Even before the September call-ups the New York Mets had a plethora of young players on the team after the fire sale earlier in the season – the reason being for management to take a look at the young talent and to see if these players fit with the plans of the future. So who are these players and which ones fit with the plans?
The first young player to be called up was the team’s No. 1 prospect, shortstop Amed Rosario. The highly touted 21-year-old was going to be the Mets’ starting shortstop in 2018 regardless of how he performed after his call-up. Luckily for the team, he’s not only passing the test but excelling at it.
In 132 at-bats, MLB’s No. 2 overall prospect is batting .265 with nine extra-base hits, nine RBIs and seven steals while showing great range and a strong arm at shortstop. Comparatively, Yoan Moncada – the league’s No. 1 overall prospect – is batting .227 in 154 at-bats.
Rosario brings a mix of speed and defense to the team, something the Mets haven’t had a in a long time, and will only get better over time. Expect to see Rosario in 2018 and for years to come.
Ten days after Rosario’s call-up, first baseman Dominic Smith was promoted – the team’s No. 2 prospect. Smith, like Rosario, figures to be in the Mets long term plans. After a tough start to his big league career Smith kicked it in gear. He has shown off his power and run producing capabilities with his seven home runs and 22 RBIs in only 128 at-bats and has made only one error at first base. Mets fans should get used to seeing him every day.
Highly touted in their own right, other players who are auditioning for a chance to play next year are Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini, Kevin Plawecki, Matt Reynolds, Jamie Callahan, Phillip Evans, Tomas Nido, Travis Taijeron, and Jacob Rhame.
Obviously, not all of these players will make the team in 2018 – most of them won’t – but some of them have shown so far that they can handle playing in the MLB.
The biggest name on that list is outfielder Brandon Nimmo, the Mets’ 13th overall pick in the 2011 draft. If not for an injury to start the season, Nimmo most likely would have made the 2017 Opening Day roster as a bench player. Now, with injuries to both Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes, Nimmo is getting the chance to prove if he can be the everyday outfielder the Mets envisioned when they selected him.
The most impressive thing about Nimmo is his eye at the plate. In 130 at-bats he has an on-base percentage of .401 – that’s Joey Votto numbers. He can play all three outfield positions, which adds to his value, and has made some sparkling plays in the field. However, to have any shot at becoming a platoon player with Juan Lagares in center, Nimmo needs to hit more for power. I see him making the 2018 roster, but as a bench player. Nimmo adds versatility and a good at-bat – the perfect combination for a late pinch-hitting assignment.
Catcher Kevin Plawecki is another interesting player. Making his debut in 2015 out of necessity, Plawecki has been sent up and down between Triple-A and the MLB for the last three years – constantly looking overmatched. Since his latest recall, he has finally shown signs of improvement.
With Travis d’Arnaud having another mediocre season – both as a hitter and a catcher – and Sandy Alderson’s vote of confidence to sticking with the tandem for next season, Plawecki has a chance to take the job from d’Arnaud in 2018.
Jacob Rhame and Jamie Callahan were both part of trades Alderson made – two of the many relief pitchers he received in hopes that one or two would pan out. It’s too early to tell if they figure in the team’s future plans, but with Alderson’s resistance to spend on relievers and the current void in the bullpen, the job is definitely there for the taking.
The other players on the list will most certainly be at Spring Training since they are on the 40-man roster, but unless they have an incredible spring expect most of them to be back in the minors, fighting for another chance at The Show.
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