Red hot Mets minor leaguer will have a tough time cracking the MLB roster

It won't matter how good he is in the minors if a spot never opens up in the majors.
Feb 19, 2024; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Detail photo of Mets helmet during workouts at spring
Feb 19, 2024; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Detail photo of Mets helmet during workouts at spring / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The hottest player in Triple-A for the New York Mets is a free agent signing. Veteran outfielder Ben Gamel has now stepped up to the plate 122 times for Syracuse. As close as humanly possible, he’s succeeding half of the time.

His .343/.455/.626 slash line after 99 at-bats is outrageous. Clubbing 8 doubles, a triple, and 6 home runs to go with 17 RBI and 25 runs scored, the veteran outfielder is on a tear.

Should we have expected anything else? Gamel has over 2,000 MLB plate appearances. Facing Triple-A pitchers should come easily.

Despite the success, the Mets don’t have a need for Ben Gamel right now

Gamel was never an atrocious major league player. More of a platoon or fourth outfielder during his stints with several different MLB clubs, he did manage to secure a lifetime .252/.332/.384 slash line. Definitely not as powerful as he has been for Syracuse this season with an average of 9 home runs per 162 games, this isn’t a case of a guy who never got his fair shot. Several seasons on the back of his baseball card of 100+ games and/or 400+ plate appearances tells us who he really is.

Unfortunately for Gamel, the Mets have no real need for him right now. In fact, they’re doing their best to assure themselves they never will. Rotating through Harrison Bader and Tyrone Taylor much through the first month and now giving DJ Stewart some playing time in left field, all three are getting their chance to rest and recover.

The only one of those three Gamel could possibly replace is Stewart. The optional slugger is one ice cold streak away from getting sent to the minors. However, eliminating him from the roster takes away one of the few power bats the club has off the bench. Gamel may have figured out how to go yard against minor league pitchers. In the majors, we’d be fortunate to see his home run trot at all.

Gamel is more of a direct replacement for Bader or Taylor and maybe only if an injury they suffer is lengthy. All of his minor league options have been used up. If the Mets pull the trigger on seeing what he can offer them, he’ll immediately land in “do or die” mode.

Gamel hasn’t been a great defender in his career and is more of a left fielder. Not even one to steal a whole bunch of bases, it’s a bit difficult to buy into him as a bench player on a roster with Bader and Taylor already on it.

Back in spring training, the hype was around what Trayce Thompson could do and whether or not Jiman Choi could crack the roster. As it turns out, Gamel was the one who’d have the hottest start.

Is he closer to the hitter he is now or the .182/.217/.2227 performer he was in 23 spring plate appearances? Somewhere in the middle is the truth. We may never know.