Key Players To Watch in Spring Training

An article by posted on February 12, 2011

I cannot believe its finally here!  I have been sitting at home bored out of my mind all winter long without any baseball going on.  But, we are finally going to be getting some added excitement in the days ahead, as spring training has finally arrived.  In 3 days, pitchers and catchers are to report to the Mets camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and signal the start of spring training. 

There are several players and spring battles that we need to keep an eye on this spring.  Some of these guys on my list are ones that we really need to watch, and a couple are not really ones we want to watch anymore. 

Brad Emaus: Brad Emaus was acquired by the Mets in the Rule 5 draft from the Toronto Blue Jays.  There are some bold predictions out there that say Emaus is going to be the Mets starting 2nd basemen when Opening Day arrives on March 31st.  There is good reason to keep an eye on him. 

Daniel Murphy:  Murphy is making a comeback with the Mets, this time as a 2nd basemen.  He suffered through injuries in the past year, and in that span, we saw the rise of Ike Davis at first base, thus taking that position away from Murphy.  Now that Ike Davis is the Mets full-time 1st baseman, Murphy has been training to become a 2nd basemen.  His story has been very interesting.  We know what we can expect from him, and it will be interesting to see what he does during spring training.  He is competing with Emaus for the 2B job, so that should be a good battle to watch.

Luis Castillo/Oliver Perez:  I know you what you guys are thinking… what the heck Brandon!? Why watch these guys, have you gone completely insane!?  I think so to be completely honest LOL.  The reason why I list them is because they both have one goal and one goal only this spring, and that is to make the roster at any cost!  Sandy Alderson has said all offseason, that if Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez do not make the Mets roster, they will more than likely be released.  That’s why we have to watch how they perform this spring.  Right now, it’s a real longshot that they both make the squad, but really, who knows?

Chris Young:  While we watched, and waited patiently for the Mets and Young to come to an agreement, they finally did last month.  With that being said, Chris Young is currently a favorite to be one of the back of the rotation starters in the rotation come Opening Day.  Last year, Young dealt with injuries almost all season long with the Padres.  Luckily, he was able to pitch in a couple of games late in the season, and at least showed he was healthy again. 

Chris Capuano:  This was one of the best moves the Mets made during the offseason, right up there with Chris Young.  Like Young, Capuano has been battling injuries for quite some time.  The Mets decided to take a low-risk, high reward chance by signing Capuano. In the spring, Capuano will be one of many who will be battling for a spot on the roster.  Whether or not he becomes a starter or not is yet to be determined, but Terry Collins has said that Capuano has to show Collins that he is healthy, and physically ready before he gets a spot in the rotation. There are also rumors that he could wind up in the bullpen. We’ll have to wait and see.

Josh Thole:  Josh Thole isn’t battling for the everyday the catchers position this year. He has already proved to both Jerry Manuel, and Terry Collins that he can be the Mets everyday catcher.  Why did I include him here? Because it’s going to be interesting to see how all the new pitchers like Young, Capuano, Tankersley, and others perform and respond to Josh Thole calling pitches and being “the man” behind the plate. 

Those are some of the players and battles that I’ll be watching beginning next week. Tell me which players you’ll be keeping tabs on as we get ready for a brand new season of Mets baseball.

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