Brian Joura of Mets360 wrote an article listing the Top 10 things to watch for Mets in Spring Training. Here are #10 thru 6.
10. Who is going to be the team’s fifth outfielder?
Right now the Mets have four players – Bay, Duda, Hairston and Torres – who should be on the Opening Day roster. In fact for a team predicted by some to lose 100 games, there are relatively few spots up for grabs. At the most there are three bench jobs and one relief pitching spot. And we can probably count Nickeas and Turner for two of the three reserve slots. But the fifth outfield slot is in doubt and it’s possible that the eventual winner is not even under contract yet. Here is a case where you can definitely see who has the best spring by traditional metrics and probably get a good grip on who wins the job.
9. How will the new shortstop handle replacing a fan favorite?
No doubt a lot of the doom and gloom surrounding the forecasts for the Mets has to do with Ruben Tejada playing shortstop for 150 games. Tejada does not have to be the dynamic player his predecessor was. All he has to be is the player he was in the second half of last year, the one who didn’t strike out, the one who hit line drives and the one who made all the plays in the field. I want to see Tejada act like he belongs as the starting shortstop, not a raw kid afraid of replacing a $100 million man.
8. How good defensively is the new center fielder?
Mets fans hope that Andres Torres can be an upgrade defensively for the team than what they trotted out in center in 2011. Of course, we hope he can hit, too. But I think we’ll get a much better idea of what he can do defensively than offensively down in Florida. Pagan would look less than ideal in the field at times and I want to see Torres in complete control in center, taking accurate, direct paths on fly balls, hitting the cutoff man and throwing to the right base.
7. Which rookie will get the most playing time in St. Lucie?
You can get a good read on which rookie the team holds in high regard by how many PA he gets with the major league team. Last year, Lucas Duda led the club with 71 at-bats, which gave us the idea that Terry Collins wanted to see as much of him as he possibly could. Also interesting was that Kirk Nieuwenhuis got 34 ABs, more than Fernando Martinez did. Some of Nieuwenhuis’ time came about because the club wanted an extra CF on the roster. But the Mets shipped Martinez out early, despite a .364/.481/.591 line in order to keep Nieuwenhuis, who finished with a .118/.211/.265 line. Now Nieuwenhuis is on most top prospect lists for the club while Martinez was released and is now with Houston.
6. Will the Mets have a new poet laureate on their team?
Baseball and poetry, despite its links to Walt Whitman, do not go hand in hand. It’s even rarer for the players themselves to write the poetry. There was former Met Ed Charles, who read a poem he wrote in 1962 at the ticker tape parade following the 1969 World Series, but who else? Well, Miguel Batista is a published poet. He also threw a two-hit shutout the last time he pitched. No one seems to give him much of a chance, but his willingness to pitch as either a SP or RP will help his chances to make the team out of Spring Training. He’s never had great control, but I’ll be keeping tab of how many walks he allows during Grapefruit League play. If he can improve from terrible to below average with his walk rate, he could be an asset.
Visit his site to see what the Top 5 were and why. – Link