It is now the magic month of September in the baseball season, which means a couple of things. For teams in the playoff hunt, every game counts as they jockey for a chance to play in October.
For teams like the New York Mets, just playing out the rest of the season and trying to play spoiler, it means an opportunity to get a jump start on preparing for next year.
With September call-ups and expanded rosters, the Mets are getting a look at some players that will hopefully contribute to the team in the future that were not on the 2012 Opening Day roster.
For some players, this is their audition to the team, and though September is meaningless in terms of postseason aspirations, it means everything to those getting an opportunity to showcase their skills at the big league level.
Here are a couple of players that were not on the New York Mets' Opening Day roster this season that look to have their names penciled in on the 25-man roster for Opening Day 2013.
Jenrry Mejia seems like he has been around the organization for a while, but at only 22 years old, he still has a world of potential.
After all the Mets have put him through, one would think that his confidence would be shot. He has survived the back-and-forth between the bullpen and the rotation and moving around the Mets' minor league system.
Mejia was not ready when the Mets threw him out on the mound in 2010, but now is on the threshold of being a full-time contributor in the majors.
It remains to be seen what role is best suited for him. Some envision him as a starter, while his good fastball-change combo may suggest that he would thrive in the bullpen.
At any rate, it is easy to see Mejia coming out of the bullpen in 2013 for the Mets. Long relief may be a possibility. That would allow him to get work at the big league level and, if the Mets needed, he could make spot starts.
If the Mets see Mejia as a starter, they might start him in the bullpen and ease him along into the rotation, a la Kris Medlen with the Atlanta Braves.
It is hard not to like a story like Josh Edgin's. A 30th-round pick back in 2010, Edgin beat the odds, sailed through the minors and quickly became acclimated to the Mets' bullpen.
An injury to lefty specialist Tim Byrdak opened the door for Edgin this season and most likely well into the future.
His fastball reaches low- to mid-90s and his slider can be nasty at times.
Edgin has worked 21.1 innings and has 25 strikeouts. His ERA stands at 3.80, but consider that seven of the nine earned runs he has allowed have been against the Atlanta Braves. He has been lights out against all other competition.
Successful teams build bullpens through their minor league systems. The Mets found a gem in Edgin and he should be a lock as the left-handed specialist for 2013 and beyond.
Versatility plays a major role in factoring in whether or not a player makes a big league roster or not. Jordany Valdespin brings plenty of versatility and talent to the Mets.
Valdespin came up this season as a middle infielder but the Mets have worked him into the outfield, mostly in left. Though he is still raw, he has shown an ability to play.
Factor in that he has been clutch with his bat off the bench and it is hard to see him in anything but a Mets' uniform Opening Day next season.
Valdespin has five pinch-hit home runs for the Mets this season, which is a franchise record. He brings an energy to the team that others feed off of, and the fact that he can play multiple positions makes him a very valuable piece of the puzzle for 2013.
The outfield may be crowded, depending on what the club does with Lucas Duda and with Jason Bay said to be coming back, but at the very least, a platoon seems to be in order for Valdespin.
The New York Mets traded for catcher Kelly Shoppach on August 14 to basically platoon with Josh Thole and to see if he would be a fit for the club in the future.
He has shown to be more than that, and now the only thing missing is a contract, which most likely will be on the top of general manager Sandy Alderson's list of things to do in the offseason.
The Mets coveted him for a while, mostly because of the pop he provides with his bat. He has 10 hits in 36 at-bats with three home runs.
What is more encouraging is what he does behind the plate. The Mets have been impressed with the way Shoppach handles the young pitchers.
With pitchers like Mejia, Edgin, Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and eventually Zack Wheeler making their way to the big leagues, Shoppach's impact may prove to be even more valuable than what they envisioned just a few weeks ago.
The question now for Matt Harvey is what spot in the rotation will he be holding down in 2013?
He has proved that he was more than ready to take the next step and pitch at the major league level.
Although he got roughed up in his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals, Harvey has been one of the few bright spots in a dismal second half for the Mets.
Harvey's 3-4 record does not do him justice in explaining how well he has been doing. He has a 3.04 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 47.1 innings of work.
Expect another start or two before the Mets shut him down for the rest of the season and get him geared up for 2013. He has handled the pressure very well this season, but all that changes next year as his responsibilities and expectations skyrocket.
Longevity is the only issue that remains, as Harvey has only topped seven-plus innings once in his eight starts. If the bullpen does not improve, that problem becomes a bigger concern.
For now, Harvey leads the way as the future for the New York Mets and is a lock to be on the Opening Day roster in 2013.