State of the New York Mets: Questions persist with Opening Day around the corner

As we get closer to the start of the 2021 regular season, the Mets have some questions that still need to be answered.

With Opening Day just Rey Ordóñez/Endy Chávez days away, the boys in orange and blues look to dot their I’s and cross their T’s in the final stages of Spring Training in Port Saint Lucie.

With the Spring Training roster now cut down to 44 players, the last leg of the internal competitions for the final few roster spots are in full swing. Here’s the newest look into all aspect of New York Mets baseball.

Offense

Pete Alonso is on a tear this spring, hitting .382 with a 1.269 OPS. Spring Training games obviously don’t mean anything, however with the performances he is putting up each day, it gives the Mets slugger some hope. He is not being the pull-heavy hitter he is known to be, he is peppering balls gap to gap with authority.

Francisco Lindor is putting his ongoing contract extension talks in the back of his mind, and focusing on his game and the teams success, which was his message since he was traded here. The future $300 million man has clobbered three homers in the last four games, which is a promising sign after a down shortened 2020 season.

Defense

The defensive worries for the Mets were there going into Spring Training, but it has been a rocky road so far.

Lindor’s arrival, coupled with Jeff McNeil moving to his natural position of second base (thanks to the season-long Robinson Canó PED suspension), should improve the middle of the diamond. And the Mets made a specific effort to have better defensive centerfielders on the roster when they added Albert Almora, Jr. and Kevin Pillar.

But third base will continue to be an issue. Jonathan Villar has struggled consistently on both ends of the ball so far, although an Opening Day roster spot is practically guaranteed for the 29 year-old veteran. The utility man has registered two errors at third base so far this spring, while holding down the fort during his time up the middle.

Villar and JD Davis have had their issues in the field. With what looks like a water tight offense, this defense has its holes. If Luis Rojas decides to go with more of a defensive minded third baseman, Luis Guillorme could be the play at the hot corner.

Starting Pitching

The top of the Mets’ rotation should be outstanding. Jacob DeGrom has had a good camp, Marcus Stroman has been solid and Taijuan Walker was a great late addition to the staff.

However, s spot in the rotation became available when the team anounced Carlos Carrasco will miss 6-8 weeks with a hamstring injury. It appears David Pederson may have locked-up a spot in the back of the rotation, so the battle for the final spot is heating up between Jordan Yamamoto and Joey Lucchesi.

In 8.1 innings pitched this season, Yamamoto has pitched to a spectacular 1.08 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. On the other side, Lucchesi has been equally as impressive, not giving up a run over five innings of work.

With Lucchesi throwing against the Astros Monday afternoon, and Yamamoto throwing later this week, with both pitchers performing at a high level, Luis Rojas might have a tough decision to make in a couple of days.

Edwin Diaz
Courtesy IG: @sugardiaz39

Bullpen

Dellin Betances is bad, like really bad. A 10.80 ERA with three strikeouts over five innings is tough. His average fastball speed is around 89 MPH. The dip in velocity was known, but it is tough to justify a roster spot based off of his performance.

Trevor May has been status quo since signing with the Amazins’ this offseason. With Seth Lugo still on the shelf, May will look to take on a much bigger role, similar to his set up role with the Twins.

The highlight of the spring has been Edwin Diaz. The Mets closer has been a beast, and with Spring Training coming to an end, he will look to continue his success. The right hander has a 0.00 ERA with seven K’s in five innings of work.

Although these are not necessarily save situations, Diaz looks amazing. If he is able to stay on this track and take this success into save situations, the loss of Lugo could carry a little less of a burden.

Overall

The Mets offense looks to be hitting their stride late in spring training, and will look to transfer this success as the April 1st match up with the Washington Nationals looming.

The success of pitchers like Edwin Diaz and Trevor May can help carry the bullpen during Lugo’s absence.

If they can get on the same page defensively, the Mets have the opportunity to be a force this season.

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