Make-The-Mets-O-Meter: Hitters, Vol. 1

Yesterday we took a preliminary look at the assorted pitching flotsam in Mets camp this year. Today we take aim at the position players. The Mets have twelve players who are almost certainly locks to make the Opening Day roster.

Catchers

Rod Barajas
Henry Blanco

Infielders

Luis Castillo
Alex Cora
Daniel Murphy
Jose Reyes
Fernando Tatis
David Wright

Outfielders

Jason Bay
Jeff Francoeur
Gary Matthews Jr.
Angel Pagan

If we assume that the Mets will carry twelve pitchers to begin the season, that leaves just one open non-pitcher spot on the active roster. My best guess is that it'll be another outfielder, but the Mets have a bit of flexibility with Tatis's ability to play the outfield corners.

Player Comment
Anderson Hernandez, IF* In his second go-round with the Mets, Hernandez plays snappy defense and puts the ball in play, but isn't even decent at anything else.
Andy Green, IF A career .821 OPS in the minors, Green is a career .200 hitter in 331 big league plate appearances. He has a reputation for so-so defense and at age 32 he doesn't really figure in the Mets' plans.
Chris Carter, 1B* Acquired from Boston in the Billy Wagner trade last August, Carter has plus offensive tools but his defense leaves much to be desired (defense, for one). Might be useful part-time, but probably nothing beyond that.
Chris Coste, C* A better hitter than Omir Santos, but not nearly as adept behind the plate. Coste is probably third on the catching depth chart, so if the Mets think he's preferable to Santos we might just see him this season.
Fernando Martinez, OF* Still just 21, Martinez has been a youngster at every level he's played and still has a ton of upside. If he can stay healthy, he should still figure in the Mets' long-term plans.
Francisco Pena, C Young, dumb, outlook is kinda glum. I don't actually know if he's dumb, but he doesn't hit much, though his catching skills have improved of late. Still just 20 years old, so there's some hope there.
Frank Catalanotto, OF Can still get on base and doesn't strike out much, though he can no longer play on the middle of the diamond. Keep him to the corners—both infield and outfield—and he just might be a useful player.
Ike Davis, 1B Everybody loves the kid, and while he hasn't quite figued out how to hit left-handed pitching, with the Mets' first base situation more than a little suspect Davis has at least a slim chance of seeing action in April.
Jason Pridie, OF* Pronounced "PRIDE-ee", in case you were pronouncing it "PRID-ee" as I was. Pridie has no plate discipline and very little pop, but he can steal bases and has Endy-like defensive numbers in the minors.
Jesus Feliciano, OF Can't hit, can't walk, can't possibly make this team. See you in Buffalo, Jesus! And by "see you" I mean "have fun," because I sure as hell won't be there.
Jolbert Cabrera, UT Hasn't been good at anything since 2003, and at 37 years old there's no reason to expect that to change.
Josh Thole, C* Thole might have had an outside shot of making the team before the Mets signed Rod Barajas, but now there's really no way he doesn't begin the season in the minors. If he continues to make steady improvement this season he could very well be the Mets' starting backstop in 2011.
Kai Gronauer, C Gronauer is German and is only in camp because the team needs players to catch their pitchers.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF Led the FSL in wOBA last year at .383. "Captain" Kirk struggles against lefties and strikes out a bit too much, but he has real power and plus defense.
Luis Hernandez, IF Lots of glove, zero bat. Probably not even as good as Ramon Martinez, who we all know is a fringe Triple-A player.
Mike Cervenak, 1B/3B Isn’t really a good enough defender to play third base anymore, and he isn't really a good enough batter to play first base anymore.
Mike Hessman, 1B Hits dingers, draws walks, strikes out in copious amounts. Not much of an athlete, but he can play first and perhaps third base in a pinch. Good guy to have on standby.
Mike Jacobs, 1B Hits dingers, rarely walks, strikes out in copious amounts. Not much of an athlete, but he can play first and perhaps catcher in a pinch. Meh guy to have on standby.
Mike Nickeas, C See: Gronauer, minus the German.
Nick Evans, 1B/OF* Mashes lefties, and is apparently invisible to anyone in the Mets organization who matters. Definitely a useful guy to have around, if only someone would notice.
Omir Santos, C* Starting catcher in 2009, probably fourth or fifth on the depth chart in 2010.
Ruben Tejada, SS Slick glove, good baserunning skills, decent average, little power, low on-base average. He's a middle infielders, so he could make it work.
Russ Adams, IF Should help put butts in the seats. In Buffalo.
Shawn Bowman, IF* Great defensive third baseman, started hitting a little in 2009, too. Somebody seems to be blocking him at the big league level.
Shawn Riggans, C Plan E, or something.

Key:
= Chance of making the Mets is unchanged.
= Chance of making the Mets is going down.
= Chance of making the Mets is going up.
* = player on 40-man roster

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