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Mets playoffs: NLCS player usage and planning the World Series roster

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Can the Mets can better utilize the spots on their postseason roster?

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, when the Mets were celebrating on the field, all but four of the players on their roster could accurately say that they played a role—any role—in the series victory. Kevin Plawecki, Matt Reynolds, Hansel Robles, and Sean Gilmartin all watched the series from the bench, failing to get into a single game. Reynolds and Plawecki can say that for both playoff series, as they—plus Kirk Nieuwenhuis—didn’t get into any game action in the divisional series, either.

Of all of these players, only Nieuwenhuis seems in danger of losing his roster spot in the World Series. Juan Uribe seems to be slowly improving, and may wind up taking the final bench spot that Nieuwenhuis has had for the two series. As a right-handed batter with some pop and defensive versatility, he makes more sense than Nieuwenhuis for the 25th man.

Plawecki and Reynolds probably won't get many opportunities to play in the World Series, but are essential members of the bench because without them you’re looking at backup shortstop Kelly Johnson and emergency catcher... who even knows? Reynolds is a bit of an odd choice, as he is not the defensive wizard that you’d most likely want as a backup on a playoff roster, but he is the most polished bat of the shortstops in the Mets’ system, so he got the nod.

As for Gilmartin and Robles, their lack of appearances have more to do with the dominant starting pitching that the Mets got over the four-game sweep. Terry Collins rarely had to use more more than his starters and his three back-end bullpen arms, only calling on Jonathon Niese and Bartolo Colon once apiece to bridge the starters to the firemen. Gilmartin will likely see work in the World Series, as he can be brought in to face a tough lefty and doesn’t need to be lifted a batter later, as he has handled right-handers even better than lefties this season.

Robles is the pitcher least likely to make an appearance in the series because the Mets have lots of right-handed relief pitchers, and he is the one that Collins seems to have the least faith in. However, his quick-pitch ability might be a useful—and frustrating, for their opponent—skill in the World Series.