Mets young core could use some help from AAA veterans
By Tim Boyle
When the New York Mets made the 2015 postseason, they called in some youngsters to help out in the last few weeks. In 2019, the Mets may need Triple-A veterans to step up.
Back in 2015, we can credit a variety of New York Mets rookies and sophomores for lifting the team up over the rest of the National League. Michael Conforto, Steven Matz, and Noah Syndergaard all debuted in the big leagues that year. The 2015 campaign also happened to be the sophomore campaign for another rising star, Jacob deGrom.
Youth was on their side. Those four plus more were in the infancy of their MLB careers. It wasn’t always the case. Conforto, Matz, and Syndergaard all arrived after Opening Day. Conforto and Matz were late-season additions when the team needed some reinforcements. It’s not uncommon to see rookies contribute later in the year after a stint in the minor leagues.
The 2019 roster won’t have the same luxury of watching any star minor leaguer come up and help out. Pete Alonso has been with them all year long. Instead of turning to their up-and-comers, the Mets could use a little reverse assistance from the veterans down in Triple-A.
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In case you didn’t know, the Triple-A Syracuse Mets have some ex-big leaguers putting up some fat numbers. Notable former Mets include infielders Dilson Herrera and Ruben Tejada. Catcher Rene Rivera is also with the Triple-A squad, swatting home runs at a Crash Davis-like rate.
While I don’t think any of these guys would become game-changers, they could provide the team with some needed depth. The d-word, depth, is something we heard plenty about with this organization. It hasn’t been used too effectively. Only former role-player turned everyday option J.D. Davis has become a truly valuable weapon.
Following the Robinson Cano injury, the team has even more reason to dip into the minor leagues and call upon someone for help. Because Jeff McNeil can play just about anywhere, they have options. Along with Herrera and Tejada, the Mets could always give opportunities in the outfield to Gregor Blanco or Rajai Davis in the outfield. However, this may be less likely with Joe Panik on the roster.
About as grizzled of veterans as you can find in Triple-A, it’s guys like these we should view as this year’s assistants. Because they are near the end and not on the rise like Conforto back in 2015, expectations are far less. At best, they are reserve players who can keep the lineup productive late in games or when the Mets put one of their infamous Sunday lineups together.
The one spot they may not be able to find too much depth at is on the mound. We’ve seen them shuttle an army of pitchers back and forth from Syracuse this year. Few have shown much, if any, promise.
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If the Mets do anything this year, it’s going to take a roster of 25 men in August and 40 in September to make it happen. They have artillery. Now it’s about breaking down the walls of their NL Wild Card opponents and ensuring they’re the last ones left standing.