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8 Observations From Mets Spring Training

March 06, 2019 - 7:22 pm
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By Brad Heller

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (WCBS 880) — Michael Conforto hoped to go the beach if the weather cooperated. Jacob deGrom made the 2 hour drive home to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. Wednesday was the Mets first full day off since Spring Training began.

With that, here are eight observations as we sit three weeks from Opening Day in Washington.

The deGrom Deadline

The Mets have announced new roles for John Franco, Al Leiter, and Jessica Mendoza this week, but still nothing yet on a contract extension for the reigning Cy Young Award winner. DeGrom’s camp set the deadline for Opening Day and hinted at a possible innings limit without a deal. But the 30-year-old isn’t letting that affect his preparation. He has given up just 1 run and 3 hits in 4 innings so far. He’ll make his third start on Thursday against the Nationals in West Palm Beach.

Starters up to Speed

Like deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler have already hit the upper 90’s on the radar gun, but with shaky results. Syndergaard walked 5 in his last start and said he was “really out of whack.” Wheeler said he needs more reps after giving up 4 hits and 2 walks on Sunday.  Meanwhile, Steven Matz allowed 5 hits and 4 runs on Monday but attributed that to working through his curveball. “Honestly, I just wanted to keep going back to it because I didn’t like the way I was not commanding it. That’s part of spring training. You’ve gotta use that stuff now even if you don’t have it.”

Brodie’s Presence

General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen continues to be omnipresent; chatting up players, media, and fans alike. There’s always a bounce in his step and a smile on his face. He’s proud of the additions that he’s made to the roster and the front office. Bryce Harper’s record deal with the Phillies has not dented his confidence one bit. “I believe that we can beat any team, any time. No player signing is going to change that mindset.”

Infield Injuries

First it was Jed Lowrie’s knee, and then Todd Frazier’s oblique. Manager Mickey Callaway says both are still day-to-day. But it’s no guarantee that they’ll be ready for Opening Day. Then Amed Rosario was hit by a pitch on the outside of his left hand on Monday. X-rays were negative though, and he’s just dealing with some soreness. Rosario is off to a fast start with 6 hits in 13 at-bats.

First Base Duel

Frazier’s injury has opened the door for Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso. Both are trying to bulldoze their way through it. Smith is batting .500 so far with 6 RBI’s and a team-high 10 hits. While Alonzo is hitting .412 with 2 home runs and 2 doubles, numbers that could outweigh any service time considerations. Callaway believes that the competition is bringing out the best in both. “You come to the field every day, do everything to control yourself, but you’re aware of what’s going on in camp around you. I’m sure they’re aware, but it looks like to me they’re focusing on what they have to do, and they’re getting the job done.”

Catch 2 or 3

Wilson Ramos is entrenched as the starting catcher. Travis d’Arnaud is competing with Devin Mesoraco for the backup spot. But keeping three catchers is a possibility. The team will learn more once d’Arnaud catches in a game for the first time since last April’s Tommy John surgery. “It’s the last (step) until I’m ready. So I’m looking forward to it and ready for the challenge.” Callaway says d’Arnaud will get behind the plate for a few innings in a “B” game on Thursday. He has 3 hits in 6 at-bats as the DH.

Nimmo’s Viral Spring

Brandon Nimmo’s undercooked chicken story went viral, even if it was an actual virus that cost him 6 pounds and about a week of game action. (He still received 2 digital meat thermometers and heard from personal chefs.) Nimmo served as the DH on Monday and Tuesday, but still hasn’t played the outfield yet because of a sore shoulder. “If this was years past, I probably would be feeling really stressed out right now, that I need to make an impression. Having last year under my belt helps with this situation a little bit. I think that I’m in a good spot right now. I just need to keep moving forward from here.”  

Un-Amazin’ Defense

I know it’s only Spring Training, and most of the culprits won’t be on the Opening Day roster, but the Mets lead the majors with 24 errors. In just 13 games! The next closest team is the Dodgers with 16. Callaway said, “I don’t care who you are. If you come up here and you’re playing in a game, we expect the best out there. We’ll work, we’ll address it and try to clean that up.”