The New York Mets have their work cut out for them in 2019 in a much tougher National League East. Where do their players rank at each position and who is the cream of the crop in the division?
The National League East has seen a plethora of talent enter the division during the 2018 offseason. With names like Jean Segura and Edwin Diaz (thanks Seattle) switching leagues, nearly every NL East team has made upgrades this offseason. Fortunately, the New York Mets are included in this group.
While some of this includes players shuffling around the division (such as Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto), the NL East has still upgraded and will be one of the most competitive divisions in baseball as four teams could potentially win the division. Sorry Miami Marlins; the rebuild is far from complete.
This slideshow will break down every team at each position around the diamond and rank the number one team based upon their strength at each position. Versatility and depth at the major and minor league levels played a large role in determining the position rankings. New acquisitions shifted the rankings drastically and the strongest team’s starter (at their position) was a new player more often than not. Without further ado, here are the rankings at each position.
And yes, there is a final 25 man roster at the end.
C: Philadelphia Phillies, Starter: J.T. Realmuto
Catcher is by far the scarcest position in baseball. There was only one 4 win catcher during the 2018 season; that player was J.T. Realmuto.
Realmuto is the consensus for the best catcher in Major League Baseball. After a 2018 season where he earned his first All-Star berth with the Miami Marlins, the Marlins flipped him to the division-rival Phillies for a trio of prospects: Sixto Sanchez, Jorge Alfaro, and Will Stewart. Alfaro will enter the 2019 season as the Marlins starting catcher. Alfaro projects to be a league average bat with a powerful arm behind the dish and 25-30 home run pop. Alfaro is still only 25 and is an unknown at this point in his career.
Realmuto, on the other hand, will help the revamped Phillies chase a 2019 World Series; he is the most well-rounded catchers in the league. In addition to his glove and power in the middle of the new Phillies lineup, Realmuto is a very good base runner with above average speed for a catcher.
The Phillies aren’t the only NL East team to upgrade at catcher. Travis d’Arnaud hasn’t lived up to the hype and former first-round pick Kevin Plawecki has been far from spectacular. Mets catchers ranked 24th in slugging percentage and 29th in dWar during the 2018 season. The signing of Wilson Ramos gives the Mets their most formidable catcher since the days of Paul Lo Duca and instantly puts the Mets in the top 10 at the catching position.
The Mets will gladly take his occasionally below average defense behind the plate to go along with his impact bat in the middle of the order. Travis d’Arnaud currently looks to be the backup catcher assuming he is healthy.
The Nationals re-signed their own slugger Kurt Suzuki. Suzuki doesn’t have the strongest throwing arm, gunning down only 19% of base stealers. He still managed to hit .270 which should not be taken lightly in this razor-thin catching market.
Tyler Flowers and Brian McCann and Tyler Flowers will likely split time at the catching position for the Braves in 2019. Expect the Braves to seek an upgrade behind the plate if they are still in contention come July.