The Mets home opener is finally here, and an additional call for a youth movement with the Mets
An important lesson the Mets can learn from what happened in Milwaukee this week
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets home opener on Thursday was postponed until today—though it never did rain until well after the game would’ve been completed (or at all in most places)
New York will reportedly call up top prospect Francisco Alvarez to replace Omar Narvaez on the active roster (story)
New York announced that they will wear a New York Presbyterian patch on their uniforms after reaching a new deal with the hospital. Every baby born at NYP will be given a new Mets onesie (picture)
The pitch clock is impacting the Mets veteran starters, but Max Scherzer said that is no excuse for how he has performed in his first two starts (New York Post)
Injury Updates 🏥
The Mets announced that catcher Omar Narváez underwent imaging Thursday that revealed a medium to high grade strain of his left calf. Estimated recovery time is 8-9 weeks
Roster Moves 📰
C Omar Narvaez has been placed on the injured list with a strained calf
C Francisco Álvarez recalled from Triple-A Syracuse
RHP Sam Coonrod transferred to the 60-day injured list
RHP Edwin Uceta claimed off waivers from the Pirates, optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets vs. Marlins
Where: Citi Field - Flushing, NY
Starters: RHP Tylor Megill vs. RHP Edward Cabrera
When: 1:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
What the Mets can learn from the Brewers ✍🏻
I promise I was going to write this even before the news of Francisco Alvarez’s promotion began to leak.
Anyone watching the Mets play the Brewers this week could have easily picked up on the stark difference in energy and excitement between the two dugouts. And the biggest reason for that is the polar opposite stances the two teams took with their top prospects at the end of spring training.
Milwaukee’s first round pick in the 2020 season—UCLA product Garrett Mitchell—reached the big leagues late last season and impressed in spurts. But he didn’t necessarily leave the Brew Crew with no choice but to hand him the center field job to begin 2023. But that’s exactly what the team did, and Mitchell has rewarded them with a dominant first week of the season and just crushed three homers including a walk-off winner in the series against our Metsies.
To Mitchell’s left, the team certainly did not have to take young Joey Wiemer north when they left Arizona. The club had traded for Jesse Winker who could have easily handled playing right field every day, and veteran right-handed slugger Luke Voit could have become the Brewers’ everyday designated hitter.
Instead, after Wiemer, the team’s third ranked prospect, had a terrific spring training, Milwaukee made the decision to insert him into right field, make Winker its DH, and relegate Voit to a bench role.
Then there’s second base, where Milwaukee’s projected second baseman, Luis Urias, opened the season on the injured list. The Brewers had veteran options Keston Hiura and Abraham Toro in camp and could easily have turned to one of them. But again, they were comfortable promoting another one of their top minor leaguers, in this case young Brice Turang—their fourth ranked prospect, and we all witnessed this week how dynamic he can be.
In short, Milwaukee’s three rookies are all producing at a high level and have been integral pieces in the Brewers hot start to 2023. They’ve provided a youthful energy, electricity, and so far anyway, have made the team immediately better too.
To be totally frank, there is no good reason why the Mets are not enjoying the same excitement that comes with an infusion of youth.
First, literally anyone following this team during spring training could have told you who the Mets best third baseman is.
His name is Brett Baty, the Mets number two prospect and the guy the club envisions being their first long term answer at the hot corner since David Wright. Baty had a huge spring and has not stopped hitting in Triple-A - he’s hitting .400/.471/.867 start and has already had a multiple home run game for Syracuse. He did strain his surgically repaired thumb earlier this week, however.
Meanwhile, in the Major Leagues Eduardo Escobar has just two hits in twenty at-bats to begin the year and has already been benched when the opposition started a lefty twice in favor of Luis Guillorme.
The Mets have done nearly everything right since Steve Cohen took over—save for the Darin Ruf atrocity—but watching Escobar struggle mightily night after night (and now seemingly play less and less) while Baty lights up the highest level of the minor leagues borders on gross negligence. Giving the lesser player the starting job just because he’s the incumbent stands out as just making the easiest decision that won’t rock the boat, and again, look no further than the last three days to see an example of the opposite angle to take.
Then there’s Mark Vientos, who briefly appeared for the Mets late last season and like Baty had a monster spring training. Again, like Baty, he’s had no issue carrying that over into the start of the minor league season. In six Triple-A games the right-handed swinger is hitting .364 with a pair of homers, and just went 3-for-3 with a bomb and two RBI yesterday. In addition, Vientos is right-handed, and the Mets really, really, REALLY need a right-handed bat (yes, I know Álvarez is now here, but he isn’t even starting where he should be starting during the Mets home opener today!).
The Mets did sign Tommy Pham late in the off-season and he’s actually gotten off to a decent start. But, if New York had chosen to be aggressive with their top prospects there’s no real reason Pham couldn’t have been let go (or signed at all) with Vientos sliding into the right-handed half of the DH platoon at a minimum.
Taking it a step further, what exactly has Daniel Vogelbach contributed? Vientos could’ve become the everyday DH, period.
How about Ronny Mauricio?
The switch-hitter became a folk hero with his incredible spring, and has continued to rake in Syracuse. Mauricio has blasted three homers over the last two days and is hitting .365. His biggest roadblock to reaching the Majors is his position, as Francisco Lindor has him firmly blocked from playing shortstop in Queens. Because of that, I don’t have the same frustration with him not being in the big leagues as I do in the cases of Baty and Vientos. But I will say….why is he not at least being exposed to other positions? His bat is proving to be big league ready. Why are the Mets not trying to prepare him to play second base or left field knowing that Jeff McNeil could either remain at second or slide out on the grass?
Finally there’s Alvarez, who I realize we will see this afternoon, at least in the dugout. The 21-year-old backstop is one of the very best prospects in the entire sport and you’d be hard pressed to find a scout that doesn’t feel he’ll blossom into a star. But the Mets plan was clearly not to have him up this early. We heard all spring training how the club wanted to get him more experience behind the plate in the minor leagues and that was the primary reason they decided to bring Narvaez in to begin with. It’s at least encouraging that when one of their two catchers had to go on the injured list Alvarez got the call over someone like Michael Perez, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that he could already have been up to begin with.
In the end, I really hope the Mets watched what happened at American Family Field this week and at the very least had some internal discussions about rethinking their stance on how to handle their talented young crop of prospects.
And if Alvarez can get off to a hot start we can only hope that might influence the team’s decision makers to bring Baty and/or Vientos up in the near future.
There is simply no substitute for the type of energy and life young homegrown prospects can inject into a team and a fanbase. The Brewers are capitalizing on it as we speak. For whatever reason, the Mets are reluctant to try.
Around the League 🚩
Ex Mets Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, and Wilmer Flores all homered for the Giants in their 16-6 drubbing of the White Sox
Kyle Freeland shut out the Nationals over 6.2 innings in a game Colorado ultimately won 1-0
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio both homered as the Blue Jays completed a series win in Kansas City
Adam Duvall hit a tiebreaking three run homer that proved to be the difference in the Red Sox 6-3 win over the Tigers
The Mets weren’t the only team whose Thursday game was postponed as contests in Philly, Minnesota, and Baltimore were also rescheduled
Great article, right in about all. And totally agree about Mauricio….find him a spot to play in AAA, that’s not SS. Bright future for these kids, if you just utilize the talent that staring you in the face!
Excellent case made for bringing in the youth. Thank you!