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2021 Mets King of spring training, update #2

I was not originally considering Luis Guillorme for KoST. But a 22-pitch plate appearance changed my mind.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after our first KoST update last week, the Mets reassigned 19 players, including many of our KoST contenders. However, because there is no simultaneous minor league camp this season with the minor league season being delayed, those players can continue to see Grapefruit League action. And indeed some of them have. This week, we have updates on the field from our first KoST post last week and add two new players to the list of contenders.

Luis Guillorme - .333/.444/.333 in 15 ABs

Okay, I went back and forth on this for a long time. Luis Guillorme has been tearing it up this spring, but given that he is pretty much a lock to make the big league team out of camp, I had not considered him KoST-eligible. He has been a KoST contender in years past, but I felt his window of eligibility had expired. However, Guillorme seems to have a way of stealing the spotlight during spring training and I almost feel prophetic, having included the gif of his bat catch in my previous update. In Sunday’s Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals, Guillorme worked out a walk after an epic 22-pitch showdown with Jordan Hicks that became the stuff of legend, prompting loud applause from the dugout and limited fans in attendance, as well as viral internet fame. That sort of fun weirdness is what KoST is all about and for that reason, I felt I had to make an exception to my own rules for Guillorme and at least put him forth for consideration.

Additionally, if Guillorme can carry the momentum from his shortened 2020 season and his performance in spring training so far into 2021, he may become far more vital to the Mets than simply a defensive replacement. If 2021 ends up being a true breakout year for him, that would also justify his KoST status.

KoST points: 5 (4 for performance plus one extra for the 22-pitch plate appearance)
Total KoST points to-date: 5

Bruce Maxwell - .333/.455/.444 in 9 ABs

Other than Guillorme, Bruce Maxwell is the other new KoST candidate this week. After a slow start, he has now seen his OPS rise to .899, which is the 7th best mark in camp. He has collected three hits and a walk and scored a run over eight games.

KoST points: 3
Total KoST points to-date: 3

Mark Vientos - .600/.778/1.000 in 5 ABs

Vientos was one of the players that was reassigned, which is unfortunate because he was likely one of the KoST favorites heading into this week. But he has managed to snag one more at-bat since last week so he may still occasionally see time in Grapefruit League play. Vientos remains the team leader in OPS with a 1.778 this spring and his four walks are still the second-most on the team, despite limited action.

KoST points: 2
Total KoST points to-date: 7

Drew Ferguson - .500/.556/.625 in 8 ABs

In a limited sample size, Drew Ferguson continues to impress. His overall batting line has declined slightly in three additional at-bats since our last update, but his 1.181 OPS is still fourth on the team behind Vientos, Brandon Nimmo, and Pete Alonso. He has collected four hits and a walk and scored three runs so far this spring and continues to see some playing time, despite being one of the players that was reassigned last week.

KoST points: 3
Total KoST points to-date: 5

Jake Hager - .200/.200/.800 in 10 ABs

Unlike a lot of our other KoST contenders, Jake Hager was not among the players reassigned and has had a couple of at-bats since our last update. Unfortunately, he has not done much with those at-bats. But he remains a KoST contender by virtue of the fact that he is the only player in camp with two home runs this spring besides Pete Alonso.

KoST points: 1
Total KoST points to-date: 5

Ronny Mauricio - .417/.417/.417 in 12 ABs

Unsurprisingly, the 19-year-old and Ronny Mauricio was reassigned in the first round of “cuts” this spring. But during his limited playing time in big league camp, he has shown why he is the Mets’ top prospect. He has two additional at-bats since our last update and his overall batting line has held steady (and symmetrical).

KoST points: 1
Total KoST points to-date: 2

Trevor Hildenberger - 0.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 6 Ks in 2 IP

Unfortunately, Trevor Hildenberger was also reassigned and has not appeared in a Grapefruit League game since our last update. No other pitchers have risen to the level of KoST consideration at this stage, but it is worth noting that both Miguel Castro and Drew Smith have been standout performers among the bullpen arms this spring and both might have more vital roles to play this year, especially if the likes of Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances continue to struggle.

KoST points: 0
Total KoST points to-date: 1

I will post one more KoST update next week before our final poll the following week after the conclusion of spring training. Good luck to all of our KoST contenders!