New York Mets: The 5 Most Disappointing Players in Spring Training So Far
So far, there are mostly positives to take away from New York Mets camp.
From Yoenis Cespedes to Curtis Granderson to Lucas Duda to Neil Walker to Asdrubal Cabrera to Travis d'Arnaud and Michael Conforto, their big bats are producing. On the mound, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Robert Gsellman have been just fine.
However, it hasn't all been sunshine and rainbows.
There are disappointments to talk about as well, and examining them happens to be the goal for here and now. While most Mets players are doing well, let's run through five who haven't inspired confidence this spring.
Jerry Blevins, LHP
With Jeurys Familia facing a possible suspension and several spots still up for grabs, the Mets are steaming ahead toward the regular season with few solid pieces in their bullpen.
Jerry Blevins is supposed to be one of those pieces. But you'd never know it from looking at his spring stats.
The veteran left-hander has pitched in five games and has been touched up for six hits and four earned runs. That's a 6.75 ERA, quite a departure from the 2.73 ERA he posted in 73 appearances last season.
The first catch is that Blevins has struck out six batters while walking only one. So he's doing just fine with the things that he has control over.
The other is that it's right-handed batters who have done the big damage against him. He's given up home runs to Neftali Soto and Allen Craig. Not ideal, to be sure, but Blevins' 2016 usage suggests he'll be used primarily against left-handers once the games start to count.
So while it's a bad look at a time when the Mets bullpen has questions looming over it, Blevins' bad spring is more of a minor annoyance than a serious concern. It's not like what's happening with...
Addison Reed, RHP
Familia's possible suspension has the biggest implications for Addison Reed, who stands to take over the ninth inning.
But first, the right-hander needs to get himself out of whack and back into not-whack.
Reed has appeared in six games and has been lit up for nine runs on 12 hits (including two homers). The worst of it came in a six-run shellacking on March 10.
This is way out of character for a guy who's posted a 1.84 ERA in 97 appearances since joining the Mets late in 2015. The bright side, such as it is, is that the Mets think a mere mechanical flaw is to blame.
"He was leaking out toward first base," Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said last weekend, according to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. "He fixed it this morning. Not an issue."
Reed responded with a scoreless inning against the Houston Astros on Tuesday in which he punched out two of the three batters he faced. That'll do for a sign that his troubles may be over.
For now, though, it's only a sign. The Mets can't rest too easy until they have proof.
Wilmer Flores, INF
One of the biggest disappointments anywhere this spring is David Wright's body betraying him again. Like in 2015 and 2016, he may not be seen much at third base in 2017.
The task of filling in for Wright will fall first to Jose Reyes and then to Wilmer Flores. The former is currently starring for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. The latter is struggling to find his stroke.
Flores has logged 31 at-bats in 12 games and has hit just .194 with a .555 OPS. This is a disappointing encore to the career-high .788 OPS and career-high-tying 16 homers he had in 2016.
Of course, there are some caveats at play. As Mike Puma covered at the New York Post, the Mets are mainly interested in working out Flores' versatility this spring. He's getting work around the infield and, after he mainly crushed lefties in 2016, getting at-bats against right-handers.
"Wilmer is going to face righties any time because you just never know when you are going to need them to face those guys when the season starts," said manager Terry Collins.
As such, this is another bad spring that falls more on the minor inconvenience side of things.
Juan Lagares, OF
Struggling even more than Flores, meanwhile, is Juan Lagares.
Lagares has played in 10 games and collected just five hits in 27 at-bats. All five hits have been singles. He's not pulling out of the offensive slump he's been in since 2015.
He does have a solid excuse for his spring slump, though. As Puma reported, Mets hitting coach Kevin Long has Lagares experimenting with a batting stance that's closer to home plate.
It could also be seen as a good thing that Lagares has struggled. Had he caught fire, an already complicated outfield depth chart would have become more complicated. As things stand now, his likely role is still as a late-inning defensive replacement for Curtis Granderson.
But considering that the Mets have a bit of money ($23.03 million, to be exact) invested in Lagares, it probably hasn't gotten any easier for them to watch his star fade in real time.
He looked like a budding star when he won a Gold Glove and hit well back in 2014. To see a guy like that crumble into a mere defensive replacement isn't fun for anyone.
Matt Harvey, SP
With Matt Harvey's return from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, all anyone could do was hope for the best.
The best isn't what he's delivered.
Harvey's third start of the spring on Wednesday was about as uninspiring as the first two. He allowed four runs (only two earned, but he hurt himself with a pair of errors) on five hits and a walk in 3.1 innings. He now has a 7.88 ERA this spring.
The numbers would be easier to live with if the right-hander at least looked like his vintage self. However, that's not panning out either.
Reports from Harvey's first two starts had him sitting around 92 miles per hour with his fastball. Per James Wagner of the New York Times, Harvey was right there again in the first inning on Wednesday before dropping to 90-92 mph in the second inning.
For perspective, Harvey averaged 95.9 mph on his fastball in 2015. He could gain velocity as he regains arm strength, but that's likely to take some time. According to Marc Carig of Newsday, Warthen expects Harvey's current velocity to be his new normal for now.
Given the seriousness of the surgery Harvey had, this isn't entirely unexpected. Yet actually watching it happen is still a letdown.