The New York Mets haven’t played an exhibition game yet and already manager Terry Collins is hinting at several roster cuts.
It is also conceivable Juan Lagares will open the season in the minor leagues. Collins is very high on den Dekker.
“One of the things we’re very lucky with, when you come into camp and you have the likes of the outfield we have right now, they’re so athletic. They can all run,’’ Collins told reporters today in Port St. Lucie. “Matt is in that [group]. He is still very, very highly thought of – a tremendous defender, as we know.
“One of the things you’ve seen in his career, he gets to a level and he may have a rough time in the beginning. And the next time he goes to that same level he advances. And we’re hoping the same thing occurs now, that he now knows what’s expected at the major-league level, what kind of pitching he’s going to see, what adjustments he has to make.
“I think Matt den Dekker is still a huge prospect here. It gives us an ample amount of insurance.’’
While Collins said den Dekker will need at-bats, the same applies for Lagares. Should Eric Young start over him, where will Lagares get his at-bats?
Should Lagares be optioned, Duda is not a viable outfield reserve and definitely can’t play center. That might force Collins to re-think Nieuwenhuis or Brown.
Thoughts from Joe D.
I’m not sold on den Dekker as much as you seem to be, John. He has yet to reduce his huge strikeout totals in the minors so can you imagine how that will translate in the majors? We actually got a small taste of that in 2013 when MDD batted .204 last season and struck out 23 times in 58 at-bats. That’s not a good sign. At 26, you’ll hardly find him on anymore Mets prospects lists and his stock just continues to tumble.
Nieuwenhuis is another player who has failed to make adjustments and will continue to see a huge amount of breaking pitches which just make him look bad. Captain Kirk now has 130 Ks in 377 major league at-bats.
I figured Andrew Brown earned a spot on the bench, but having Duda and Davis on the team puts the big squeeze on him. It’s not that Brown strikes out any less than the other two, but he makes up for it with his power off the bench and adequate outfield defense. He hit a couple of clutch shots last season and his seven homers and 24 RBI in just 150 AB is worth noting.
If Brown and Lagares don’t make the cut, it’s hard to argue that it makes the Mets a better team and that their taking their best 25. I’ll have something more detailed on Lagares in the morning.