We continue with the Makes-the-Mets-O-Meter, this time for hitters. Like the pitchers, the hitters vying to make the team don't have many spots available.
Josh Thole, Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Ruben Tejada, Jason Bay, Andres Torres, and Lucas Duda are assured spots on the Opening Day roster as long as they are not injured. Given the Mets' long list of relatively minor injuries this spring, nothing is guaranteed, but none of the expected starting eight have been ruled out for Opening Day.
Justin Turner and Ronny Cedeno will begin the year on the bench. Scott Hairston would have, too, but it looks fairly unlikely that he'll be back from his oblique injury by April 5. That would leave three spots available on the Mets' bench, one of which will obviously belong to a backup catcher. Another will need to be an outfielder, preferably one who's capable of playing center field to spell Torres. And the final spot figures to be an outfielder, too, since Turner and Cedeno are both strictly infielders.
Here is the first 2012 Make-the-Mets-O-Meter for hitters.
|Mike Baxter, OF||Mike from Whitestone is getting on base so far this spring, and he's got a chance to crack the roster since some of other outfielders in camp are likely to get playing time in the minors.|
|Matt Den Dekker, OF||He's looked good so far this spring, but it's tough to imagine the Mets putting him on the bench rather than letting him play every day in Buffalo or Binghamton.|
|Rob Johnson, C||He's gone 2-for-9 with no walks thus far in limited spring playing time. He's most likely behind the other catchers in camp at this point.|
|Juan Lagares, OF||Lagares has no hits and no walks in 12 trips to the plate, but like Den Dekker, he would probably start the year in the minors to get playing time even if he tore it up this spring.|
|Adam Loewen, OF||A former pitcher, Loewen raked at Triple-A Las Vegas last year. That environment is about is hitter-friendly as it gets, but he's tattooed the ball in spring at a .333/.368/.556 clip. He has played a handful of games in center field in his post-pitching career.|
|Lucas May, C||May's track record in the minors suggests he can hit a bit. He won't maintain his early spring line of .357/.357/.500, but he appears to be the most capable hitter of Josh Thole's potential backups.|
|Mike Nickeas, C||Nickeas doesn't have the track record that May has, but he's doing his best to make the decision difficult. He's hit .364/.364/.545 thus far.|
|Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF||With an oblique injury, Niuewenhuis is unlikely to crack the roster and would probably have gotten regular time in the minors regardless.|
|Valentino Pascucci, 1B||He hasn't played or hit much and figures to be back in Buffalo to start the year. Dude can talk sandwiches, though, and probably has the most powerful non-Hairston bat of the bench candidates.|
|Omar Quintanilla, SS||He's hit a bit in 15 plate appearances but isn't likely to unseat Ronny Cedeno as the backup to Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy.|
|Vinny Rottino, OF/C||His spring numbers aren't good, but he's shown an ability to get on base in the minors and can play behind the plate and at the four corner positions in the field.|
|Josh Satin, 1B||Satin's entering his age-27 season, and he's gotten on base and hit for power at every stop in the minors. Like Justin Turner, he can play first, second, and third base. He's likely to play every day in the minors, but if something should happen to Daniel Murphy, there could be Turner/Satin playing time discussion down the road.|