Three weaks into spring training and there are still tons of questions for the New York Mets. The rumblings around the seemingly impending release of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo continue, despite no word from management one way or the other.
The reclamation projects of Chris Young and Chris Capuano continue to pitch well, and the Mets hope to have at least a serviceable starting rotation for this season.
The guys expected to be regulars aren't hitting, and the bench players and guys with no chance to make the team are raking.
Does anyone else notice anything wrong with that?
Here's some stats to throw out there:
Jose Reyes: .200 BA 1 SB
Angel Pagan: .222 BA 1 HR 2 RBI 1 SB
David Wright: 0-for-12 0 HR 2 RBI
Carlos Beltran: 1-for-3, run
Jason Bay: .467 BA 0 HR 1 RBI
Ike Davis: .214 BA 1 HR 3 RBI
Jose Thole: .235 BA, run
*all stats include today's games.
That's the Mets' batting order, minus the winner of the second base competition, who would most likely bat ahead of Thole. As far as that competition goes, Daniel Murphy collected two doubles today against the Nationals, and is currently batting .400 with four RBI. Both Castillo and Brad Emaus are batting under .200.
The every day players just aren't hitting right now. Yes, it's just spring training and I know there isn't any correlation between performance in the spring and the regular season, so this lack of hitting will change—especially the lack of home runs.
Out of the starting lineup, the Mets have just two home runs—one from Pagan and the other from Davis. That's nice to see, as the Mets need Pagan to repeat his 2010 success and Davis to avoid the sophomore slump in order to contend this season, but you'd like to see some power from guys like Wright and Bay.
To compound the frustration, the guys who'll be riding the bench this season or in the minors to start 2011 are playing very well.
Out of the possible bench players, Scott Hairston is batting .411, Nick Evans is batting .346, and Chin-Lung Hu is hitting .285 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Evans is out of minor league options so the Mets would have to expose him to waivers if they don't add him to the 25-man roster out of camp. Able to play multiple positions in both the outfield and infield, Evans would probably be claimed, and the Mets would lose a very talented hitter.
As for the guys who probably won't break camp with the Mets, Lucas Duda, Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada are all playing well. Duda is batting .320 with a home run and two RBI. Martinez has one home run, four RBI, and a run scored to go along with his .368 batting average.
If Carlos Beltran lands on the DL at all this season, Martinez is probably the first call the Mets make to replace him.
Tejada—who could be in the mix for second base, but will spend 2011 with Triple-A Buffalo at shortstop—is batting .357 with three RBI.
Despite their impressive springs, Duda, Martinez and Tejada will all be in the minors when the regular season begins. It gives hope for the future as the Mets' financial state gets worse and worse.
Most Mets fans know that the farm system isn't as barren as most make it out to be, and now we're seeing some of the fruit. If general manager Sandy Alderson sticks to his plan to go over slot to sign the better free agents—something the Mets haven't done for many years—the farm system should improve in upcoming years.
But for now, the Mets actually have a fairly clear idea of what this roster is going to look like. The lineup is almost set, save for the second baseman, and the bench is fairly put together as well. We can get an idea of what kind of production we'll see in 2011, but if it's anything like what we've been seeing in the last few weeks, there's reason to worry.
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