Every season there's a New York Mets addition to the farm where we can ponder about the upside of a particular player, especially in terms of providing the club with some much-needed power off the bench. Many don't do a whole lot other than knock some balls out of the park in Syracuse. Jarrett Parker. Daniel Palka. A bunch more who've surely passed through in recent years have had little to no impact on the major league squad while coming over with some impressive pop at the major or minor league level.
An outlier this year could be DJ Stewart. Yes, the Mets aren't in the business of winning at all costs right now. Stewart was called up to fill the club's need for an outfielder. The regular IL stints for Starling Marte plus trades of Mark Canha and Tommy Pham opened up every at-bat possible for a player like Stewart.
Taking full advantage of this shot, he's hitting for power and showing off that maybe a spot on next year's bench is possible. This minor league signing to help the Mets survive the absence of a corner outfielder can continue on.
DJ Stewart is making a case to stick around on the NY Mets roster
There are some more clerical reasons to consider keeping Stewart. He has yet to reach enough service time to become arbitration eligible and a minor league option the Mets won't dare exercise in 2023 adds to the intrigue. The option can carry over to next season which can once again help them get through the year, for better or worse.
The corner outfield depth in the organization is already questionable with starting second baseman Jeff McNeil as one of the most frequent to make a guest appearance in lieu of one of the starters. Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio are likely to gain more experience in left field. Plans for them are much grander than anything Stewart could offer. We shouldn’t count on them to ride the pine. Turning 30 this November, Stewart is the kind of player who is unlikely to develop into a starter but can remain a journeyman or backup for a few years.
Stewart didn't come from out of nowhere. He was the 25th overall selection by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2015 draft. He routinely hit for power in the minor leagues and was even a somewhat prolific base stealer early on, swiping 26 bags in 2016 and another 20 in 2017. He hasn’t come close since at any level.
Whether or not the Mets attack the offseason with ruthless aggression, a player like Stewart can round out the bench. Right now he's fun to see succeed in a more everyday role. Next year as a more minor contributor, we can only hope he brings the power stroke with him and sticks around to earn enough for the diapers he needs to supply his little purple monkey in the bubblegum tree at home.