Mets players praise team's work, talent as 2024 season approaches

WEST PALM BEACH – We were getting our first live look at Mets spring training on Tuesday, so to get a feel for it, we asked four Mets and a scout from another organization a question:

What has stood out to you about camp so far?

The answers offered snapshots of what’s been happening and what some Mets are paying attention to as they get ready for the 2024 season. The responses also underscored how spring is a time for dreaming, and not just for fans. These Mets sound eager.

“I think, for me, it’s the work everybody is putting in,” said starting pitcher Luis Severino, who is entering his first season with the Mets. “People who have been here a long time, like (Francisco) Lindor – he was playing right away.

“He’s been here a long time and his position in life is secure, right? But he’s still working, grinding to get better. That’s interesting. That’s good. It shows something.”

How about Severino’s own work? Severino, who has thrown five scoreless innings in Grapefruit League action, pitches Wednesday at home against the Astros. “There’s a lot more room to get better,” Severino said.

Catcher Francisco Alvarez has been garnering attention for slugging home runs and throwing out potential base stealers this spring. But he brought up the pitching staff, which went into Tuesday night’s game against the Nationals with the lowest ERA (2.52) and WHIP (1.15) in MLB.

“I think we’ll have a better bullpen and better starting,” Alvarez said. “The pitchers are doing a really good job. They are throwing more strikes. They know what they are doing. We’ve been working on the tempo to home plate with the pitchers and they are doing that better.”

Alvarez says he’s “feeling good, feeling healthy. But my thing is I want to feel healthy the whole season. Throwing to the bases, I feel way better than last year. Last year, it was a little inconsistent with my throws. This year, I’m much more consistent.”

Mar 10, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez (4) picks up a bunt and throws out Detroit Tigers centerfielder Parker Meadows in the fourth inning at Clover Park.

Reliever Adam Ottavino enjoyed when some of the Mets' young, highly-touted prospects were in camp with the big-league team.

“It’s not that other stuff hasn’t stood out, but that was something new,” Ottavino said. “I haven’t seen those guys, so it was cool to watch them play and see what the future looks like a little bit.

(Luisangel) Acuña, Jett Williams, (Drew) Gilbert, guys like that, are definitely – some, if not all of them – the future of this team. So it’s cool to get that first glimpse of them and meet them and see how they are.

“You can let your imagination run a little bit. I think that’s the exciting part, not knowing and not having seen them. You tend to dream about the good stuff and the excitement of a homegrown guy.”

Brandon Nimmo is monitoring the Mets’ health, obviously a huge factor in any team’s season. The Mets lost Kodai Senga to a right shoulder strain earlier in spring, which will put the ace on the Injured List to start the season.

“I think we’ve got a really good group of guys here,” Nimmo said. “I think we’re deep. I think we’ve got a lot of guys that are out to prove themselves. We’re relatively healthy, other than Senga, and hopefully, we’ll get him back sooner rather than later. But I think we’re in a good spot right now.

He added: “I’m excited to get the season started and see how we respond, see how we match up out there. It’s a marathon and I’m excited to grind with these guys and see what we got.

“I just want everybody to make it out of here healthy, right?”

Our scout has spent some time this spring watching the Mets and when asked our original question, immediately praised relief pitcher Sean Reid-Foley, who entered Tuesday having thrown four scoreless innings in four appearances, allowing no hits while striking out seven and walking one.

“He’s throwing real well,” the scout said. “Real good change. Fastball solid, breaking ball for strikes.”

The scout also had high praise for Alvarez. “He could have a big year,” the scout noted. “He’s throwing accurately to second and I’ve never seen him throw this well, going back to the (Rookie ball) Appalachian League. He’s letting the game come to him.”

With Alvarez hitting homers, the scout was asked if the catcher, who slugged 25 long balls last season, could reach 30 this year.

“It’s an easy get for him, if he’s healthy,” the scout said. “He looks good in his approach.”