3 hot Mets spring training performances we should buy as the real deal

Not every spring training performance should be taken with just a 'grain of salt'.
Mar 10, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA;  New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez (4) picks up a
Mar 10, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez (4) picks up a / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Nate Lavender

The most intriguing aspect of spring training is having a chance to watch the future in action right on our television screens. With Steve Cohen's recent pivot to focus more on the farm system, Mets fans have been glued to the prospect rankings. For the most part, none of the younger talent particularly impressed, though most of the upper-tier were reassigned to minor league camp earlier than we would have liked.

However, the one prospect with a 2024 ETA that left an inspiring impression was left-handed relief pitcher Nate Lavender. Since being selected in the 14th round of the 2021 draft, the 24-year-old has dominated every level of the minor leagues. Splitting time between AA and AAA last season, Lavender pitched to a 2.98 ERA through 54.1 innings with 86 strikeouts.

Though the University of Illinois product pitched just 3 innings this spring, he made the most of every opportunity. Lavender struck out 7 of the 9 batters he faced, allowing none of them to reach base. Furthermore, the Mets will enter Opening Day with an open-ended bullpen since most pitchers are signed to just one-year contracts. Given the circumstances, Lavender's marquee impression this spring should grant him every opportunity to earn an early season promotion in 2024.

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