The New York Mets are giving a lot of younger players a shot to establish themselves as long-term options for the team this year. They were active in free agency and on the waiver wire this offseason. It’s nothing especially unusual for them or any ball club. The offseason is a chance to bring in new bodies, see them perform in the spring, and maybe even carry them into the regular season.
A couple of guys could be big contributors for the Mets at least to start the year. Rule 5 Draft pick Zach Greene is one candidate for the Opening Day roster. Unfortunately, keeping him on the 26-man roster all year could get in the way. John Curtiss is another reliever to watch, but he is a bit older and with one minor league option remaining, long-term doesn’t quite fit for him.
These other three have all of 2023 to figure it out. They have minor league options and some other factors which could help them stay in the bullpen rotation.
1) NY Mets reliever Bryce Montes de Oca is an exciting young player
A flame-throwing reliever who made his MLB debut last year, Bryce Montes de Oca is one of those ultimate “sink or swim” types of pitchers. If he can find his control, the Mets will have a younger reliever they can ride with for a few seasons.
Montes de Oca turns 27 in April and is coming off of only his second professional season. He combined to toss 51.1 innings on the farm last season, pitching to a 3.33 ERA. More notable was his walk and strike out numbers. He fanned batters at a rate of 14 per 9 while walking them at a rate of 6.7 per 9.
There is some obvious growth for him but some weapons are already in his arsenal. He didn’t allow a single home run all of last season. In his 34 innings back in 2021, he surrendered one.
It’s typical for a hard-throwing like Montes de Oca to have such an amazing strikeout rate and suffer from an inability to find the play consistently. He’s a better candidate to begin the season in Triple-A than on the major league roster. However, if he can improve and master the strike zone just a little bit, the 2023 campaign could be a big one for him later on in the season.