Thursday, March 21, 2013

Final Predictions for Mets' Spring Training Position Battles

Shale Briskin
MM Assistant Editor

With spring training coming to an end, certain position battles will soon be decided as to who will make the Opening Day roster and who will get cut. The Mets' main battles are in the outfield, bench and bullpen. Let's see who will be most likely to win the roster spots.

- Projected Starting Left Fielder: Lucas Duda

Duda and Jordany Valdespin are battling for the starting left field job, but despite Valdespin's hot bat in spring training, left field is Duda's to lose. He should get the first crack at proving himself, and if he does not, then Valdespin will replace him. Valdespin also has more value off the bench with his speed and ability to play second base and shortstop as well.

- Projected Starting Center Fielder: Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill

Yes, this means that Nieuwenhuis and Cowgill could very likely platoon together in center field. Nieuwenhuis has potential, but is a streaky hitter, while Cowgill is more of a contact hitter that simply gets on base. Both run well and play good defense, so they should be able to compliment each other well.

- Projected Starting Right Fielder: Marlon Byrd

Byrd has been doing very well in spring training this year, while Mike Baxter has struggled a lot. The Mets could platoon Byrd and Baxter, but with Baxter's value on the bench being as large as it is, it would make more sense to have Byrd start every day for now.

- Projected Bench: Anthony Recker, Justin Turner, Zach Lutz, Mike Baxter, Jordany Valdespin

Recker will more than likely be the Mets' backup catcher, while Turner will be  the Mets' utility infielder and Lutz will be a backup corner infielder. Baxter and Valdespin will probably be the two backup outfielders, which would mean Matt Den Dekker and Andrew Brown will both not make the roster. 

- Projected Bullpen: Bobby Parnell, Brandon Lyon, Josh Edgin, Jeremy Hefner, Pedro Feliciano, Jeurys Familia, Scott Atchison

Frank Francisco's elbow injury means that Bobby Parnell will be the Opening Day closer. Parnell could hold onto that position for a long time if he pitches particularly well.

Edgin, Lyon and Hefner were all basically shoe-ins to make the roster. As for the others, Feliciano's previous time with the Mets should be enough to get him a roster spot, as long as he stays healthy. Familia's velocity and overall potential should help him get a spot, but he will have to limit the walks in order to be effective. As for the final spot, Scott Atchison's great 2012 season should help him win a spot over the likes of LaTroy Hawkins and Greg Burke, among others.

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1 comment:

  1. I think Hefner goes into the rotation, so he doesn't count as bullpen. Add in Hawkins and I think it's pretty spot on.