Let’s jump straight into this, shall we.
Note – Corne, Andrew, and David were all awesome enough to had answer these questions in advance, well before the acquisitions of Avilan and Justin Wilson.
– Who will be the second lefty behind Justin Wilson on the Mets opening day roster?
David: Right now, it looks like either Zamora or newly acquired Hector Santiago will be on the opening day roster. I doubt that the Mets leave it as is. Daniel Zamora was fine in his handful of games, but the Mets can’t expect him to be the only lefty. I would like to think that Brodie will get another lefty before opening day. **
Andrew: Luis Avilan is my top choice. He’s coming off a good season with the White Sox and Phillies. Despite signing a minor league deal with the Mets (round of applause for Brodie) I think it’s very likely he’ll be on the opening day roster. **
Gem: I like Zamora, a lot. I do have expectations set but that never stopped disappointment from creeping on by. Luis Avilan is a solid acquisition with an impressive resumé and history in the N.L. East. If the Mets start the season off with two catchers (No sense in three so early on in the season), it may be wise to expend the roster spot with a third lefty.
Corne: I’m going with Luis Avilan. Avilan is still a free agent and definitely not the biggest name from the left side out there. Sure my preference is Sipp or Cedeno, but think BVW waits out the market and gets Avilan for low cost, something I don’t mind him doing. Biggest asset for Avilan is his succes against lefties. Lefty hitters had a OPS of just .646 against him in 2018. Over his career that mark is even lower with a .581 OPS. He will be a solid option for the Mets pen. **
– Will the Mets carry three catchers with the injury concerns for TdA and Ramos?
David: Doubtful. Teams rarely do this. The Mets will go with someone like Nido if TDA isn’t ready. To have TDA on the roster but not play him is a waste of space. The team plan should be that Ramos plays two of three games with TDA getting the rest.
Gem: I believe there’ll be a handful of stretches where the team will be carrying a third catcher, it’s a long season and both of our backstops have a rough injury history. I think the Mets will sign a defensively strong veteran catcher that they know will clear waivers throughout the season.
Andrew: I think the Mets will start the season with just Ramos and d’Arnaud on the opening day roster but I think they could sign a veteran catcher to a minor league deal and have him as insurance along with Nido down in Triple A Syracuse. Perhaps a reunion with Rene Rivera?
Corne: No. There is no need to carry three catchers when you have a back up with options. Also see the Mets signing a milb catcher as a fall back option as well. If TdA isn’t traded there won’t be another catcher signed on a MLB deal.
– Who will be the fifth starter for the Mets opening day?
David: Let’s be specific. Barring injury the first four will be deGrom, Thor, Wheeler and Matz. A fifth starter often isn’t needed until mid-April. At that point I am still going with Vargas. Going back to the first question, if the Mets don’t get a lefty, there is a possibility that Vargas become the reliever and Lugo joins the rotation.
Gem: We know BVW would probably like to clear out some Sandy’s signings and I don’t see why he would want to hang onto Vargas, however I don’t exactly see him being dealt or dropped with his hefty contract. I think the Mets will opt to go with Vargas, but when the Mets face a team that’s hit LHP’s hard, they’ll squeeze Lugo in to start in those series.
Andrew: I believe Jason Vargas will be the 5th man in the rotation to begin the season. He pitched well in August and September but I can see him being on a short leash for this upcoming season.
Corne: Derek Holland. Had to go with him right? Well I definitely had my eye on Holland all off-season. The lefty is coming of a terific season were he pitched to a 3.57 ERA and a 3.87 FIP over 171.1 innings for the Giants. After this stellar season he might want to get a MLB deal to sign, I’m willing to give him that deal and move Vargas to the pen as long man.
– Who has the biggest change to have a break out season. JD Davis or Broxton? And why?
David: Broxton. The saber guys love him. If you look at exit velocity, BABIP and hard-hit rate, he has been significantly above average in the past. If Broxton can stop whiffing so much, he has all star potential.
Gem: J.D. Davis might try and take a interesting route by being a two way player in 2019, however Broxton looks like he has all of the tools to be a really good player. It’ll probably take a bit of time to get Davis used facing professional batters as a pitcher so I see Broxton with an easy edge.
Andrew: J.D. Davis is a guy who’s really intriguing to me. Plays both corner infield position and has played LF in his short time as a big leaguer. Put up fantastic numbers in Triple A last year and I believe he’ll get a good amount of playing time with the Mets.
Corne: JD Davis. The guy has been a hitting machine for the Astros in the minors. He is still just 24 and didn’t have a true change to show himself in an Astros uniform. The guy owns a .884 minor league career OPS. I don’t really put any notice in his MLB numbers, just because he didn’t really got his change. This could be a huge part of the Mets now, and in the near future.
– Which position will McNeil get the most playing time in 2019?
David: Third base. Unless Cano gets hurt, McNeil has no other place. Also, I don’t think Frazier will get better with age. That is why I see McNeil getting most starts at third in 2019. In McNeil played quite a bit of third in the minors.
Gem: Yikes! It’s being said the Mets will use McNeil in outfield more than initially anticipated and with the team just inking Jed Lowrie to a two year pact, I barely see him getting any time in the infield. We’ll see if the Mets will find any takers on Frazier’s contract, then it’ll be a different story.
Andrew: With the signing of Jed Lowrie I would expect McNeil to play a lot in the outfield. He’s definitely athletic enough to play both corner outfield positions. It may not be the best defensive outfield but you can easily shift Conforto or Nimmo to centerfielder.
Corne: LF. This might surprice you but I see McNeil getting most playing time in the OF. Might see Nimmo in CF (were he isn’t that good) and see Broxton/Lagares as late inning defenders. Not saying it will be the every day OF but guessing thats the spot McNeil will play most of the time. All together I see him moving around a whole lot on the baseball field.
– Will Alonso be up before or after the 11th of April?
David: I don’t know what Brodie will do. If I were GM, I would wait. The dozen games at the start of this season aren’t worth a whole season of team control. If you think Alonso is that good, patience is advised. If he is a bust, an early callup likely won’t matter.
Gem: Financially, it just makes so much more sense to wait it out till mid April. I’d love to see him start it from Opening Day but I don’t see that being realistic. However, it doesn’t anger me as much as it seems to be to others.
Andrew: Peter Alonso will be up after the first 12 games of the season. This is just like the Kris Bryant situation for the Cubs where they wanted that extra year of the player which I think is a smart move for the Mets. I think the Mets can survive the first 12 games of the year with either Davis or even McNeil playing first base.
Corne: After. There is no reason to lose a service year for just 6 days. Frazier/McNeil can fill that easily in those 6 days.