Adam Rubin from ESPN New York has given his latest Mets roster projection, and you can see it here. There are no major surprises in Rubin’s projection, but a few items are worthy of comment.
First, Rubin opines that Eric Young, Jr. will be the starting left fielder and leadoff hitter. This will cause consternation among a faction of the faithful, as many believe that Young’s stolen base potential does not trump the defense of Juan Lagares (who would be a reserve outfielder in this configuration).
I think it will play out this way, as Terry Collins has never sounded sold on Lagares as an everyday player. Both he and Sandy Alderson have repeatedly said that Lagares will have to produce offensively in order to start.
Rubin also has one left-hander in the bullpen, Scott Rice. This is concerning, as the NL East is loaded with left-handed hitters, and Terry Collins could easily be in a tough spot with when and where to use Rice. The Braves alone have Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman.
Collins may need Rice against one or both of those hitters in the sixth inning, and then not have a lefty available for the seventh or eighth innings. Rubin points out that neither Jack Leathersich nor Josh Edgin has impressed thus far, which is true. However, I’d like to see both of them get additional opportunities this spring, as going with one lefty may not be tenable.
For reserve outfielders, Rubin projects Andrew Brown and Lagares. This gives the Mets a heavily right-handed bench. In addition to Brown and Lagares, the Mets would have right-handed Josh Satin and Anthony Recker, along with the switch-hitting Anthony Seratelli. Either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda would be the only lefty on the bench, when not starting.
It’s early, there’s no question about that. But going with Rubin’s roster, the Mets appear weak (or imbalanced) in the bullpen. The bench is also somewhat suspect. However, the foundation of a good team is starting pitching, and even without Matt Harvey, the Mets are strong and deep there. There may be trades (Rubin jokes about penciling in Nick Franklin) or signings, so now isn’t the time to worry. But it’s interesting to take an early look at how the 2014 Mets may look on March 31st.