The postseason has been an inevitability for the Mets for some time now, and trying to predict who will be part of the playoff roster has become a pastime for many fans, armchair GMs and sportswriters alike.
The Mets have about 20 of the spots locked up, creating a few fascinating choices for those final six places.
- Pete Alonso
- Eduardo Escobar
- Luis Guillorme
- Francisco Lindor
- Jeff McNeil
- Daniel Vogelbach
Guillorme’s ability to play second, third and short means he can be the only true backup infielder. This casts Mark Vientos as the odd man out. If Vientos had flashed a little more in his limited playing time, he’d have a case to be the power-hitting rookie a la Michael Conforto in 2015. But a 22-year-old who’s struck out in 10 of his first 33 big league plate appearances probably won’t magically figure it out in the playoffs, and the Mets have a veteran-laden squad that doesn’t really need Vientos.
An interesting thing to keep an eye on is how Buck Showalter constructs his lineups. With how well Escobar is hitting, and how good of a fielder Guillorme is, the Mets can opt for defense by putting Escobar at designated hitter, starting Guillorme at third base, and having Vogelbach lurk on the bench like Matt Stairs.
- Mark Canha
- Terrance Gore
- Starling Marte
- Tyler Naquin
- Brandon Nimmo
Marte has a splint on his fractured finger and recently got an injection in it. That doesn’t sound great, and Showalter said his return is “not imminent” while offering a little encouragement.
“The MRI had nothing negative,” Showalter said on Wednesday. “The healing is slowly but surely. He’s still got some discomfort there.”
We might not know Marte’s status until the day their postseason roster is due. If he’s truly unable to play, the Mets could leave him off the roster for their first series and then re-evaluate should they advance. No Marte probably means Darin Ruf, though, a nightmare for many fans still apoplectic about that trade.
Not bringing Ruf does mean that Vogelbach is the backup first baseman, a position he literally has not played since leaving Pittsburgh. If the Mets run into a situation where Alonso gets subbed out for a pinch runner and someone else has to take first, Canha also has 742 innings of MLB experience there.
The Mets have very few guys that are likely to get pinch hit for late in a game. They do have several guys that could get pinch run for, though, which is why Gore makes a bit more sense than Ruf or Vientos. The front office also probably wouldn’t have specifically targeted Gore if they didn’t want his baserunning prowess in October.
- James McCann
- Tomas Nido
There’s nothing to speculate about here besides who actually gets the majority of the starting reps. Nido is the better defensive option and the preferred battery mate for most of the pitchers, and he’s also hitting .301 with a 126 wRC+ in his last 89 plate appearances. The starting job is his to lose right now.
- Chris Bassitt
- Carlos Carrasco
- Jacob deGrom
- Max Scherzer
The argument for Carrasco over Taijuan Walker as the fourth starter: he’s a better strikeout artist and has three postseason starts on his resume, while Walker’s only one saw him give up four runs while recording just three outs. Walker also has a 5.26 ERA since his first August outing, while Carrasco’s is a better but still not great 4.46.
The argument for Walker over Carrasco as the fourth starter: he’s been much better against good teams, is less susceptible to blowing up (four of Carrasco’s last 15 starts have lasted four innings or fewer, while Walker can almost always be counted on for at least five), and has slightly better overall numbers this season.
It’s a tough decision for sure, but the Mets know that whoever they choose is a proven arm with loads of big-league success. It’s not like they’ll have to start David Peterson or Tylor Megill.
- Edwin Diaz
- Mychal Givens
- Seth Lugo
- Trevor May
- Tylor Megill
- Adam Ottavino
- Drew Smith
- Taijuan Walker
- Trevor Williams
This has been the Mets’ weakest position group, depth-wise, all season. In the postseason, expect them to lean heavily on Diaz, Ottavino, Lugo and May. Those four bring the best mix of experience, stuff and trustworthiness. After that, each member of the projected pen has some questions lingering over their head.
Givens has a 5.03 ERA in his 19.2 innings for the Mets. Megill is still learning how to be a reliever, and both he and Smith are still making their way back from lengthy injury absences. Walker and Williams have been solid all year, but neither have an obvious fit in a postseason series. If the Mets decide to bring both (Williams is definitely on the bubble despite being the team’s best reliever not named Diaz or Ottavino, according to Wins Above Replacement), Walker probably assumes the long relief role while Williams can be plugged into whatever situation calls for him.
Starters moving to the bullpen typically don’t like to be inserted into a game mid-inning. If, say, the Mets run into a situation where they have to pull Carrasco with one out in the fourth inning, that is probably a Williams spot, with Walker perhaps coming out to start a clean frame in the fifth. Megill can also handle multiple innings at a time, and with much more high-octane stuff than Walker or Williams, he perhaps makes one of them unnecessary.
There’s also the question of who faces lefties. If both Peterson and Joely Rodriguez, the two current lefties in the bullpen, are excluded, the tough lefty outs should go to Lugo. Peterson and Rodriguez have had ample opportunities this season to prove themselves and neither have inspired much confidence. Heading into the postseason without a single lefty reliever would certainly be unconventional, but with Lugo holding lefties to a .163 average, he is perfectly equipped to face Matt Olson, Freddie Freeman, Juan Soto, or whatever fearsome left-handed hitter the Mets match up with.
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