Ranking the Top 5 Most Anticipated 2014 Mets Spring Training Battles
The New York Mets, like all other teams, will try to figure out what to do at certain positions during spring training.
A few notable position battles will be going on, which is one of, if not the most exciting aspects of spring training. This time around, the team will have a few notable competitions occurring.
Here are the top five most anticipated spring training battles for the Mets this year.
5. Bench and Bullpen
The bench and the bullpen battles are usually about at the same level of excitement, so both areas will be included here.
Various battles for bench spots will include backup catchers (Anthony Recker and Taylor Teagarden), backup middle infielders (Wilmer Flores and Wilfredo Tovar) and backup outfielders (Matt den Dekker and Andrew Brown).
In the bullpen, pitchers such as Kyle Farnsworth, Jose Valverde, Josh Edgin, Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen will be among some of the relievers who will be trying to get on the Opening Day roster.
4. 5th Starting Pitching Spot
With Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee and Bartolo Colon all but certain to be in the Mets starting rotation, the final slot in the rotation will probably be won in spring training.
The main competitors for this should include Jenrry Mejia, Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan. Top prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero could be in the mix as well, but more than likely, both of them will start the season in the minor leagues.
3. The Outfield Configuration
Despite all the moves the Mets made to upgrade their outfield, not every outfield position may be set in stone just yet.
The only definite starter seems to be Curtis Granderson, who signed a four-year contract to be the Mets' new left fielder. Incumbents Juan Lagares and Eric Young Jr. will be battling with newcomer Chris Young for the other two outfield spots.
Despite the Mets not making any significant upgrades at shortstop through free agency or a trade, this does not mean Ruben Tejada will necessarily be the Mets shortstop by default.
General manager Sandy Alderson recently mentioned that it's possible that rookie Wilmer Flores could compete for the starting job at shortstop, via Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, despite now being primarily a third baseman. Third base, though, for the Mets is held down by David Wright, so in order to get his bat in the lineup, Flores will likely have to play at another position.
If Flores has a particularly good spring and shows at least some decent potential defensively at shortstop, he could very well end up getting more playing time than Tejada. Certain variables here have yet to be determined, and that's what should make this competition very fascinating to follow.
1. 1st Base
The outfield and the shortstop battles might be the two most interesting competitions to follow, but the battle that has been grabbing the most headlines has probably been between Ike Davis and Lucas Duda at first base.
It seems like Duda's time in the outfield is all but over which means that either he or Davis will start at first base and the other will be on the bench or maybe even not on the team.
The Mets need solid production and power from first base, and hopefully, at least one of Davis or Duda will step up and provide it this season.