Yesterday, was a big day in at the Mets Spring Training Complex at Digital Domain Park as the team made their first round of cuts and reassigned 13 players to minor league camp. The move left the Mets with 42 players in camp which will eventually be pared down to 25 before Opening Day.
There’s no telling who if any of the players cut will be back again in 2012, but let’s take a look at them and consider their place in the organization.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis: Captain Kirk never really got a chance to strut his stuff in St. Lucie thanks to a strained oblique. Injuries continue to plague the promising center fielder and for now it looks like he’ll be heading back to Buffalo for a third season at Triple-A. At 24 years old, he’ll have to reestablish himself all over again and hope that something opens up in Flushing. A solid season by Andres Torres will keep Nieuwenhuis in the minors until rosters expand in September, but a slow start by Torres could hasten his arrival.
Matt den Dekker: Dekker got a small sampling of rubbing elbows with his major league counterparts, but he is below Nieuwenhuis on the depth chart and is at least two years away from being a legitimate option. He’ll have to master Double-A Binghamton, where he batted .235 last season, before he even becomes a factor. He struck out 91 times in 234 at-bats in Bingo, and he’s not goping anywhere until he turns that around.
Josh Stinson: The Mets have been pushing Stinson through the minors and he got a small cup of coffee last September, but I’m not sure why. After posting a 3.99 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in Binghamton, the right-hander was promoted to Buffalo where he hit a brick wall. Stinson started 13 games and finished with a 7.44 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in 61.2 innings pitched. He walked 33 batters while striking out 31, and somehow he was on the September callup list where he continued the same disturbing trends.
Jenrry Mejia: The one-time, top pitching prospect of the Mets continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery which wiped out his 2011 season. He’s not expected to pitch in games until late May or early June barring any setbacks. He may have to reestablich his value to the organization all over again before we’ll see him in Flushing again.
Juan Lagares: He burst onto the scene last season with a .349/.383/.500 slash in 505 plate appearances. And he actually got even better when he was promoted from High-A to Bingo. The former shortstop plays the outfield exclusively now, and he oozes with potential. You wanna bet we’ll see Lagares before Nieuwenhuis this season?
Reese Havens: Oh man, not again… What is it with this guy? Seriously though, I feel bad for him because the talent is there, but he continues to deal with back related issues. He’s still ailing and until that changes, there’s really nothing to talk about here. Get better, Reese.
Wilmer Flores: Slip, sliding away… Slip, sliding away… You know the nearer your destination, the more you keep sliding away. Paul Simon must have been thinking of a player like Flores when he penned that song. Did anyone see how awkward he looked in the field? Is anyone surprised he was among the first cuts? Still young, but he’s lost a lot of shine.
Armando Rodriguez: Why was A-Rod Lite even added to the 40-man roster to begin with? Yeah, I’m still trying to figure that one out. I’d bet the ranch he would have never been invited to major league camp if he wasn’t on the 40MR. Of course I don’t own a ranch, so there’s that…
Robert Carson: Okay so I was wrong when I said Carson had a real shot to be the second lefty in the Mets bullpen this year. Hey what the heck do I know. I thought hard-throwing southpaws were the new market inefficiency. He’ll be back, folks. Bank on it.
Val Pascucci: I think the only reason the Mets keep Scooch around is because of a clause in Ted Berg’s contract. Seriously, he’s a great guy to have around in Triple-A. He’s become the Crash Davis of the Buffalo Bisons, and the kids love him.
Zach Lutz: The heir apparent to David Wright? Lutz has a good eye at the plate and surprising power. However, he’ll be 26 in June and he’s still hovering in Triple-A. He deserves a shot, and I would have opted for him over re-signing Scott Hairston who is now injured. Never mess around with Karma, Sandy.
Hey, this was fun… We’ll do this again next week after the second wave of cuts.