There wasn’t much Brodie Van Wagenen excelled at when he was the New York Mets General Manager. When compared to Billy Eppler, nothing quite stands out just yet.
Van Wagenen was quick to make moves to try and immediately help the team. He did things in a complete opposite way as Eppler when it came to trading away prospects. His vision for the team was short-term while Eppler is willing to put in the work and have some patience. In BVW’s defense, ownership probably had a lot to do with it.
Among all of the decisions made between the two, there is one area where Van Wagenen was superior. There wasn’t a prospect he held back from making his MLB debut.
Former Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen was less cautious about promoting top prospects in a good way
We don’t have a large enough sample from Eppler’s time as the general manager to know for sure if this was a 2022 thing or not. Considering the Mets’ plans for the 2023 Opening Day roster, it doesn’t seem like anything has changed.
Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty, and Mark Vientos have each played a little bit of major league ball. However, none of the three received serious consideration for the Mets roster. Each will have to fight to get back to the big leagues. It’s understandable in some ways. It’s also outright wrong to not allow them to compete.
Baty may have the best shot in 2023. Tommy Pham and Darin Ruf sharing a roster spot to begin the year feels redundant. Swap out the latter for Baty and the Mets have a much more flexible ball club.
Even if this is the end result, Eppler’s version of the Mets have been slow to promote top young talent. The team waited too long to give those three MLB at-bats in 2022. It may not have made much of a difference, but it remains a lingering thought about what the immediate future holds for those three and more in 2023.
Van Wagenen was very different. He could’ve held back Pete Alonso for a couple of weeks in 2019 and used the “he needs to work on his defense” defense. Instead, he unleashed the rookie slugger immediately. Alonso rewarded the decision with 53 home runs and Rookie of the Year honors.
A similar thing happened in 2020. The Mets used David Peterson and Andres Gimenez a lot in that 60-game sprint. Partly out of need, there didn’t seem to be much hesitation.
If there was one quality of BVW’s regime I’d like to see find its way to the current GM office it would be the openness to see what the kids can do.