Mets 26-man roster prediction 3.0 for 2023 MLB season
With Opening Day about two weeks away, the 26-man roster the Mets could begin the regular season with is coming into sharper focus.
The injury to Jose Quintana has left a hole in the rotation, several prospects are continuing to make their case for strong consideration, and a number of pitchers on the bullpen bubble are impressing.
It's true that spring training stats don't matter much, if at all. How a player looks should matter, though. And in the case of some of the Mets' prospects, there's an argument to be made that if they're ready, there's no reason to mess around. Are a few of them ready?
Here is our roster prediction 3.0...
Omar Narvaez, C
Pete Alonso, 1B
Jeff McNeil, 2B
Francisco Lindor, SS
Brett Baty/Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Mark Canha, LF
Brandon Nimmo, CF
Starling Marte, RF
Daniel Vogelbach/Tommy Pham, DH
The first iteration of our roster prediction, which we published back in the middle of January, had Francisco Alvarez on it in a hybrid catching/DH role.
Alvarez, who is coming off an ankle injury, has been eased in this spring when it comes to catching. He has caught just twice, and started behind the plate only once. Meanwhile, in listening to Mets brass speak, it's crystal clear that Alvarez will only make the roster if one of their other catchers suffers an injury.
There are other prospects who are raising eyebrows, though.
One of them is Baty, who has been working hard on his defense -- including his agility -- at third base.
SNY's Andy Martino has noted that the Mets feel Baty isn't quite a finished product at third base. But it's fair to note that Escobar was among the worst defensive third basemen in baseball last season. So unless the Mets think Baty would be impacted in a big way mentally if he made a few mistakes at third in the bigs, his defense should not be a reason to hold him back.
It should also be pointed out that manager Buck Showalter recently said that he believes Baty should stick at third base, in effect tossing to the side recent rumblings that Baty could be the prospect (between him and Ronny Mauricio) who potentially moves to left field.
What of Mauricio?
The 21-year-old has had an electrifying spring, with four homers. However, Mauricio -- whose OBP last season in the minors was .296 -- needs to refine his approach at the plate and learn a new position (whether it's third base or left field). So he will almost certainly not be a consideration for the Opening Day roster.
Someone who should be a consideration is Mark Vientos, who has been absolutely scalding the ball. But in order for the Mets to carry both Baty and Vientos, they would likely have to take just seven relievers. And it's hard to see them doing that from the jump. In a world where Baty is left off the roster for some reason, though, Vientos should be on it and be the DH against lefties.
Max Scherzer, RHP
Justin Verlander, RHP
Kodai Senga, RHP
Carlos Carrasco, RHP
David Peterson, LHP
The rib injury to Quintana has thrown a wrench in the rotation plans, but New York is well-equipped to handle it.
Peterson and Tylor Megill are the logical options to replace Quintana, and while Megill might have more upside, the Mets could turn to the more experienced Peterson -- who was a strong rotation contributor last season.
If Peterson is in the rotation, it removes Megill from the bullpen conversation (if he was even seriously in it) and means he'll stay stretched out at Triple-A Syracuse.
Edwin Diaz, CLS
David Robertson, RHP
Adam Ottavino, RHP
Brooks Raley, LHP
Drew Smith, RHP
John Curtiss RHP
Sam Coonrod, RHP
Tommy Hunter, RHP
Our first roster prediction had the hard-throwing but erratic Bryce Montes de Oca nabbing one of the final spots, but we had Zach Greene replace him on our roster prediction 2.0. Since then, Greene has been placed on outright waivers and Montes de Oca suffered an elbow injury.
Because Greene was a Rule 5 pick, he will either be claimed or offered back to the Yankees.
Stephen Nogosek has been on the roster bubble, and could have had a leg up because he's out of options. But he has had a very rough spring, with an ERA over 7.00.
Put all of the above together, and the result is Coonrod and Hunter -- who have both had terrific springs -- making the team.
It should also be noted that Raley is dealing with a minor hamstring injury, but is expected to be ready for Opening Day.
Tomas Nido, C
Luis Guillorme, INF
Daniel Vogelbach, DH/1B
Tommy Pham, DH/OF
No changes here.
Nido and Guillorme are making the team.
Then there's Vogelbach and Pham, who will likely be alternating between the DH spot and the bench.
Darin Ruf, who remains on the roster, could possibly be in 2023 what he was for most of his career before coming to Queens last summer -- a guy who excels against left-handed pitching.
But with Vogelbach and Pham already on the roster, it's very hard to justify also carrying Ruf (who is working through a wrist injury), which would give the Mets three guys who have little to no versatility.
This article was originally published on March 10. It has been updated to reflect the Mets' decision to place Zach Greene on outright waivers and injuries to multiple bullpen candidates.