1 Mets player who will see a lot more action than expected

There may not be too many games without him.
Jul 12, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Batting gloves belonging to New York Mets right fielder Marlon
Jul 12, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Batting gloves belonging to New York Mets right fielder Marlon / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not always a good thing when a part-time player levels up and takes on a more significant role. Usually it’s due to injury or a bad performance. In some cases, it’s because the player has stepped up in an incredible fashion. The New York Mets saw Tommy Pham accomplish this just last year. Originally thought of as the left-handed counterpart for Daniel Vogelbach, he won starts away from Mark Canha and was regularly in the outfield rotation.

Another outfielder will see himself in a similar spot this coming year. Although very unlikely to exactly replicate Pham's spot ’n the team, Tyrone Taylor is someone who will end up playing much more than expected.

Get ready for lots of Tyrone Taylor in 2024

Taylor doesn’t have the kind of numbers needed to play every day. Through his first 972 plate appearances in the majors, he’s a .239/.294/.451 hitter. A below-average eye with a below-average walk rate, he has been about on-par with the rest of the league in terms of strikeouts. Some underrated power with a career average of a home run in 4.2% of his plate appearances (Francisco Lindor was at 4.5% last year as an example), Taylor will have an opportunity to seize more playing time and he’ll get it.

Taylor’s splits have favored him against lefties slightly, but a good balance in his major league career should make him an option for the Mets regardless of the arm the pitcher throws with. Likely to finish off games regularly in right field if Starling Marte’s defense remains an issue, Taylor should even be able to bump Harrison Bader out of starts if the center fielder isn’t performing.

The health of the outfield is questionable on this team. It’s amazing that we’ve gotten to the point where Brandon Nimmo is the one whose durability we question the least. Taylor has actually played more innings as a center fielder than either of the two other outfield positions. Yielding positive results and owning an errorless streak we’d all love to see continue into 2024, he could just as easily replicate what Bader does at the plate while keeping up with him in the field.

In fact, Taylor has the better career OPS+ at 102 versus Bader at 92. His OPS of .746 is superior to the .706 Bader has produced. Bader has finished the last two seasons at .650 and .622. Taylor’s low, which came last year, was .713.

Because of the $10.5 million the Mets are paying to Bader, we should expect them to favor him in the lineup over Taylor, maybe a little too much. Taylor has only topped 300 plate appearances once in a season. The competition between the former NL Central foes, however, is much closer than it may appear.

Many pathways open for Taylor to get into games for the Mets this year. Projected to be on a bench alongside a backup catcher, Joey Wendle, and DJ Stewart, he’ll be the top right-handed hitting option and maybe top hitter overall for the Mets to summon mid-game. If Marte is in the DH rotation often, he’ll be a top candidate to play the field. A lot will depend on how well his bat performs. We know the defense is unquestionable. Improving the offensive output a little more will only help make him a more regular resident on the field.