1 Mets player who will immediately make the biggest difference

Feb 20, 2023; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer (21) speaks to
Feb 20, 2023; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer (21) speaks to / Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Which freshly added New York Mets player will make the biggest difference in 2023? Justin Verlander is a good choice. You could say it’s Brooks Raley. Even Tommy Pham has a case and not just when someone is breaking unwritten fantasy football rules and needs a slap.

The new player who will make the biggest difference this season is Omar Narvaez. The most unexpected addition to the club, Narvaez is a James McCann upgrade. A good defender and a guy who has hit well in the past for more than a year and a half stint like McCann, platooning this left-handed swinger with Tomas Nido may actually give the team a pretty good catcher tandem.

The other ways Mets catcher Omar Narvaez will make a difference this year

We saw early on this spring how much Narvaez has embraced mentoring his newly adopted younger brother, Francisco Alvarez. The difference he could make with him won’t be measured in a box score. It’s something we’ll have to see and maybe hear more about from Alvarez down the line.

The catcher position has been a weakness for the Mets with the rare season when someone produces. Wilson Ramos hit well in 2019 but his reputation as a defender was messy. The opposite could be said about McCann. He didn’t get too many public complaints, but pitchers still seemed to prefer Nido. With a weakened bat, a question of “why even have him?” arose.

Narvaez doesn’t have a particularly high standard to reach in order to surpass what McCann offered them. His .206/.292/.305 slash line with the Milwaukee Brewers last season wasn’t pretty. It was still superior compared to the .195/.257/.282 McCann batted in his 191 trips to the plate. Limited to only 61 games due mostly to injury but also poor performance, even a bad year from Narvaez is better than what we saw from the previous backstop.

Between the two, Narvaez is the far likelier candidate to rebound. The Mets are getting a disciplined hitter joining them with a lifetime .258/.343/.386 batting line. He has been even better against righties, slashing .268/.345/.406 versus them in his career. The ability to mix and match him with Nido regularly will be beneficial. 

The only thing fans are still curious about is where Alvarez fits into the picture. It should be an easy call to promote him in September when the rosters expand to 28. That’s a long way in the future. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the upgrade Narvaez will provide.

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