In Spring Training we all play the “Who makes the team?” game to project rosters for the upcoming season. For 9 years we have not been players in the analogous, “Who makes the post-season roster?” game as the team has not had anything to do in October but start their vacations. This year, of course, such decisions have to be made and it’s time to think about how you might use various bench pieces in a few short series rather than for the long haul of a season. So let’s take a look at who should and should not be on the October 25-man roster.
- Lucas Duda – obviously he would have been here either way, but he’s chosen to regain his power stroke at just the right time
- Daniel Murphy – it may be his Mets’ swan song, but he’s a part of what got you here in the first place
- Wilmer Flores – he delivers good punch from the middle infield and doesn’t strike out very much
- David Wright – as long as he can walk, he’s going to be there
- Kelly Johnson – His versatility is his key, as is his left handed bat. With Juan Uribe apparently hurting, the other Atlanta Braves import should be a lock
- Ruben Tejada – He’s had a solid September with the bat, but more importantly he’s a steady glove.
- Michael Conforto – it’s too bad the Skipper didn’t give him a chance against lefties throughout the season because starting the playoffs against the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke likely means the polished rookie is watching from the bench
- Yoenis Cespedes – he may have cooled a bit from his surface-of-the-sun level of play when he arrived, but he’s the biggest power threat in the lineup
- Curtis Granderson – one of the few players with genuine post-season experience, he’ll be expected to let the others know what to expect in October
- Michael Cuddyer – he’s come around a bit lately, though mostly with singles. Paycheck dictates playing time, so he’ll be there for his so-called veteran leadership despite having made minimal contributions all year
- Eric Young, Jr. – granted, he can’t hit a lick and as a fielder he’s not going to win any Gold Gloves, but when a stolen base is needed there are very few in the game who are better at using their legs to commit thievery
- Juan Lagares – while he may be a shell of his former Gold Glove self due to injury, conditioning or whatever, he’s still the best outfielder on the team and a right handed bat
- Travis d’Arnaud – he’s quietly turning himself into the kind of middle-of-the-order threat envisioned when he was purloined from Toronto as part of the R.A. Dickey trade
- Anthony Recker – I have a feeling they will opt for experience over productivity, familiarity over talent. Recker is good working with the pitching staff and you could foresee a Todd Pratt power moment for him that’s less likely to happen with the greater long term potential of Kevin Plawecki
4 Starting Pitchers
- Matt Harvey – innings limits be damned, he’s a large part of why they are where they are and he has the bulldog mentality to get the ball for game 1 (even if it means potentially pitching a game 5)
- Jacob deGrom – Tom Glavine to Matt Harvey’s Greg Maddux, you could easily make a case that he deserves the nod, but despite his last degrominant performance, he’s been rather shaky lately
- Noah Syndergaard – the big man showed the world against the Cincinnati Reds just what he’s capable of doing when he’s on his game
- Steven Matz – the rookie southpaw with the dominating stuff deserves to pitch here despite a rather limited major league resume
- Bartolo Colon – the big man has playoff experience, exudes the unflappable attitude needed against adversity and despite his age can pitch long stints when needed
- Jonathon Niese – it was encouraging to hear him volunteer for bullpen duty rather than have a starting pitcher controversy rear its ugly head just before the post-season begins
- Addison Reed – Collins’ go-to guy for the 7th inning, he’s actually got a 0.00 ERA in a Mets uniform
- Tyler Clippard – a veteran with playoff experience, he’s a no-brainer
- Jeurys Familia – the emergency closer is threatening to break Armando Benitez’ all-time single season saves record
Now it gets tougher. Only two of the following three can make it:
- Sean Gilmartin – he’s been nothing short of spectacular as one of the only successful Rule V acquisitions in team history. He would give the manager another lefty option.
- Hansel Robles – while he likely will get chastised rather quickly for his quick pitches, he’s gotten the team out of many jams with his strikeout stuff
- Erik Goeddel – the starter-turned-reliever has been very solid in parts of two years for the Mets and current sports an impressive 2.56 ERA.
If it’s my call, the nod goes to Gilmartin and Robles because of the lefty/strikeout-specialist roles they fulfill. Goeddel, while he’s been very good, has also had injury issues and I don’t think you can take a chance on a recurrence.
That’s my take on the 25 players making the team. I personally would lose one of Lagares/Young/Cuddyer and keep the extra reliever, but I don’t think they’ll do that. Notable omissions include Kevin Plawecki, Eric Campbell, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Dilson Herrera, Carlos Torres, Dario Alvarez, Logan Verrett, Eric O’Flaherty and Tim Stauffer.
Who would you take?