We saw three of the high-profile New York Mets prospects play some ball at the major league level in 2022. All have a shot to have a far more significant impact on the 2023 team. However, one stands alone as the most likely to start the first game of the 2023 season.
It’s not Mark Vientos. He still feels like a trade candidate. Francisco Alvarez may only be able to get into the starting lineup as a DH. The Mets would probably want a more experienced catcher behind the plate to kick things off.
This leaves us with Brett Baty as the last man standing. The most likely of the Mets prospects to see his name on the Opening Day scorecard to begin things, Baty has the clearest path.
Will the Mets Opening Day lineup include Brett Baty?
Brett Baty was the front office’s choice to promote when Eduardo Escobar went down with an injury in 2022. It made sense. He is a third baseman and hopefully the man to take over the position full-time by the end of next season.
Escobar is still with the Mets and easily the most competition for Baty next season. However, Escobar’s struggles on defense and lack of offensive production for most of the year does help clear the way for Baty.
A lot still needs to happen with the Mets roster for us to have any idea of what an Opening Day lineup from Buck Showalter will look like. Does the team make a big splash at the DH spot? How many other additions do they make? Where have they subtracted?
Giving Baty more at-bats at Triple-A would be ideal but with him already receiving some time at the major league level, a step backward just delays everything. He’d be far better off at least as a part-time player in the majors than someone who has to wait a month or two in Triple-A to get promoted. The roster should be built around having him there on Opening Day. The starting lineup remains up for debate and up for grabs in the spring.
Although we didn’t see it much, Escobar’s ability to play second base can be an asset. We can almost think of Jeff McNeil as the backup corner outfielder and Escobar alongside Luis Guillorme as the replacements at second base when needed. Versatile players like this can allow the Mets a little more mixing and matching with players. It’s a more minor reason as to why Baty and even fellow prospects like Vientos and Alvarez can easily find their way onto the roster from day one.