality. It’s tough to make decisions based off what happens in Florida. Sometimes players really are working on something and aren’t overly concerned with results. Still, let’s examine some players, both those still in camp and those who were sent out already, and see what jumps out. Most of these are from looking at stats but some also come from game-witnessed action and media reports.

Jacob deGrom – Makes you wonder if Nolan Ryan ever threw 101 in mid-March.
Marcus Stroman – Has matched deGrom’s 7.0 K/BB ratio this Spring.
Jordan Yamamoto – Just 1 BB in 8.1 IP from a guy with a 4.3 BB/9 in MLB action.
Robert Gsellman – Allowed 13 baserunners in 6 IP.
David Peterson – 6 IP, 1 K
Taijuan Walker – 6 IP, 3 H, 3 BB
Dellin Betances – Has a 10.80 ERA despite stories about how much further along he is than this time last year.
Edwin Diaz – 5 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 7 Ks
Jeurys Familia – He’ll want you to focus on the 1.80 ERA but 10 baserunners in 5 IP is awful.
Joey Lucchesi – Maybe he’s not the best judge of pitchers but when Keith Hernandez raves about you, that’s probably not a bad thing.
Miguel Castro – Just 1 BB in 4.1 IP
Jacob Barnes – Had a leg up to make the team being out of options. Luis Rojas has praised his workouts. Yet he has a 6.75 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP.
Tommy Hunter – Guys fighting for bullpen jobs are advised not to allow 4 BB in 4 IP.
Sam McWilliams – Felt like he was sent down too soon but 5 BB in 3 IP will do that to you.
Drew Smith – Having a nice camp but reports are that he’s experiencing shoulder soreness.
Mike Montgomery – Hasn’t allowed a run and has 5 Ks in 2.2 IP
Trevor Hildenberger – Another guy who it seems was sent out too early. Call me crazy but if a guy posts 7 Ks in 2.1 IP without giving up a run, I don’t reassign him.
Pete Alonso – He’s crushing the ball and drawing walks, too. Hard not to notice his 9 Ks, though.
Francisco Lindor – Got off to a slow start but you can’t tell that now. Really enjoyed the HR against Max Scherzer.
Brandon Nimmo – The Spring Training marvel is at it again, with a .990 OPS.
Jeff McNeil – His struggles stand out because he’s the only big bat scuffling. But the hits are definitely not falling in for him.
Michael Conforto – A homer to CF against Scherzer is great whenever it happens.
James McCann – We’re hoping for a little more power but early returns are encouraging.
Kevin Pillar – He’s making a great first impression with an .862 OPS.
J.D. Davis – He’s yet to have an XBH but 9 BB can’t be overlooked.
Dominic Smith – We know the BABIP is going to fall from 2020, the question is how will his ISO fare? So far, three of his five hits have gone for extra-bases.
Albert Almora – Chances of making the roster took a hit with the Pillar signing. But with the injury to Jose Martinez, combined with his strong start at the plate, have eased those concerns.
Khalil Lee – Looked overmatched at the plate when I saw him and 9 Ks in 15 ABs says pretty much the same thing.
Pete Crow-Armstrong – Clearly not ready for prime time but it was great to see him get the experience and fun to see his hyphenated last name curved around his back.
Patrick Mazeika – There’s perhaps no better illustration that ST stats mean nothing than Mazeika’s .883 OPS.
Brett Baty – Just looks like a ballplayer.
Mark Vientos – In 9 PA he had 2 2B and 4 BB


With the injury to Carlos Carrasco, there’s probably no better performance than that of Stroman. The Mets need him to be the clear SP2 pitcher from the jump and it looks like he’s ready to go. It’s also good to see strong starts by Diaz and Alonso. It’s certainly too soon to fret about McNeil’s slow start. My hope is that Davis shows some power before the real games start in 10 days.

9 comments on “Who’s hot and who’s not for the Mets in Grapefruit League play

  • Wobbit

    McNeil. He struggles mentally when he cools off. It’s not the actual hits I’m concerned with but the weak contact. I haven’t seen that many of his at bats, but those I saw were weak.
    Alonso is somehow different than before… more mature. Of course he will strike out, especially in ST, but the contact is not a fluke… solid, consistent driving the ball to the right field side of center… very encouraging.
    Lindor. Love to see him get going early, not get extra pressure.
    Conforto. Think big.
    JD. Power will not be a problem. Strong kid who swings hard.
    McCann. Just catch and stay healthy.
    Diaz ready for 9th inning?
    The Mets are significantly better than a year ago.
    NL East a tough slog.

  • ChrisF

    Great review Brian. Completely agree on all you have there.

    Couple things have stood out on top of the things you have mentioned.

    1. Im not sure this team is going to improve defensively enough despite adding Lindor. Davis may be put at 3B, and he’s the best option, but I wouldn’t call him a natural. The throw. The speed. An outfield of Smith Nimmo and Conforto is not screaming quality catch-and-throw.

    2. Its easy to throttle Alonso’s defense, but this guy scoops, stretches. and gets runners out even being pulled from the bag. Here’s hoping he forgets he’s not a second baseman this year.

    3. I was quite taken by Johneshwy Fargas. Ive never spoken his name once, but Id be lying if this spring didnt open my eyes for the first time. Really loud off the bat. Super fast. Looks like he can play the game.

    Am I crazy?

    • Brian Joura

      If memory serves, Fargas had a good ST in 2020, too.

  • Wobbit

    I’m ready to commit.
    I want Almora on the team and I want him to play. He gets good swings and needs the reps. Get him in most games to move Nimmo over, and get him two starts a week. Pillar might be ok, too, but somehow I think Almora has a bigger upside.

    I want Mallex Smith to make the team. Too much speed not to help the team in several ways. Better defensively than Villar, even if not at the same positions, and at least as good a base-stealer. Six outfielders not too many I hope.

    And speaking of whom, I hope we’ve seen enough of Villar to know he in NOT a defensive upgrade for anyone on the team. My guess, he misplays one of of very 3-4 chances he gets… and offensively, he better do a whole lot of contact, productive hitting to earn his keep. (I seriously doubt he will.)

  • Metsense

    The defense still concerns me. Pillar is having a good spring so if Smith struggles with the bat then Pillar is wait in the wings. The same goes with Davis but Villar or Guillorme aren’t balls of offensive fire but Guillorme can handle the glove. Almora and Nido round out the bench.
    Peterson should be the 4th starter and maybe Lucchesi will edge out Yamamoto.
    Diaz, May, Loup, Castro, Familia, Blevins, Tarpley and Montgomery for the bullpen.
    Betances stays back on the IL at extended Spring Training.
    DeGrom, Diaz , Castro, and Alsonso and Nimmo are the spring training stars.
    Dom, McNeil, Villar and Betances have disappointed. But spring training stats aren’t too important.

  • BoomBoom

    Villar has not been good at all on either side of the ball. Only thing I remember about him last season is how overmatched he looked striking out 4 times against us. Agree with Wobbit – I would love to see Mallex Smith steal a base and a run for us in the late innings.

    • Brian Joura

      Mallex Smith is terrible.

    • Metsense

      Smith was a bWAR of 3.6 in 2018 and since then he has a negative bWAR. He topped 46 SB in 2019. He has no power, a 686 career OPS and is 4th on the depth chart in CF.
      Villar was a bWAR of 3.9 in 2019 and a -0.1 in the short 2020 season. He is a switch hitter with power , has a career .727 OPS, topped 62 SB and recently stolen 40 in 2019. He will backup three infield positions.
      Villar is better than Smith in hitting, power and stolen bases. As the pinch hitter he is more versatile because he is a switch hitter. The Mets don’t have a need for a 6th outfielder. They had a needed for an experienced, hitting, speedy infielder and they filled with Villar.

  • TJ

    The defense should be improved, mostly because it was so bad and now there is quality at SS and competence at C and 2B. They still have their weaknesses, when going with the best offense lineup, but adding Villar, Almora and let’s not forget Luis, if the offense performs up to expectations, there should be a quality defensive unit on the field to protect late leads…not everything, but it helps and will help the pen too.

    I saw Betances had a clean inning Sunday but did not see any readings on his FB MPH…here’s hoping he agrees to an extended spring training DL stint to see if he can find some more life. Montgomery could be very useful on this team. They really need to make the right choices in the pen…especially if considering an opener…lots of options.

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