Snubs, Surprises and Grades for New York Mets' Final 25-Man Roster Selections
With Opening Day about to happen, the Mets have finally determined what their official 25-man roster will look like.
The Mets announced their Opening Day roster on March 30. Travis d'Arnaud and Anthony Recker will be the two catchers. The infield will include first basemen Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, second baseman Daniel Murphy, shortstops Ruben Tejada and Omar Quintanilla, third baseman David Wright and corner infielder Josh Satin. Curtis Granderson, Chris Young, Eric Young Jr., Juan Lagares and Andrew Brown will be the outfielders.
On the pitching side, Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, Bartolo Colon and Jenrry Mejia will be the starting pitchers. Jon Niese is expected to join the rotation as well after a short stint on the disabled list. The bullpen will be comprised of closer Bobby Parnell, setup man Jose Valverde, long reliever Carlos Torres, and middle relievers Jeurys Familia, Scott Rice, John Lannan, and Gonzalez Germen.
All in all, this looks like a roster that could potentially help the Mets finish with a winning record this season for the first time since 2008. But will everyone consider it the best possible Mets Opening Day roster with the options that were there? Most likely, there would be some disagreements on a few spots.
Here are the biggest snubs and surprises for the Mets' 2014 Opening Day roster, as well as grades for general positions.
Three particular snubs really stand out.
One is Wilmer Flores, who was competing with Ruben Tejada to be the starting shortstop, but will now begin the season in the minor leagues. Flores may not be the smoothest-fielding shortstop, but he has noticeably more offensive potential than Tejada. If Tejada struggles at the plate early in the season, it wouldn't be too surprising to see Flores called up and become the new shortstop.
One pitcher who was a very surprising snub was Daisuke Matsuzaka. He was cut from the major league roster as the younger Jenrry Mejia won the fifth spot in the Mets rotation. The fact that the Mets paid Matsuzaka $100,000 to keep him in the organization made it even more surprising that he did not make the starting rotation. Matsuzaka though might get called up soon in case Jon Niese is not able to make his first start of the season within the next week or two.
The third snub was reliever Vic Black. He struggled during spring training but seemed to be a lock to make the Opening Day bullpen. Instead, Black will begin the season at Triple-A Las Vegas and hopefully work his way back to the major leagues.
There were two particular surprises on the Mets' Opening Day roster.
One of them was Jenrry Mejia, who beat out Matsuzaka to earn the final spot in the Mets' starting rotation. Mejia is not as experienced as Matsuzaka, but has potential and could be a good back-end starter for the Mets.
Another surprise was Gonzalez Germen, who may have looked like the odd man out in the Mets bullpen. But because Black got sent to the minor leagues, it may have helped Germen make the roster.
Opening Day Roster Position Grades
Travis d'Arnaud is the Mets' starting catcher of the future and Anthony Recker did very well as the backup last year. No one else in the organization would have deserved the backup role over Recker.
Not having Flores on the Opening Day roster means that the Mets most likely will not get much offensive production from their shortstops, but Daniel Murphy and David Wright are two of the Mets' offensive leaders. The wild cards are Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. How Terry Collins manages playing time for both, and who he decides will start, could have a major effect on the Mets lineup.
Granderson, Chris Young, Eric Young Jr., and Lagares were all locks to make the team. And Andrew Brown could be a useful right-handed pinch-hitter with power. This group of outfielders is definitely an improvement from the past.
Starting Rotation: A-
Matsuzaka could have deserved the fifth spot a bit more than Mejia, but either choice would have been good nonetheless. Furthermore, with top prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero both likely to join the rotation by June or July, Mejia's time in the rotation will probably be limited to the first few months of the season, barring any significant injuries. Once Syndergaard and Montero arrive, Mejia will almost certainly get moved to the bullpen.
All of the bullpen selections are solid, if not very good. The X-factor here is John Lannan, who had been a starter throughout his career. How well he transitions to the bullpen could certainly have a big effect on the Mets' performance in late innings.