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Handicapping the 2015 Mets "King Of Spring Training" race

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Who will be crowned the king of 2015 Mets spring training? Let's determine some of the favorites for the title.

2011 KOST Scott Hairston tries to intimidate during his KOST winning spring!
2011 KOST Scott Hairston tries to intimidate during his KOST winning spring!
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

We've finally entered the "pretend baseball games" portion of spring training and that means that we'll have plenty of small sample size data to look at and parse. One of our favorite ways to use all of that mostly meaningless data is to figure out which Mets player should be crowned the King Of Spring Training (KOST for short)!

What is the King Of Spring Training? For the uninitiated, the King Of Spring Training is exactly what it sounds like: It's the player who played the best during spring training. Candidates for the KOST are typically hitters and they tend to be players who are further down the depth chart, whether they be bench guys with guaranteed roster spots, young players trying to make an impression, or non-roster/depth types rallying for spots on the club. Here's the list of the most recent KOST winners:

2011: Scott Hairston

2012: Lucas Duda (we even held a ceremony crowning him the KOST that year!)

2013: Collin Cowgill

2014: Zach Lutz

Being the best at spring training baseball is tough, and the best part is that it doesn't really even portend big league success! Despite its being completely and utterly meaningless in nearly every way, let's note some of the players on the Mets roster who have the best chances at winning this year's somewhat coveted title! Be sure to vote in our poll below and if you'd like to nominate somebody else, choose "Other" and then nominate them in the comments.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Captain Kirk had horrific spring training stints in 2011 and 2013, hitting .118/.211/.265 and .086/.220/.086 respectively, but managed a turnaround in his fake-game fortune in 2014. Nieuwenhuis would've been a strong contender with his .256/.370/.486 line had the Mets not had a number of worthy competitors for the title. Nieuwenhuis is playing for the Mets' fifth outfield job, is out of options, and is already off to a 4-4 start after one game.

Matt den Dekker

Nieuwenhuis's main competition for a role is den Dekker, who has been opening eyes in big league spring training for a few years with his defense in center field. den Dekker's bat finally caught up to the glove last season, as he hit .350/.426/.450 last spring and battled down to the wire for the not-at-all-valuable KOST title. den Dekker went 1-for-3 yesterday and at age 27, he needs a big spring to solidify his spot on a big league roster.

Eric Campbell

Another strong competitor for 2014's KOST crown, Campbell had a huge spring and opened the Mets' eyes with a .304/.373/.500 line before ultimately receiving his big league call in May. Campbell, like the previous two, is also battling for a bench spot this spring, so a big month of March could help Campbell secure a big league paycheck and a trophy that doesn't actually exist.

John Mayberry Jr

One of the Mets' few outside imports this offseason, Mayberry fits the KOST mold along the lines of Scott Hairston as a veteran bench player with some power. Mayberry's spring training track record is spotty, though he had monster springs in 2011 and 2014 with the Phillies. A repeat of 2011's .294/.351/.588 spring line could help Mayberry come away with the ultimately meaningless hardware.

Johnny Monell

A dark horse in this competition, the Mets' backup to the backup catcher introduced himself yesterday when he crushed the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for a three-run dinger. Monell, signed as a minor league free agent, appears to be a bit of a spring training ringer. The 29-year-old has a .356/.420/.600 line in 45 career spring training at-bats and could turn into a Cinderella story in this competition that we've completely made up.

Anthony Recker

Standing in Monell's way is the incumbent backup catcher with the junk in the trunk. Recker, who has quite the spring training resume himself, is an excellent .292/.357/.518 hitter over 137 spring at-bats and has had two great springs since coming to the Mets organization. In a fight for his job, the veteran catcher could use a strong spring, which could also help him win the crown that nobody really cares about.