HomeTeamsMetsWhat Have We Learned From The Mets So Far?

What Have We Learned From The Mets So Far?

The New York Mets are just about a quarter of the way through their Spring Training schedule. So, what have we learned so far?

Every year, teams arrive at their Spring Training homes with questions that need to be addressed. Can an injured star return to form? Will the competition at a certain position be figured out by Opening Day? Is that player really in the best shape of his life? With a significantly different roster from a year ago at this time, the 2024 Mets team came to Port St. Lucie with plenty of puzzles to solve. Not many answers can be determined just yet, we are only  8 games into the schedule. Still, here are a couple questions to keep an eye on…

Who will be in the Mets starting rotation?
Before Tylor Megill threw the first pitch against the Cardinals on February 25th, Kodai Senga, the Mets projected ace, was already on his way back to New York for some work on his throwing shoulder. It was soon determined that Senga would be shut down from pitching for the next few weeks and would likely miss the first 4 or 5 weeks of the regular season.

Prior to Pitchers & Catchers reporting, the rotation was expected to be Senga, Jose Quintana, Luis Severino, Sean Manea, and Adrian Houser. Senga’s injury opened the door for some preseason intrigue. Immediately, Megill, Joey Lucchesi, and Jose Butto were identified as the top candidates to take his spot, with January waiver pickup, Max Kranick, considered a dark horse candidate. After a 2-inning, 2-srikeout, no runner start last week, Kranick suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain and will start the season on the injured list.

Meanwhile, Megill has now pitched 5 innings over the course of 2 games and has struck out 7 while allowing 4 hits including a solo home run. Importantly, he hasn’t walked a batter yet. Not to be outdone, Butto has tossed 3 innings over the course of 2 games, has also yielded 4 hits, striking out 3 and not walking any. He is yet to give up a run. Lucchesi, on the other hand, is yet to make his first spring training game appearance.

Who will play third base?

Last year, the Mets had two highly touted minor leaguers who seemed ready to seize opportunities in Flushing, third basemen Brett Baty and Mark Vientos. Baty did not take advantage, batting just .212, striking out 109 times in 353 at-bats, and proving unreliable in the field. Vientos did not fare much better, with a .233 average and 71 K’s in 218 AB’s. He too, looked like a liability at the hot corner. Both players earned the praise they received in the minors and have thus earned a second look in the majors. It wasn’t clear, however, how the Mets plan on using them this year. Would one be the third baseman while the other the DH. Would they platoon with each other? And would the Mets offseason additions of Joey Wendle, Zack Short, Yolmer Sanchez, or Rylan Bannon factor into their plans. After 8 games, none of those players have taken a step forward in this competition, with Bannnon the only one with a batting average .200. Wendle has been dealing with a sore shoulder and will likely not make his spring debut until next week. Baty’s penchant for striking out is still an issue, with 5 K’s in just 13 preseason AB’s.  Vientos, Short, Sanchez, and Bannon have had equally uninspiring starts to their spring. It will be interesting to see if any of these players makes a reasonable case for himself, or if the Mets start looking into alternate plans, like using Jeff McNeil at third base.

Only so much can be gleaned from Spring Training in general, and even less in the first 8 games. Some of spring’s greatest performers barely got their respective cups of coffee in the majors, while each season there are numerous stars who had unremarkable experiences in March. Still, the answers to the 2 questions above will no doubt impact the Mets approach and results in 2024, and it’s likely that we’ll begin to see some influential results over the next 10 days or so.

Shai Kushner
Shai Kushnerhttps://mlbreport.com/
Shai Kushner, is a seasoned sports journalist and versatile professional deeply embedded in the world of baseball. Since 2014, Shai has been a trusted voice covering the New York Mets for BaseballDigest.com and GothamBaseball.com. Before his journalism career, he served as a video engineer for the Mets Baseball Operations department.


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