Peter Hyatt - 2017 New York Mets Infield Outlook


Make no mistake about it, I loved the bat speed and what we saw early from the diminutive Dilson Herrera.  

But he is gone and we can't talk about who is not going to be in the Mets' infield this year. 

Besides this,  Jay Bruce, our payment in the trade,  just might give us a bunch of HRs and ribbies in right field, so we move on. Although I'd prefer Conforto in right, if he is not going to start, I agree with Mack: let him rip the pacific coast league to shreds and build his confidence.  

How does the 2017 New York Mets infield look this year?

Let's go position by position on a scale of 1 through 10, with 10 being All-Star,  and 5 being a basic AAAA replacement of adequate only.  

Short Stop

Let's begin with another player who is not going to be here:  Amed Rosario. 

Rosario has been a pleasure to watch and should he excel at AAA Vegas, we might see him sooner than later.  Until then, shortstop belongs to Asdrubal Cabrera who's career (and defense) appeared reinvigorated by his move to New York.  He is only holding down the fort until Rosario arrives and he knows it.  It remains to be seen if Matt Reynolds can be a back up.  Phil Evans with a great Spring, may start at AA and could end up a solid back up to Rosario.  With injuries, good teams always have depth.  

With Cabrera at short, we are set for 2017 should he repeat his 2016 campaign.  

I give this a solid out of 10.  

First Base

Lucas Duda is a huge question mark, so much so, that even Bruce is now taking throws at first base.  Wilmer Flores has taken throws there and Dom Smith, in limited exposure, did not impress.  A soft spoken kid, he lost a reported 24 pounds and will either start in AA or AAA.  He has yet to develop the power hoped for.  

Lucas Duda has a serious injury.  He is a big guy and he can hit the ball a mile, but the swing takes its toll on the back and there is nothing to suggest he is not going to be impacted by the nagging injuries this Spring.  Another good guy to root for, if only he could stay healthy, he might give 30 homers, especially as he plays for a contract.  

With all the question marks, I give us a 3 out of 10.  This is not looking good.  

Third Base?

David Wright should retire.  

He has heard this from his family and from his friends.  He owes nothing to the New York Mets fanbase.  He needs to take care of his health.  A man that must go through 2 to 3 hours of preparation just to get on the field is someone who should now consider his wife and daughter and all the good he can do as an ambassador for the sport.  A true Met hero, I'd prefer to see him avoid what others with spinal stenosis have faced, including the wheel chair.  As difficult as it is to walk away while he is young, it is something I hope he considers.  

Thus far, third appears to belong to Jose Reyes who seems to have found a compatriot in the spotlight  in Yoenis Cespedes.  Both love to mug for the camera in the dugout which does not always sit well with Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson.  Reyes' glove is okay, but the Mets do not possess a true on base lead off hitter and base stealer.  Reyes is also another year older.  

Alderson seems to recognize the correlation between self control on the field and self control in life.  Athletes competing at extreme levels who are taught to govern their passions at a young age, rather than indulge them, often can control them off the field.  Reyes isn't one of them.  Reyes said all the right things and worked hard in the minors, as an Alderson reclamation project but Alderson's language towards him is something to listen to keenly.  He is no longer promoting Reyes.  Reyes needs to produce now.  

Years ago, I was not impressed when Reyes took himself out of the last game of the season to preserve the batting title. It is something younger fans may not understand. I like character guys.  With Reyes,  it is an  issue of narcissism that often doesn't end well.  From the domestic violence to the suspension to the failure to produce in Colorado, Reyes is not the answer for us.  I'd prefer to see Flores at third, barring a trade. (how about Bruce and a pitcher for a third basemen?) 

Yes, Flores is a good guy to root for yet we must see him produce.  He appears capable of 40 doubles and adequate defense, but it does not appear that he is going to be the starting third basemen. 

TJ Rivera is an interesting twist in all of this, though he is willing to play anywhere, he is most comfortable at second.  

What about Maz jr?  He is going to need a full season at AAA and if they wish to to consider 3B, that is where any experiment would be undertaking.  LJ has said he is most comfortable at 2B.  

With Wilmer and Jose at third, and 5 being replacement average, if Reyes gets on base and maintains average defense, I give this a 5.5 being just slightly above average. Perhaps if Reyes does not produce, Flores will get more at bats.  Like Legares, he seems to need a lot of bats to establish consistency.  

Second Base 

We got a wonderful year from Neil Walker in 2016 but contract disputes, injuries and uncertainty can take its toll, while "walk year" can often be productive. 

With Walker healthy and TJ Rivera giving him the back up and rest needed, this could be another solid position for us:  8 out of 10 for 2nd. 


Travis D'Arnaud is no longer a rookie or newbie.  He has never completed a professional season due to injuries which some sports psychologists say is more than just bad luck.  

D'Arnaud's promise of power has never been realized.  Flashes of it have come and gone, with only the tease of potential for fans. 

Yet even if he hits, he has not proven to be able to throw out runners.  I hate giving up on someone but even with good-guy John Buck providing guidance, Travis could not stay off the injured list.  I loved seeing the flash, and he is said by pitchers to call a good game.  He is a smart, articulate and humble athlete, but this is his year.  He must prove himself.  

He came into Spring Training in terrific shape.  

I am going to grade him on potential and hope, rather than his history and give him 6 of 10, because I like rooting for him and just maybe, this is his year.  Rene Rivera gave us decent defense, but does not have D'Arnaud's pop in his bat. 

The New York Met's Infield looks good at SS and 2B, but weak at 1B, 3B and C. 

31.5 out of 50 equals a 63%, which is above average (50%) but significantly under what a contender should look like (80% and above).  

This could change should Reyes produce at 3B and D'Anaud have that year we have all been waiting for.  

Regardless, with David Wright out of the picture, and Lucas Duda's back and hip in doubt, we got significant holes to fill.  

Next Up:  The Saga of Matt Harvey examined from a different perspective.  


Reese Kaplan said...

If Flores is used as a right handed platoon partner to Lucas Duda and/or Jay Bruce (should Duda be disabled and Bruce moved to 1B), then the numbers out of that position should be awesome.

If Duda and Walker remain healthy all year the potential for terrific production is very high given they're both in walk years.

3B is going to be a black hole until Wright calls it quits. Yes, Reyes was a nice bargain basement pickup, but he's also in a walk year and whether or not he realizes it, he needs to rethink what is role is for the short remainder of his career.

Cabrera may give way to Rosario at some point and then move either left or right of him depending on who's healthy and who's producing.

I'm all for giving d'Arnaud his last hurrah to see if he can put it all together, but they should be looking for the next Jonathon Lucroy who might be available if the hitting or health indicate this is again not Travis' year.

Mack Ade said...

I still feel the weakest infield link is first base.

Lucas Duda has proven to us he can hit, but it has been a while since he has given us a full season. He also is streaky.

The first baseman in waiting, Dominic Smith, proved in spring training that he is far from ready for major league pitching.

There is a dark horse looming here. Ex 2016 2nd round pick Peter Alonzo hit .321 for Brooklyn last year as a 21-year old. He could open up this year anywhere from Columbia to Binghamton. No, he's not a factor this season, but remember the name.

Mack Ade said...

I mean Peter Alonso

Thomas Brennan said...

I largely agree with Reese - I think Duda, with platoon days off to not over-tax himself, will stay healthy. I would love to see the two combine over 162 games for 35 homers, 35 doubles, and 100 RBIs.

Phil Evans will definitely be in AAA, but not at shortstop obviously, where we will find Amed. Phil won the AA bat title and is having a fine spring - my guess? Everyday Vegas 3B. Mazzilli hit 100 points lower that Phil and is older, so Phil is the higher ranked guy, for sure. My only concern on Evans is he needed to beef up from what he was drafted at, but now he looks a little too beefy.

Mazzilli may already be behind the beefed up Luis Guillorme, who has has a great spring.

An above average team offense (even without Wright) with their pitching? I'd say it is a Championship contender.

bill metsiac said...

Evans back to AA, where he led the EL in hitting last year? He deserves Vegas, especially with his solid ST numbers.

I see a logjam in the Vegas IF, with Evans, Cecchini, Maz, Rosario, and others competing. And someone else once David returns to Queens.

bill metsiac said...

Mack, aren't you usually minimizing ST stats? Why so down on Smith because of them?

Richard Herr said...

I don't agree with your low number on 1st base. Duda looks OK so far, despite the cortisone shot at the start of ST. Let's remember, he has already played games after the back surgery last fall. Even if he can't answer the bell, between 1B adn RF you've also got Duda, Bruce, and Conforto.
I'm also a little confused about your scoring system. It seems to me a 5 should be something around a WAR of 0.00. I consider that replacement to be something better than AAAA. To say that doing a scramble like putting Walker at 1st and TJ at second, you'd still have a WAR somewhere a little above 0.00. Your grade of 3 would project to a reserve infielder in AAA, maybe AA.

Mack Ade said...

Bill -

My down-age of Smith is not based on stats. It's based at watching him basically look lost while standing in the batting box

Mack's Mets © 2012