Today we rose from hibernation, opened our windows to the beautiful 70 degree day in Queens and shaved our winter beards. The long winter is over and baseball is officially unofficially back, as the Mets opened Grapefruit League play at Fenway Park South against the Red Sox in a rematch of the 1986 World Series and a preview of the 2017 World Series.
The story of the winter for the Mets has been depth. As such there are Major League quality players in the organization who will be fighting for roster spots or are already destined to start the year in Vegas. Wayne Randazzo went so far as to mention that several players, such as TJ Rivera, have already proven all they have to prove in the Minors but will likely end up there anyway—a good problem to have for the Mets and an intriguing story for us fans waiting to see who among the Flushing Youth Movement is hungriest.
For this game recap we will focus primarily on the Minor Leaguers/prospects but will also note younger players who are either fighting for roster spots or likely to start the year at AAA or elsewhere in the Minors.
Seth Lugo who could find himself anywhere from the MLB rotation to the pen to the Vegas rotation come Opening Day threw two innings allowing two walks while striking out three. He will be working on developing a changeup this spring.
Marcos Molina, a formerly highly touted prospect making his way back from Tommy John surgery and sporting a new delivery, faced six batters and retired all six.
Former top pitching prospect Rafael Montero, who seemingly has more lives than a cat with the organization, added to the no-hit bid with two innings pitched, walking one and striking out two.
24 year old Corey Taylor started his spring promisingly throwing a perfect 8th inning recording one strikeout.
The aforementioned TJ Rivera struggled at the plate striking out swinging three times before being replaced at third base by Phillip Evans.
Gavin Cecchini who is dubiously billed as the second best shortstop prospect in the system started his spring with a no-doubt HR to left field and went 1-2 on the day while playing second base.
Luis Guillorme, one of the organization’s myriad shortstop prospects, went 1-2 with a single and a strikeout.
Super duper uberprospect Amed Rosario went 0-2 but showcased his touted speed beating out an infield error to load the bases in the 6th inning.
Speed demon centerfielder Champ Stuart had an unfortunate start to his spring, going 0-2 and striking out with the bases loaded.
Batting behind Champ Stuart in the 6th, 2016 Eastern League Batting Champ Phillip Evans contributed to squandering a bases drunk/no outs opportunity by striking out looking in his only at-bat.
Other super duper uberprospect Dominic Smith struck out in his only at-bat.
Rising catcher prospect Tomas Nido went 0-1 with a strikeout.
Finally, former highly ranked catcher prospect Kevin Plawecki went 1-4 as the DH.
Overall it was an auspicious start to spring for the Mets as they locked down a 3-2 win. Their first three pitchers combined for a 6 inning no-hit bid to start the game. Unmentioned in the recap, Michael Conforto was the story of the game going 2-3 with a HR off Kyle Kendrick. Conforto may start the year in AAA but we expect him to be a contributor in the Majors at some point in 2017. The Mets are now in first place in the Grapefruit League and will play tomorrow on SNY at 1pm.