Posted by Peter Hyatt at 10:00 AM
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.
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 8 out of 10.
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.
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.
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.