This past November, the Mets signed Denyi Reyes, one of the plethora of guys they signed because of his option status. Reyes was released by the Orioles following the 2022 season, one where he advanced to Triple-A at age 25 but went 0-7 with a 7.17 ERA. Reyes began the year in the bullpen for the Mets, where he threw 6.1 scoreless innings.

And then the Mets sent him to the minors to stretch him out to be a starter.

Now, with Jose Quintana and Justin Verlander on the IL and none of the other starters for the Mets pitching particularly well, the Mets could have certainly used a SP. But were the odds that a guy who got bombed in Triple-A a year ago was going to magically turn things around? And it’s not like the Mets’ pen was so good that they could spare a guy who was getting the job done.

Reyes made one start for Syracuse and went 1.2 IP. So, of course, the Mets recalled him to make a start. Against the Braves. It went about as well as you’d expect, as he allowed 5 ER in 1 IP. Reyes went back to Syracuse and in 14 games he put up a 5.67 ERA. Which convinced the Mets to bring him up again. To face the Braves, again. Reyes did better in his second go-round versus the top team in the East, yet let’s not pretend that 5 ER in 4.2 IP was good.

Back to Triple-A for two more starts, where he had a 6.00 ERA, thanks to giving up 4 HR in 12 IP. But it was good enough for the Mets to start him in the majors. At least this time it wasn’t the Braves. Reyes faced the Rangers and had a solid outing, giving up 2 ER in 5.1 IP.

You can say that desperate times call for desperate measures. But the Mets took a guy who was having initial success in the pen and decided it would be a better use of resources to have him spend more than half the year in the minors, trying to become a serviceable SP, after not really showing the aptitude for the job the previous season in Triple-A. It just seems so backwards.

Just because he had a handful of good relief appearances to start the year doesn’t mean that he was going to continue to be a good option out of the pen. This year has been littered with guys who started off okay and then imploded in the pen for the Mets. Reyes could have been one of those pitchers, too. But my opinion was that he was much more likely to be useful as a reliever than as a starter. And even if he pitches well as a SP the remainder of the year, so what? Are they going to use him as a starter in 2024? At best, he’ll be a depth option. A good season out of the pen in 2023 could have solidified him as an MLB player. Now, it looks like he’s on the Tylor Megill path, riding the Syracuse shuttled, hoping to break thru.

Sometimes you just need to accept a guy as a reliever.

MAURICIO MAKES EXCELLENT FIRST IMPRESSION – When rosters expanded in September, the Mets promoted Ronny Mauricio to the majors and put him in the lineup at second base. In his first PA in MLB, Mauricio smoked a ball at 117.3 mph, the hardest-hit ball by a Met this season. He has two-hit games in both of his appearances for the Mets. It’s way too early to declare victory – especially with 2 Ks in his first 7 PA – but there’s power in that bat and he’s already stolen a base, too. It will be fun to watch him the remainder of the year.

HARD TIMES FOR HARTWIG – We all love a good narrative and Grant Hartwig definitely has a story. The Mets signed Hartwig in 2021 as an undrafted free agent, right before he was going to take the entrance exam for a medical career. Last year, he advanced from Lo-A all the way to Triple-A. And this season he made his MLB debut, allowing just 1 ER in his first 11.1 IP and throwing harder than was expected.

But it’s been a tough road since that great beginning. In his last 12 games, Hartwig has allowed 18 R (14 ER) in 14.1 IP. We know that relievers bunch their poor outings together. But 12 games is usually around the top of these expected poor stretches. The Mets have to determine if this is a big speed bump or an indication that Hartwig simply isn’t an MLB-quality hurler. In 24 games with Syracuse this season, Hartwig had a 5.02 ERA and a 1.894 WHIP.

THIS IS THE MCNEIL WE WANT TO SEE – It was just one at-bat but Saturday night in the eighth inning we saw the Jeff McNeil we’d like to see all year. There was a lefty on the mound and McNeil turned on a ball, getting his bat out in front, pulling the ball with authority in the air and banging the ball off the top of the wall and getting an RBI triple for his efforts.

It was part of a three-hit night for McNeil, one which also included a double to right field. In his past 14 games, McNeil has an .867 OPS, with 6 XBH in 61 PA. Additionally, in his last 173 PA, McNeil is batting .317, with an .806 OPS. Mets fans will feel much better about McNeil moving forward if he continues to hit the ball like he’s done lately. Hopefully the biggest question about McNeil in 2024 is if he’ll be back at 2B or a full-time outfielder.

ANOTHER STREAK FOR ALONSO – No one has run more hot-and-cold this year for the Mets than Pete Alonso. Previously, Alonso was remarkably consistent, having one poor stretch of about 80 PA each season. But he’s already had two bad streaks this season, with the second one being much longer than 80 PA, but one possibly created by when he was hit on the wrist.

Yet, in his last 10 games, Alonso has just a .515 OPS. And his struggles can be directly attributed to his swing decisions. Alonso has fanned in 16 of his last 42 PA, which is a 38.1 K%. After a career-low 18.7 K% last year, Alonso sits with a 22.5 strikeout rate this season.

9 comments on “The curious Denyi Reyes decision, Ronny Mauricio’s MLB debut, Jeff McNeil’s turnaround

  • Woodrow1

    Reyes? Why are you worked up about him?Hes not even a 4A guy. Mauricio is the prospect that I think will have the best career.

    • Brian Joura

      Really, that’s your takeaway, that I think Reyes is a big prospect? SMDH

  • Metsense

    Reyes, based on his minor league career, isn’t a major league starter. He wasn’t used properly to have a chance to succeed. It was a poor evaluation of minor league personnel. It is another reason for the shake-up in the minor league front office.
    Exhibit #2 could be Mauricio. When they traded for Acuna, who is their future second baseman in 2025, they should have moved Mauricio to rightfield. McNeil is a fine second baseman now, like the article said. Jett Williams should be learning centerfield for 2025. Their minor league plan is suspect.
    Alsonso has reverted back to a homerun hitter. Last year, he was more of a situational hitter, hitting singles to right-center with the outside pitch.

    • Brian Joura

      Not sure who would make the better CF – Acuna or Williams. Both should be taking reps at 2B and CF to see who fits better where.

      Mauricio is getting time now at 2B. It will be curious to see if they stick him in the OF before the season is over. After all he’s played this year, I hope he takes the Winter Ball season off.

      Lots of moving pieces here.

  • Edwin e Pena

    Editor’s Note – If you want to talk about something completely unrelated to the article, please use the Open Thread, which is published on Wednesday and used all week long for this purpose.

  • John From Albany

    The funny thing is that Reyes was one of the better Syracuse starters this year – a team that had a 5.87 ERA – and that wasn’t the worst in the International League! Two of the 20 teams were worse – Charlotte with a 6.38 ERA and Louisville with a 6.09 ERA.

    • Brian Joura

      Syracuse is 52-77 and you have to think that lousy SP played a big role in that record.

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