Brett Baty continues to roll, Carlos Carrasco's has up and down spring debut, and its make or break time for a Mets reliever
Baty had two hits and upped his RBI total to four on the spring
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
The Mets fell to the Braves 6-2 at Clover Park yesterday afternoon (Box)
Brett Baty had two hits and drove in his fourth run of the spring
Carlos Carrasco went the first two innings and allowed two runs including a homer
Ronny Mauricio replaced Francisco Lindor at shortstop and did NOT homer in his only at-bat
Eduardo Escobar got a few defensive innings in left field, and Mark Canha shifted to right field to accommodate Escobar
David Wright, Darryl Strawberry and Edgardo Alfonzo have arrived in Port St. Lucie as guest instructors
Mets games so far this spring have averaged two hours and 41 minutes of playing time.
Today’s Game 🦩
Game 8️⃣ of 3️⃣0️⃣
Match-up: Nationals vs. Mets
Where: Clover Park — Port St. Lucie, FL
Starters: RHP Max Scherzer vs. RHP Trevor Williams
When: 1:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
It’s now or never for Stephen Nogosek ✍🏻
Righty Stephen Nogosek’s name has been included on virtually every Mets’ opening day roster prediction, due as much as anything else to the fact that he’s out of minor league options.
The 28-year-old came to the Mets midway through the 2017 season, when New York consciously traded away their useful veterans to stockpile power bullpen arms hoping to hit on a couple of them.
Drew Smith came to Queens from the Rays in exchange for Lucas Duda that week, and has widely been considered the only reliever the Mets hit on, although Smith has yet to put it together over a full season himself.
But could Nogosek change that narrative in 2023?
The University of Oregon alum was Boston’s sixth round pick in 2016 and pitched well in his year and a half in the Red Sox’ system. Needing a high leverage arm to join their bullpen down the stretch in 2017, Boston identified the Mets’ Addison Reed as the guy they wanted and shipped Nogosek south as part of the package to acquire him.
And to date, it’s fair to say his New York tenure has been checkered.
Nogosek struggled with the Single-A St. Lucie Mets following the trade in 2017, and in 2018 he pitched to a 4.99 ERA between St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton.
He appeared to rebound the following season, pitching to a 0.95 ERA with Binghamton in 11 outings and earning a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse where he was nearly just as good. In 24 games there, Nogosek put up a 1.15 ERA with a 0.80 WHIP, and he ultimately forced the Mets hand and earned his first big league promotion that summer.
Unfortunately, the eight earned runs he surrendered in 6.2 Major League innings acted as a frustrating wet blanket to extinguish the momentum he had built in the minor leagues.
Then came COVID, which wiped out the entire minor league season in 2020, and in 2021 Nogosek pitched poorly in the minor leagues and gave up two runs in three innings in his only appearance with the Mets.
This time last year, Nogosek had become little more than an afterthought in the Mets’ relief equation. But to his credit, he did everything in his power to change that perception.
In 31 minor league games, the mustached hurler pitched to the tune of a 2.30 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP, and soon found himself heading back and forth between Syracuse and New York every time the Mets needed to make a bullpen move.
New York did not use him in high leverage situations, and he often found himself pitching mop up or long relief innings in the Majors. But despite not having a critical role, Nogosek did catch the attention of New York’s brass.
In 12 games for the Mets he finished with a 2.45 ERA in 22 innings, while striking out 21 hitters and holding opponents to a .230 batting average.
Which brings us to this year.
As has been widely reported, the Mets are excited about their top five in the bullpen. Some combination of Edwin Díaz, David Robertson, Adam Ottavino, Brooks Raley, and Drew Smith are going to be the ones on the mound in late and close games nearly every night. But sixth on the team’s bullpen depth chart could be Nogosek, who should get a solid opportunity to pitch regularly in the middle innings early in 2023.
The Mets do have an abundance of excess arms in camp that will make up a pretty formidable Triple-A bullpen, and provide the team with a plethora of alternatives should the back part of their relief corps struggle. So while Nogosek’s rope may not be very long, it is obvious the next several weeks represent the best Major League opportunity of his career.
Having some sense of control over his own destiny has to be refreshing, and now all that’s left for him to do is make it impossible for the team to go in another direction.
Around the League 🚩
Top Yankees prospect Anthony Volpe crushed his first home run of the spring (Video)
Twins outfielder Gilberto Celestino is going to miss the next 6-8 weeks after having thumb surgery (MLB.com)
The Yankees are still looking to add external catching depth (Newsday)
The Padres could now turn to an extension for star reliever Josh Hader (New York Post)
The Cubs have considered adding Mike Minor, Brad Hand or Will Smith (Athletic)