While the late offseason signing of Tommy Pham likely precludes Tim Locastro from being 2023’s Travis Jankowski and making the Mets’ Opening Day roster, barring injury, it would not be a surprise to see Locastro in Queens for at multiple points this season.
Locastro has never been much of a hitter—he comes into his age-30 season with a career .227/.325/.331 (82 wRC+) line—but he does come with a skill that has never been taught and likely cannot be taught in the future: speed.
Over the last three years, Locastro has populated the top of the sprint speed charts. In 2020 and 2021, he led the league with 30.7 ft/sec, and last year he notched a 30.1 ft/sec, which dropped him to 11th. While he is getting a tad bit slower as Father Time catches up to him, he still possesses upper echelon speed, which is something the Mets organization is largely bereft of. No one on the 2022 Mets was really close to him, with Brandon Nimmo being the fastest Met on the roster, with a sprint speed of 28.7 ft/sec and Starling Marte coming in second on the team with 28 seconds flat. The Mets are a good team, but they are a slow team.
Locastro signing with the Mets made a ton of sense for everyone involved. To call the Mets’ upper minors outfield depth poor is, as anyone who listens to the hit minor league podcast From Complex To Queens knows, an understatement. As of the time of this preview, the Syracuse outfield is likely to be: Locastro, Abraham Almonte, DJ Stewart, and Lorenzo Cedrola. Cedrola, who is actually an interesting minor league signing, aside, it is a masterclass in Guy Remembering by Billy Eppler. Locastro is the clear top option out of that group if an outfielder were to go down—unless Cedrola impresses, which is certainly possible.
Locastro is about as fun a player as you’ll find among those who don’t hit much. His speed can be game-changing, and he has more hit-by-pitches (37) than walks (33) in his career, which must make Mark Canha jealous. He even has a Foolish Baseball video on him. While expecting really anything from his bat is a mistake, he is a fun player that can make a positive impact in short bursts with the 2023 Mets in other facets of the game.