The Mets announced that they have invited nine players to spring training to work out with the big league club: Peter Alsono, P.J. Conlon, Kevin Kaczmarski, Patrick Mazeika, Drew Smith, Corey Taylor, Tim Tebow, David Thompson, and Adonis Uceta.
Obviously the big name here is Tebow, who did appear in some spring training games with the major league club last season with mixed results. He started out 0-for-8 and faced the reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello in his first at-bat. He struck out on four pitches, but did pick up a hit off Cardinals’ pitcher Michael Wacha later on in spring. He finished spring going 4-for-27 with a walk and eight strikeouts.
After spring, Tebow was sent to Columbia before being promoted to St. Lucie and ended his first professional baseball season hitting just .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and 52 RBIs. He also struck out 126 times in 430 at-bats.
Tebow may not be considered a true prospect but the same can not be said for some of the other names on the list. Peter Alonso put together an impressive second half last season and showed plenty of pop at the plate. He earned a promotion to Double-A and in eleven games hit .311/.340/.578 with a .918 OPS. Obviously it is a small sample size but he certainly looks promising and is rising through the ranks of the top first base prospects in the league. If Alonso continues to steadily improve, he could definitely insert his name into the conversation as the Mets’ first baseman of the future.
Reliever Drew Smith was the return for Lucas Duda at the trade deadline last season and did well in 15 innings of work with Binghamton. He pitched to a 1.80 ERA and struck out 17 in those 15 innings. He seemed like an intriguing return at the time and now he has an opportunity to show why he was acquired for the slugging first baseman.
Pitcher P.J. Conlon, outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski, catcher Patrick Mazeika, RHP Corey Taylor, infielder David Thompson, and pitcher Adonis Uceta round out the other invitees, but Steve Gelsb of SNY has his eye on Uceta.
Tebow will certainly attract attention this spring, but the others offer a glimpse of what the Mets’ future could look like should they play up to their potential.