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Make-the-Mets-o-Meter, March 28, 2015

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Let's try to figure out the Mets' Opening Day roster.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Meter Avenue has been dormant for a while, but as the 2015 season approaches, we figure there’s still time for a Make-the-Mets-o-Meter or two. If you’re new here, this meter tries to gauge which players will make the team’s Opening Day roster. Coming into spring training this year, most of the twenty-five spots on the roster seemed to be locked up. Many still do, but with a few injuries in the books and maybe a little bit of competition for the last spot on the roster regardless of that, let’s get to it.

There are quite a few no-doubt major leaguers still in camp. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon, and Dillon Gee will make up the rotation to start the year. Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, David Wright, and Wilmer Flores will start in the infield. Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares, Curtis Granderson, and John Mayberry Jr. will be on the roster, too. And in the bullpen, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, and Carlos Torres came into camp as locks, and that hasn’t changed. Some of the players included below are incredibly likely to head north, too, but they’re included here for now for fun.

Unfortunately, Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin are out for the season, as they both had Tommy John surgery recently. Bobby Parnell is making a comeback from his Tommy John surgery last year, but he definitely won’t be ready for Opening Day, and Vic Black, who came into camp with a spot on the roster, has had shoulder soreness and might not be ready, either. Last but not least, Daniel Murphy is out with a hamstring injury, and he, too, might miss the start of the season.

Add it all up, and we’re looking at a full rotation, an infield potentially in need of a starting second baseman and at least one backup infielder, a bullpen with several openings, and a bench that might have a little more competition than expected a couple weeks ago.

Pitchers

Player Comment
Dario Alvarez, LHP Alvarez is left-handed, which is probably a significant reason he is still in major league camp. The Mets really need a lefty, in case you haven’t heard. His cup of coffee with the Mets didn’t go well late last year, and he has pitched minimally above Single-A Savannah.
Duane Below, LHP Picked up this winter as a minor league free agent, Below is left-handed and therefore has at least a shot at making the Opening Day bullpen.
Chase Bradford, RHP In the minors, Bradford has struck out opponents at a decent clip and been very good at limiting walks. Neither of those traits have been on display in spring games, but that could change. If Vic Black is not ready for Opening Day, there’s room in the bullpen for two right-handed pitchers even if the Mets carry two lefties.
Buddy Carlyle, RHP After coming out of nowhere to post a 1.45 ERA in his age-36 season for the Mets last year, Carlyle was brought back over the winter. Right now, he seems like a pretty good bet to make the team, mostly because of last year’s performance.
Sean Gilmartin, LHP Another lefty, Gilmartin might have a leg up on his peers since he was a Rule 5 pick in December. If the Mets keep him on the 25-man roster all year, they can keep him for as long as his service time dictates. If they don’t, they have to offer him back to the Minnesota Twins.
Erik Goeddel, RHP Goeddel has struck out nine and walked just one in 8.1 innings of work in spring games. Unfortunately, he’s also given up two home runs. Last year was his first professional year spent exclusively in the bullpen, and the Mets called him up late in the season despite his high ERA in Vegas.
Chase Huchingson, LHP Huchingson has not officially been in major league camp, but being a left-handed pitcher, he has gotten into a couple of Grapefruit League games. In the minors, he had a nice year with Binghamton in 2013 and a pretty good one last year, too.
Rafael Montero, RHP Given the overall bullpen outlook, Montero sounds like he’s destined to be a part of it. While he struggled overall last year in his major league debut, the Mets like what they saw from him late in the year. That he looked very good against the Yankees recently probably didn’t hurt, either.
Scott Rice, LHP Last year was a tough one for Rice, as he had a 5.93 ERA in 32 appearances and then underwent season-ending elbow surgery. He has struggled in spring games, which probably does not help.
Zach Thornton, RHP The biggest plus of the Ike Davis trade was Lucas Duda’s breakout season, but the Mets acquired Thornton and fellow minor league pitcher Blake Taylor from the Pirates when they dealt Davis. Thornton saw his walk rate rise in Las Vegas last year, but he has looked good in spring games and figured to get a shot at some point. This could be the time.

Position players

Player Comment
Eric Campbell, IF After hitting slightly below league average last year, Campbell is probably a little overrated by many Mets fans. There’s been little reason to think he won’t make the Opening Day roster, though, and he has hit very well in Grapefruit League games.
Alex Castellanos, OF Probably Rob’s favorite player in camp—at least if we’re judging by last names—Castellanos has struggled to get on base in spring games but has hit for power. Primarily an outfielder, he’s also dabbled in the infield, mostly at third base but also at second and, on rare occasions, at first. There’s no guarantee that Campbell will be better than him this year, but it would be a surprise if the Mets went with Castellanos.
Matt den Dekker, OF While den Dekker has had a nice spring, his chances of making the team are low, as he has options remaining and Kirk Nieuwenhuis doesn’t. Both are left-handed hitters and profile similarly at the plate, though Nieuwenhuis has had fared better in the big leagues. den Dekker will probably play some games in Queens this year, just not at the very beginning of the season.
Johnny Monell, C The Bronx native has had a very strong spring training, and what could set him apart from Anthony Recker is that he is a left-handed hitter. Unsurprisingly, Monell has hit right-handed pitching fairly well throughout his minor league career. Travis d’Arnaud’s splits aren’t even concerning, but that potential platoon advantage could give the Mets more flexibility in choosing games to rest d’Arnaud.
Danny Muno, IF With minor league experience at second, third, and short, the 26-year-old seems to have a decent shot at making the team. It’s just not clear whether the Mets would prefer Muno or Matt Reynolds to fill in for Murphy at second base.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF Out of options, Nieuwenhuis probably had a roster spot locked up on the first day of camp. Of course, that alone doesn’t guarantee a roster spot, but he hit well in the big leagues last year and has been one of the Mets’ better hitters in spring training.
Cesar Puello, OF Coming off a tough year in Vegas, Puello has not stood out in spring training. He is out of options, though, and might be better than he looked last year. It just doesn’t seem likely that the Mets—who are definitely carrying five outfielders—will take him north. There’s a chance they will lose him on waivers if it comes to that.
Anthony Recker, C Now in his third year with the Mets, Recker has been the backup catcher at the major league for the last two. Over that span, he hit .207/.261/.385 with 13 home runs in 340 plate appearances. He will probably still make the team, but Monell’s spring might make the decision a little bit tougher.
Matt Reynolds, IF Whether it’s Reynolds or Muno making the team in Murphy’s absence, either would be the first player drafted by the Mets under Sandy Alderson to make it to the big leagues. Like Muno, Reynolds has had a torrid spring at the plate, and per Baseball-Reference’s metric, he has faced tougher opposing pitchers in the exhibition games.
Ruben Tejada, IF If the Mets were going to cut Tejada, they would have done it back at the non-tender deadline. At 25, he’s having a decent spring, and he’s kind of figured to be the Mets’ backup middle infielder all along. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him get some starts early in the year, either.