Week One of Grapefruit League play is in the books. Early on, the Mets catching situation looks to be benefiting from improvement. John Buck, Anthony Recker, and Travis d’Arnaud, have combined on nine hits in twenty seven at-bats, good for a .333 batting average. They have hit three home runs, and driven in a combined eight runs. Travis d’Arnaud leads the trio with five hits, while John Buck leads the unit with five RBI. Together, they are slugging at an .824% clip.
The Mets have no competition going on at the corners. David Wright and Ike Davis just need to ensure they get everything ironed out by Opening Day. Of course, David Wright is already off to join up with Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Before he left, David Wright managed four hits in twelve at-bats during parts of four games. At first base, Ike Davis has twelve at-bats in five games. He has two hits, one being a home run.
Mar 3, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets catcher John Buck (44) is late on tagging out Miami Marlins left fielder Chone Figgins (1) scores a run during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
At second base, Daniel Murphy is still out with an intercostal muscle strain. He is tentatively due back next week. Meanwhile, the battles to win back-up middle infield spots rage. At second base, Brian Bixler currently represents the best of the rest. In twelve at-bats, he has four hits and one home run. Reese Havens is hitless in seven at-bats. Justin Turner, the incumbent back-up second baseman, is hitting .308 on four hits in thirteen at-bats.
In nine at-bats, the Mets starting shortstop has two hits; one home run; and two RBI. Trying to win a spot behind Ruben Tejada, are Omar Quintanilla and Wilfredo Tovar, who are running neck and neck after the first quarter turn. Quintanilla has four hits; including two doubles; in eleven at-bats, with four runs scored. He also has two RBI. Wilfredo Tovar has three hits in eight at-bats. He also has two RBI. Someone I hoped would show some worth, Brandon Hicks, is off to a slow start. His only hit in twelve at-bats is a home run. Wilmer Flores, being given a test at shortstop, likewise has one hit in seven at-bats.
In the outfield, Collin Cowgill is certainly making people notice him, isn’t he? He has eight hits in sixteen at-bats, which includes three tenacious doubles and one home run. He has driven in three runs, and stolen two bases thus far. Jordany Valdespin is having arguably the second best start for outfielders so far. He has seven hits in seventeen at-bats, including one home run, and three RBI. Marlon Byrd has fast become a Terry Collins favorite. So far, the February free agent singing has five hits in thirteen plate appearances. At thirty-five years old, the veteran seems to have found quick favor with management. The player’s favorite however, remains Lucas Duda. He maintains many of his team mate’s respect. But he is struggling to get started. The Duda has three hits in thirteen at-bats. He has one home run, but already fanned seven times. Sunday afternoon, Kirk Nieuwenhuis sustained a knee injury sliding into second base. He was suffering through a brutal one for eighteen start at the plate, with seven strikeouts as well. Jamie Hoffman has been getting his fair share of at-bats, but has only produced two hits in fourteen at-bats, with five strikeouts. Fan favorite, Mike Baxter, is off to an equally sleepy start in Grapefruit League play.
On the hill, will the real Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia please stand up? It is okay to wonder about those two, but way too early to worry. They may have lost some of their luster from one year to the next, but they still rate among the higher quality arms in the organization. In Rising Apple’s Episode Nine Podcast, I expressed my ambivalence towards Greg Burke. So far, no walks and six strikeouts in four innings pitched speak well for him. Surrendering five hits and three earned runs does not. Jeremy Hefner, with 4.1 innings, and Elvin Ramirez, with 3.2 innings, are performing just a shade better. For the moment, Scott Atchison is the lead pitcher out of the bullpen. Together, Scott Atchison, Aaron Laffey, and Bobby Parnell have combined to pitch ten innings, while allowing no runs. They’ve allowed six hits, issued three walks, and struck out six. Josh Edgin has allowed five hits in three innings. Corey Mazzoni has five strikeouts in seven innings. Brandon Lyon only figured in 1.2 innings so far.
Pertaining to the starting rotation, Johan Santana has once again become the Mets top dilemma. Simply, he was reported to still not being strong enough to pitch. Sandy Alderson offered Johan may not climb a mound for another ten days. The general manager didn’t seem too pleased about the situation, or Johan’s level of preparedness. However, this news snippet by Adam Rubin seems to contradict everything. The runner-up story involving the rotation is the status of Zach Wheeler, who came down with a mid-week mild oblique strain. Shaun Marcum got knocked around in his only appearance so far. Matt Harvey has seven strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched.