Last week, we introduced a few of the top "King of Spring Training" contenders in Mets' camp this spring. With a week of exhibition games having passed, let's review how they've done and try to identify some new contenders for the most pointless award in baseball history! We'll also update each player's chances of winning the KOST award in the form of a stock.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Stock: Rising)
After having a big 4-4 day in the Mets' spring opener, Nieuwenhuis has continued to crush the ball to the tune of a .476/.542/.619 line in his team-leading 21 at bats. With 3 doubles and 3 walks compared to just 3 strikeouts, Kirk already appears to be locking up a bench job on the 2015 Opening Day roster for sure. Now will he take home the nonexistent hardware? Time will tell.
Matt den Dekker (Stock: Holding)
Much like Nieuwenhuis, the other competitor for the backup outfield job has had himself a fine spring to this point. Unfortunately, den Dekker is at an immediate disadvantage due to the fact that he still has minor league options left and Nieuwenhuis does not. Still, den Dekker has hit a robust .294/.429/.647 in 17 spring at bats and should be waiting at Triple-A Las Vegas should a need occur.
Eric Campbell (Stock: Holding)
Campbell and den Dekker have very similar lines at the plate thus far this spring, with Campbell hitting .294/.478/.588. While both have had strong showings, neither are hitting at Nieuwenhuis' "stratosphere" level, meaning that like den Dekker, Campbell's stock is just holding so far. As far as I know, Campbell or den Dekker did not play football either. That's a big feather in Kirk's KOST cap.
John Mayberry Jr. (Stock: Rising)
Mayberry's had an excellent start to his spring, raking at a .438/.550/.625 clip in 16 at bats. What's more is that most of his damage thus far has come against right handed pitching. Is this improvement? Small sample size noise? Something else? Who knows. For whatever reason, John Mayberry likes hitting in spring training and for some reason, he's clearly gunning for the King of Spring Training crown.
Johnny Monell (Stock: Holding)
The lefty swinging catcher has displayed some punch at the dish for the Mets this spring, hitting .375/.412/.625 in 16 at bats. Monell is not only a great spring training hitter but has also shown some ability with the bat throughout his minor league career, including at the highest levels of the farm. He'll really have to keep going to steal Anthony Recker's job to open the season but should that happen, he'll have a great chance at the KOST.
Anthony Recker (Stock: Falling)
The Mets' incumbent backup catcher, we talked Recker up last week as a strong contender for the KOST based on his excellent spring training history. Well, small sample size can be a fickle beast, as Recker has hit a woeful .077/.143/.077 in 13 at bats thus far. With his stock falling, another poor week could force Recker off of the KOST poll and out of the running for this award that he doesn't know a damn thing about.
Dark Horse Candidates
Let's introduce a few new candidates to the KOST voting. These three younger players have made positive impressions early on in camp. If they can keep up the solid hitting, they could get bumped up onto the poll in the coming weeks.
Even with Wilmer Flores hitting very well this spring, everybody seems to be talking about Matt Reynolds in Mets camp. Matt Reynolds this! Matt Reynolds that! Who woulda thunk it? After a breakthrough year between Binghamton and Las Vegas, Reynolds is on the cusp of a big league trial in 2015. More importantly, however, is the fact that Reynolds is hitting an unreal .500/.526/.667 in his 18 spring at bats. He even hit a walkoff home run last week! That's some impressive spring training hitting. Keep that up and you'll win yourself a KOST award, young man!
As an 8th round pick of the Mets in the 2011 draft, Muno has moved his way up the chain as a high on base percentage utility infielder, a potentially valuable piece in the organization. After spending all of 2014 with Vegas, Muno received a big league spring invite and hasn't disappointed thus far with a .545/.611/.545 line in 11 at bats. With the Mets middle infield in flux, Muno could eventually see some big league time with the Mets but we're betting he's really hoping to win the KOST first!
Mets fans got their first look at the 2014 first round pick after he was grabbed from minor league camp last weekend and he put on a show, ripping 3 ropes for hits in his first 3 at bats. It was an impressive showing and Conforto started another game a few days later. The sample is incredibly small but a .444/.444/.556 line with a double in 9 at bats definitely isn't bad. Given that he's in minor league camp, Conforto's odds of winning this year are small but even a mention here is huge in his first camp (or not, nobody really cares about this award).