1 under-the-radar candidate to make the Mets 2023 Opening Day roster

Division Series - Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees - Game Two
Division Series - Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees - Game Two / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The New York Mets made a quiet signing on Monday as they brought in free agent outfielder Tim Locastro on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training next month.

Locastro has spent parts of six seasons in the majors between three different teams and played in 38 games for the Yankees last season, mainly as a defensive replacement, but he would add a new element to the offense.

NY Mets outfielder Tim Locastro’s elite speed alone may lead to a roster spot handed to him.

Locastro could be someone that may see some time with the major league team, as he provides a difference-making element with his legs. In fact, in each of the last four seasons, he has ranked in the top 1 percent of the majors in sprint speed, with a figure greater than 30 feet per second each year, well above the league average of 27 feet per second.

The Mets currently don’t have a fourth outfielder on their roster, and since their starting outfielders are great with their bats (Mark Canha, Brandon Nimmo, and Starling Marte each had an OPS+ of 120 in over 500 at-bats each), but Locastro could help them cover range in the outfield and be a pinch-runner late in games.

The Mets ranked 12th in the National League in stolen bases last year, and having someone like him available would be useful for Buck Showalter if the tying or go-ahead run is on base in a late-inning situation.

Locastro has been successful in stealing bases throughout his career, stealing 39 bases in just 44 attempts, good for a success rate of 88.6 percent, well above the league average, and stole eight bags in 10 attempts for the Yankees last season.

And in a home ballpark like Citi Field where having good outfield speed is a plus, Locastro can provide it. However, he has drawbacks with subpar marks in arm strength and defensive runs saved.

So look out for Tim Locastro if he impresses Buck Showalter and the coaching staff with his legs and range.

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