Which dudes come to the park pretending to be major league hopefuls...but are really light-hitting leprechauns in disguise?
CONTENDERS AND PRETENDERS ON THIS FINE ST PATTY’S DAY
(For full effect, read this article out loud in yer finest Irish brogue, unless you're at the 5th Avenue parade, then read this later):
There have been a lot of laddies bandied about this long, lingering winter that are vying to break camp with the big club.
Who has been making their case to stay? Who has not? I’ll share some thoughts below on that.
But before that…on this fine St Patty’s Day, to all you Met Leprechaun Baseball Players out there, may I extend this equally fine wish to you, on behalf of meself and (if I may be so bold) the other writers here at Mack’s Mets:
May the basepaths rise up to meet you,
May the fans always have your back,
May the sun shine warm in the other team’s outfielder’s face as your pop fly drops harmlessly to the sod;
May the umpire raise his right arm in fury as he yells to your opponent,
“Yer out, son…go crawlin’ back to yer dugout now,”
May the rains of Tipperary hold off long enough for you to get 5 innings in - with a lead, and:
Until we attend our next home game, may God hold you in the palm of His hand…
And may the standings hold you firmly in first place”
As I noted last week, 9 offensive spots seem all but locked up - Duda, Murphy, Flores, Wright, d'Arnaud, Granderson, Lagares, Cuddyer, and Mayberry – Lagares, Flores, Cuddyer, Granderson, Wright, and Mayberry have been wonderful so far, so a tip o’ the hat to them. (Daniel Murphy, the Irish Hammer, is trying to get rollin' and is eating his Lucky Charms as we speak, as part of his training regimen).
This leaves 4 slots for the other leprechauns, of which there are 11 leprechaun hopefuls. Some thoughts on which of the short, green fellas will survive as part of the "Fill in Four"), based on results through Monday’s game:
Ruben O'Tejada – Ruben has upped his game dramatically (please say that in a brogue) – in my update last week, he was 1 for 13. He is now up to .280. Tejada is working on writing Matt Reynolds’ ticket back to AAA for more seasoning, whether he needs it or not.
Kirk O'Nieuwenhuis – the offensive story of camp so far (along with the veteran Mayberry), getting on base has become habitual for Kirk (13 for 28, 6 walks). Dekker keeps trying.
Matt Mac den Dekker – 14 for 32 on base, so he is almost neck and neck with his lefty competitor Kirk. He does still have an option. So Kirk may edge out Matt by a shamrock.
Cesar O'Puello – 5 for 17, with 3 walks. Nice but hitting is everywhere in camp, so he has not yet stood out in the crowd. May he stand out in Vegas.
Johnny McMonell - Monell has been making the case to beat out Anthony Recker for back up catcher with a smoking bat...10 for 24 (.417) with a double and two fan souvenirs. Monell may Reck the Mets' plans if he keeps that up.
Anthony McRecker – slumping badly at .167 – wait, isn’t that his career average? Well, it’s a little higher, but you get the point. Everytime I bring it up, Recker gets defensive, which is his strong suit.
Eric O'Campbell – another 0–4 guy today. Today is the first day the non-regulars haven’t hit well in a game in a very long time. Soup is simmering atepid .250.Lots of competition to stay - he needs to hit better.
Matt O'Reynolds – yes, Matty Lad is human, taking an 0 for 4 so far today, dropping him way down to .435 – which has him behind....
Danny McMuno – 9 for 20 (.450), 2 walks. He's doing all that a leprechaun can do. Likely headed to AAA, where they'll be singing Danny Boy on opening day.
Dilson O'Herrera – last year’s hit machine – has not hit in 2015. Just .059 – ouch. Some debate over the winter as to whether Dilson was ready to supplant Murphy. So far, not so.
– hitting well of late, up to .286, with 4 RBIs in 14 at bats. Tough to get ABs when 3 other catchers also need to play. AAA seems inevitable, for a tad more seasoning.
So there you have it...most of the 11 doing great, a few light-hitting leprechauns who are swingin' a bat as if it were a shillelagh. My 4 choices for Lucky Leprechaun status, if I had to pick today, are Kirk, Monell, Reynolds, and Campbell.
But a) I don't make the decisions and b) 2 weeks of spring baseball remain before final decisions get made. Tejada will most likely sneak in there. Losing 2 certain-to-be 25 man guys to Tommy John surgery will likey make managememt skittish about significant change.
I'll take another crack at this next week. Until then, stout lads and lassies, wear green. On opening day, the Wilpons ask that ya spend green.