It goes without saying that players like Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom will be expected to perform well this season—it simply comes with the territory of being a star. But in New York, no player can truly escape the microscope, and so even less obvious players will be observed closely by the Mets’ fan base.
Here, SNY analyst Nelson Figueroa breaks down a few players whose success could potentially give the Mets the extra push they need.
“You have a guy in Todd Frazier who is a very good third baseman; he’s not just an average or below-average third baseman, he’s not a guy who hasn’t played a lot of third base. So I really like the fact that [the Mets] went defensive-heavy with the third base choice,” Figueroa said. “Todd Frazier is also a guy who has a lot of pop in his bat [and is] a veteran guy in the middle of that lineup. He’d done some nice things production-wise last year, with the way baseball is going; with on base percentage, really honing his swing and laying off those 3-2 sliders. So he was a nice addition, especially [considering] when they got him and the price they got him for.”
“His time is now. His defense is really the reason why he’s been handed the shortstop job. He hasn’t done a lot with his bat and still is overly aggressive at times and striking out a bunch,” Figueroa said of the youngster. “If he could find a way to hit just above .250, that would be huge for the Mets—batting in the position that he would be, lower down in that lineup, being able to keep the line moving and playing the type of defense that he has shown. I think the fact that he came up last year and made some mistakes, he’s hopefully learned from those and won’t be making a lot of those mistakes again. But if his growth and progression can continue, he’s the biggest key when it comes to the Mets, because of his defense.”
“When you talk about the huge discount, this was a buy-low and high ceiling time for a guy like Adrian Gonzalez, said Figueroa, adding that, if Gonzalez could capture his pre-2017 form, the Mets would have a real bargain. “Last year, because he had injuries for the first time that kept him out from playing, and without being to play regularly, he struggled mightily. So I think if he can get back to playing every day, when you look at having him on the other side of the infield—especially with his defensive ability a plus—if he can get back to being a 20-25 home run guy, driving in 80, I think it’s a tremendous acquisition, especially since he’s kind of been a forgotten man and been thrown away from two organizations already.”