The 2017 Mets are primed for a playoff race, and very well may be back in the Fall Classic. Looking beyond, as baseball front offices tend to do, there will be some new faces donning orange and blue sooner than you think.
The future is bright in the post-Asdrubal Cabrera years as Amed Rosario looks to emerge as a defensive star on a pitching dominant team. Rosario’s value lies in his strong arm and dependable glove but his offense has taken huge strides in recent years. Batting 341. in Double-A Binghamton, Rosario is blossoming into the star that scouts had envisioned.
Pitching wise, the Mets’ staff is under control for several years, including Lugo and Gsellman who proved vital down the stretch of 2016. Along with the Mets already star-studded pitching staff, Justin Dunn (19th overall pick) will look to enter the Mets 2019 plans as an undersized pitcher with high velocity and an athletic build. Spending this past year in Brooklyn, Dunn pitched to a 1.50 ERA while averaging 10.5 K/9, early indications of what is yet to come.
As with our friend Lucas Duda, Dominic Smith looks to take over the reins as soon as 2018 with Duda’s contract coming to an end. Dominic Smith is a gap to gap hitter who hit over .300 this past year in Binghamton. Smith’s most valuable asset is his glove, and while power is the last tool to develop, his 14 bombs in AA were a career high.
Here’s where it gets tricky; Yes, the Mets have capitalized on pitching prospects (don’t forget about Fulmer) and hopefully chose a star in Michael Conforto, but the rest of our future team is not as clear.
With 4 more years of Yoenis Cespedes, 23-year-old Michael Conforto, and Juan Lagares who is signed through 2019, the Mets have the outfield necessary to compete for the next several years, leaving Nimmo serving a bench role.
Cecchini, an infield prospect drafted out of high school, is unproven but hit well when called upon in September. He has proven his worth at the plate batting 325. in Las Vegas but needs to cut down on his errors (33 in Triple-A). Still developing and undoubtedly improving at every level, Cecchini might possibly be Neil Walker’s replacement down the road.
Looking at Plawecki and Reynolds, trying to find a significant role on the team is hard. Reynolds appears to be on his way to a utility role off the bench with his contact ability and serviceable glove. Plawecki, on the other hand, has had ample opportunity to prove his worth and continuously has been unimpressive with a career batting average at .211 in almost 400 at-bats. A week arm and a light bat don’t bode well for the Purdue catcher’s future role with the team.
Although I love Nimmo’s spirit and enthusiasm, his talents might best be served in another city. Same can be said for Plawecki, as both players could be valuable trade assets for Sandy to wheel and deal.
Jose Reyes seems to love being back in New York, and with David Wright’s health issues, Reyes may serve a large bench role on this team in the years to come. What the Mets have here are a few cornerstone players with holes to fill, like every team.
The Mets window is now, but there is no reason to think we can’t be competing for a Championship for the next 5-6 years.