A New York Mets starting the lineup with no easy outs is the goal. In 2023, far too many of those in the starting nine were disposed of without much trouble. There weren't enough threats from top to bottom. Even the bigger boppers like Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor weren't nearly as dangerous as some of the other greats in the NL East.
We look at a typical Mets lineup from this year and see a difference between the Mets and those at the top. The Atlanta Braves and even the Philadelphia Phillies have embraced their youth. This step for the Mets was delayed. It seems they're finally willing to take that next step now that the games don’t count as much.
Nevertheless, playing Ronny Mauricio as much as possible and at a variety of positions is exactly what this team needed to do all along. They’ve already committed to Francisco Alvarez behind the plate. Lately, it’s Mark Vientos seeing additional playing time while the jury casts some judgmental eyes over at Brett Baty.
The important thing is for the NY Mets to stick with these kids if they’re ever going to compete in the NL East
Were the Mets right to hold back the kids in 2022? Meh, none of them burst onto the scene and made it obvious they belonged in the majors. The mistake was not giving them a fair shake soon enough.
Our questioning of the handling of these kids continued into the 2023 campaign with none of the Baby Mets making the Opening Day roster. It didn’t take long for Alvarez and Baty to get recalled. Vientos gave them no choice with his performance. This year’s loudest bat shouting for a promotion was Mauricio who happened to be the quickest one to show signs of a promising future ahead.
When we think about the Braves and Phillies starting lineups, there’s a whole lot of homegrown youth. The Braves seem almost endless with Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, and Austin Riley at the epicenter and already veterans of the game. The Phillies have seen Bryson Stott and Alec Bohm break out big this year. Both clubs have continually sprinkled in more youngsters. The Braves have done so with their starting pitching staff as well because why wouldn’t they be so fortunate?
The age of the position players isn’t what held the Mets back this year. It’s much bigger than just a number. It’s about sustainability. With youth comes more years of control. Pete Alonso, as fresh to the game as he still feels, is already one year away from free agency. Somewhere along the lines, the Mets stopped producing young up-and-coming players.