New York Mets Who Made Huge Leaps This Offseason
Throw a bunch of players against the wall and see who sticks.
That's essentially the blueprint for success for Mets general manager Sandy Alderson this offseason, as evidenced by his plethora of minor league deals for largely unproven or over-the-hill players.
While this approach has worked for teams in the past, notably the 2012 Oakland Athletics, it is generally a recipe for disaster.
Thus far, a number of players have stepped up this spring training and could hopefully continue it into the season
Jordany Valdespin, or JV1 as he has come to be known, is clearly one of the highest-ceiling offensive players this team has.
He has the flair for the dramatic, which was displayed on five separate pinch-hitting appearances last season.
Valdespin has three home runs and seven runs batted in so far, which could put him in the conversation to become a starting outfielder on the team.
His glove may not play well in the infield, but with his athleticism, he should be able to hold down an outfield position if he continues to work with outfield coach Tom Goodwin.
We already know he's tough; they just need to find a spot for him to continue to thrive.
Collin Cowgill has created quite the buzz around Mets fans already this spring. Some of it is due to his hard-nosed style of play.
The other aspect is obviously a limited amount of solid outfield options for the club.
Cowgill has compiled a .972 OPS over the first 15 games this spring.
The 26-year-old will not be an All-Star type of player. However, he has been a part of a surprise playoff club the past two years, so he has experience with being on winning clubs.
Perhaps he can be the hustle-hard type of player that this team could use.
With the recent injuries to David Wright and Justin Turner, the Mets will look for one of their internal options to step up and fill the void.
To this point, Zach Lutz has appeared ready to fill in and play a pivotal role.
The 26-year-old has compiled 11 hits in his first 32 games this spring to go along with six walks. Could he make Mets fans forget about David Wright? Absolutely not, but if it is for only a handful of games, he can be more than a barren wasteland at the bottom of the order.
Lutz could be a solid contributor for the club.
Although he may not be the flashiest of pitchers, Jeremy Hefner is a solid major league pitcher and must take on a larger role with the likely absence of Johan Santana to begin the season.
Hefner has shown glimpses of domination this spring training, as he has compiled a 2.93 ERA over 15.1 innings with a 0.98 WHIP and .211 AVG against
Obviously, it's a small sample size, and opponents batted .287 against him in 2012. Perhaps, though, he has found a niche in his second year with the Mets.
That could be wishful thinking, but the signs have been positive to this point for the 27-year-old.