Friday, February 11, 2011

Spring Training Preview: The Battle for Bench

What could be more thrilling?

The battle to be one of 5 players selected to the 2011 New York Mets bench. A team that is expected by many to finish fourth in their division, sell off their stars and sell off their team. WOO! Who is going to be good enough to NOT be one of their 8 starting position players?

Above is a lovely graphic I put together (stealing graphics from etc...) which will allow the average person to keep track. As names are eliminated I'll be placing a red X over their picture.

Ronny Paulino - C - 30:
Paulino isn't REALLY fighting for a bench spot. He's got a spot on the roster. HOWEVER, his face might be replaced by Josh Thole's if he has the better spring training. The reality is... Thole is a lefty and most pitchers are righties... so Paulino will likely not be the #1 catcher.
Red X Chances: 1%

Luis Castillo - 2B - 36:
Castillo IS owed $6,000,000.00 which is $5,999,995.00 more then I have in my wallet right now. He's also is a patient hitter who knows the game and can still field his position. The problem? Luis cannot field ANY other position. He also has no power and only REALLY hits well from one side of the plate.
Red X Chances: 78%

Scott Hairston - OF/1B - 31:
Scott is REALLY a corner OF but in a pinch he can man CF. I just wouldn't make a habit of it. He has become known as a timely hitter who makes the most of his ABs. He doesn't necessarily have great contact or power but I'd have some confidence in him being smart with a late inning AB in a close game.
Red X Chances: 11%

Daniel Murphy - 1B/2B/3B/LF - 26:
There are few situations in which Murphy does not make the team. One being Luis Castillo being the starter and Brad Emaus the backup. However as long as Murphy can field the position odds say that he'll be part of the solution to the 2B dilemma and at least have a role on the bench. Now... he is actually likely to win the starting job right now... so maybe I'll make him a blue and orange X or something.
Red X Chances: 18%

Willie Harris - Util - 33:
Willie can play all three OF positions, 3B, SS, and 2B and he has some speed. He's likely to make the team... even if I don't want him to. Add to this he's a lefty bat and has a little pop and he makes sense. So... why do I not want him? I want Duda... that's why. So I'm irrational and like certain players even if they fill less of a role.
Red X Chances: 16%

Justin Turner - IF - 27:
Turner has a lot against him. He and Emaus are both righties. So only one will make the team (probably) and Emaus would have to be let go if he didn't. Turner can simply be moved to AAA. What Turner DOES have going for him is the ability to play SS. Now... he's not a whiz kid at SS. However he can play the position and Murphy/Emaus/Castillo cannot. So... there is an outside chance that Turner loses out on the backup 2B job and wins the backup SS job over HU... but not a GOOD chance.
Red X Chances: 84%

Brad Emaus - 2B/3B/1B - 25:
Brad Emaus was a Rule 5 pick. That means he has to stay with the MLB club all year or be sold back to Toronto. Emaus has a GREAT eye and makes good contact with some power. He's not a GREAT fielder, but he's a smart player and can handle 2B and 3B adequately. If Castillo or Murphy with the starting job this spring... he might be the favorite for the bench role. Or... HE might win the starting job.
Red X Chances: 23%

Chin-Lung Hu - SS/2B - 27:
What does Hu bring to the table? Defense, defense, defense, defense and a unique name. What doesn't he bring? Hitting. 3 years ago a friend of mine pointed Hu out to me as a potentially big prospect but... that hasn't panned out and likely won't. Hu is the favorite to backup for Jose Reyes but as I will say until the day he's cut... Turner is the better choice!
Red X Chances: 31%

Lucas Duda - LF/RF/1B - 25:
Duda is going to AAA. I see it, you see it, the whole world sees it. Not that it's the wrong move but I don't see what Duda has left to learn. He's not going to become a better fielder. He's already a fine hitter. He will likely never be quite a starter... but we have the more positionally flexible Hairston and Harris and they make more sense.
Red X Chances: 93%

Nick Evans - LF/RF/3B/1B - 25:
Evans got a BIG demotion last year and made up for it with a big year. This season the Mets... still don't have room for him. Scott Hairston is sitting above Evans for that bench role and Emaus and Turner likely edge him out of the backup IF roles. I do think he'll be up in 2011 but not for most of the season.
Red X Chances: 86%

This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.

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