Here’s the Mets’ lineup for Monday’s game at Miami:
Curtis Granderson – RF
Juan Lagares – CF
Lucas Duda – 1B
Michael Cuddyer – LF
Daniel Murphy – 2B
Eric Campbell – 3B
Wilmer Flores – SS
Kevin Plawecki – C
Dillon Gee – RHP
Here’s tonight’s lineup for the Mets against the Yankees in the Bronx.
Jacob deGrom – RHP
COMMENTS: In previous seasons the Mets might have considered giving Lucas Duda the night off as the designated hitter. Frankly, his defense has been exceptional to think that way right now. He’s become a presence at the plate and in the field. … I like Cuddyer as the DH tonight as it gives Nieuwenhuis a chance to play in the field. … I don’t think they’ll play Granderson as the DH, but I can see them giving John Mayberry Jr. a chance to get some at-bats. … One baseball tradition is you don’t mess around with a streak, which is why Lagares will stay in the No. 2 spot in the order. This might not become an issue until David Wright is ready to play. … As is always the case in interleague play for the National League manager is not having to worry about hitting for the pitcher. I’m wondering if this means he might be more willing to extend deGrom.
We all knew the New York Mets would bring up catcher Kevin Plawecki this season. Unfortunately for Travis d’Arnaud, we didn’t think it would be before May.
Opportunities come in the strangest places, and Plawecki got his Tuesday night with d’Arnaud’s fractured right hand. He not only was in the line-up, but will also have the fulltime job until … whenever.
Reportedly, d’Arnaud will be out for at least three weeks. A lot can happen between now and then, but it is hard to believe Plawecki – two hits notwithstanding and his flawless handling of Jon Niese – will light it up in that span to where the Mets will decide he is the answer and d’Arnaud will be thought of in the past tense.
“I think I’ve taken some good strides in the right direction,’’ said Plawecki, who ripped a single to left in the Mets’ four-run fifth for his first major league hit. “Obviously, everything is still a work in progress, but I think I’ve come a long way.’’
It’s great he has confidence, but can we tone down the hysteria just a bit? If Plawecki, who was hitting just .216 with six RBI at Triple-A Las Vegas, is already better than d’Arnaud, he would have been brought up before now.
Manager Terry Collins said the Mets have had a good feeling about Plawecki, and that was before tonight’s 7-1 rout of Atlanta for their ninth straight victory.
“We all felt in spring training that if we lost Travis we would have something coming,” Collins said. “He’s going to be a big league player for a long time.”
However, can we stop with the Wally Pipp analogies? As with Matt Harvey, can we let him do something before putting him into the Hall of Fame? However, if Plawecki plays well, it could lead to some interesting scenarios. For example, would the Mets carry both and send out Anthony Recker?
Would they feel good enough about the impression Plawecki makes to prompt them to trade d’Arnaud? Probably not enough during this season, but perhaps to where it could help shape their off-season strategy.
However, as a catcher, there’s more than at the plate where the Mets are curious about Plawecki’s development. There’s also the matter of his ability to handle pitchers, play defense and throw out potential base stealers.
“I’m happy to get the first one out of the way and that we came out of it with a win,” said Plawecki, who plans to give the ball from his first hit to his parents, who were at the game. “I was happy to be able to contribute, and Niese made it easy for me.”
Plawecki, the Mets’ 2012 first-round pick, also said what most rookies say when they first come up, and that is he’s playing the same game he has been playing his entire life.
Well, not exactly, although tonight was pretty damn close.
As it does every year, Baseball-America has come up with its top ten prospects list. The following is the New York Mets’ list:
Noah Syndergaard, rhp
Steve Matz, lhp
Brandon Nimmo, of
Dilson Herrera, 2b/ss
Amed Rosario, ss
Michael Conforto, of
Rafael Montero, rhp
Marcos Molina, rhp
Gavin Cecchini, ss
It’s not a surprise Syndergaard tops the list, and we should see him at Citi Field sometime after June so the Mets can protect his Super Two status. We should also see Plawecki, Montero and Herrera this summer, with the latter possibly making the Opening Day roster as he made a positive impression last year.
Herrera is one of three prospects who can play shortstop. Cecchini is highly regarded, but still a few years away. That probably went into their decision not to pursue a shortstop this winter.
The New York Mets haven’t had the best working relationships with their minor league affiliates over the years, moving from Tidewater, to Norfolk, to Buffalo, and now Las Vegas.
Much of the problem, especially with Buffalo, was not doing much to promote those affiliates. The perception with Buffalo, and now Las Vegas, is those cities were merely pit stops until somebody offered a better arrangement.
It doesn’t take much of an effort for the major league team to play several exhibition games the final weekend of spring training, and in the case with Las Vegas – where the weather is good – in the middle.
The cost of air travel and hotels for the weekend is miniscule in comparison to the goodwill and opportunity for the minor league city to show off the big club. Of course, those costs are also offset by their cut of the gate.
This is the only chance for those fans to see David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud, the latter who played last year in Las Vegas. They’ll also get a chance to watch Bartolo Colon and Jenrry Mejia, who could pitch part of this season in Las Vegas.
Some of the other Mets expected to make the trip are Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores, Omar Quintanilla, Jacob deGrom, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Kevin Plawecki, Anthony Seratelli and Eric Campbell. All but Quintanilla should see time in Las Vegas this summer.
Las Vegas was kind of a stretch for the Mets because they didn’t have much choice after Buffalo, as it is several time zones away, which makes last-minute moves difficult.
Buffalo was perfect because it is a city with professional sports and call-ups were easy. It’s too bad that didn’t work.
I don’t know how long they’ll stay with Las Vegas, but this was a good idea.
ON DECK: Bartolo Colon.