A fifth outfielder isn’t the most important player on any ball club. The New York Mets have certainly had trouble filling it over the years. Travis Jankowski wasn’t the answer in 2022 nor was the trade deadline upgrade of Tyler Naquin.
Next season, the Mets should stay away from those journeymen outfielders in attempting to fill the role. It’s prospect Jake Mangum who could potentially give them everything they need as a final bench piece.
Mets prospect Jake Mangum deserves a chance to win a roster spot
There are a lot of advantages to going with Mangum right away next season. For one, he’ll have minor league options. This wasn’t the case with Jankowski which put the Mets in a bit of a bind. If Mangum turns out to be the wrong choice, the Mets can simply demote him and try something new. Whether it’s early on in the season or at the trade deadline, a prospect like Mangum provides more flexibility without having to send a player packing.
Why Mangum, though? He, somewhat quietly, put together a terrific season in the minors this past year.
In 318 plate appearances on the farm, Mangum was a .306/.363/.441 hitter with 14 stolen bases. His Triple-A numbers were actually the best. While with Syracuse, he slashed .333/.365/.471 in 148 trips to the plate.
Limited in power but able to make contact, he’s kind of like Luis Guillorme was back in the day on the farm. Mangum’s ability to play center field completely puts him in contention to be someone to watch this spring. There is little question he’s worth consideration already.
Mangum will play next season at age 27 which is much older than most outfielders by the time they make their major league debut. Consistently productive on the farm in his own way, he’s the exact type of player the Mets would probably love to have on the bench as their fifth outfielder and the occasional starting center fielder.