To most New York Mets fans, entering the 2023 regular season, one with World Series expectations, the biggest concern is the offense.
The Mets’ lack of hitting really hurt them down the stretch of 2022. It led to blowing a division title and a first-round playoff exit.
This offseason, no big splash additions were made to the Mets lineup as most of the big-ticket acquisitions were pitchers, either starters or relievers.
Entering Spring Training, a significant amount of the guaranteed Opening Day offensive personnel of the Mets was fairly well known.
However, in terms of depth roles, there were a few up for grabs entering this year’s preseason work and they have played out so far in Spring Training. Let’s take a look at two specific Mets players who have helped their Opening Day roster hopes.
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Two underrated Mets bats improving their roster chances:
The Mets signed Tim Locastro this offseason. He spent most of the last two years with the Yankees. Locastro is 30 years old with six years of MLB experience (247 games played, 549 plate appearances) and is out of options.
Locastro only has a .227 career batting average and seven career home runs. However, his calling card is his speed on the bases and the positional flexibility he offers across the outfield. Locastro stole eight bases in 38 games for the Yankees in 2022. His best year was 2019, when he recorded 17 stolen bases in 91 games. From a versatility standpoint, defensively, Locastro has played 74 games in center field, 69 in left field, and 47 in right field.
So far in Spring Training, Locastro has gotten off to an encouraging start. He has played in 10 games and has a .350 batting average (7-20, four doubles) with five RBIs and a 1.008 OPS. Also, Locastro has stolen a whopping five bases; no other Met has two.
Lastly, with Tommy Pham having a rough Spring Training both offensively (.105 batting average) and defensively, there is a chance that Locastro could be the Mets’ fourth outfielder and also a right-handed designated hitter option to begin the 2023 regular season. His speed and versatility make Locastro valuable to the Mets, and if he continues to hit, he could very well make the team.
Abraham Almonte was also signed by the Mets this off-season. He is 33 years old with 10 years of MLB experience. He has played 455 games and has 1,363 plate appearances.
Almonte has a low .235 career batting average with 24 home runs. He is a switch-hitter who, like Locastro, offers great positional flexibility in the outfield. Almonte has played 166 career games in center field, 124 in left field, and 94 in right field.
To this point in Spring Training, Almonte has the Mets’ best batting average, as he is hitting .500 (7-14, two doubles). Almonte also has the best OPS (1.293) of any Met up until this moment. He has driven in three runs in eight games played. Lastly, Almonte is also tied for the most walks on the Mets through Spring Training so far, with four.
Similar to Locastro, with Pham’s significant struggles both at the plate and in the field, there is a prime opportunity for Almonte to take an Opening Day roster spot. He has the experience, and versatility in the outfield and also offers the Mets flexibility offensively as a switch-hitter. Should Almonte continue to dominate at the plate and get on base throughout the rest of Spring Training, he will certainly be in a position to be on this roster. It will be fascinating to see how Locastro and Almonte play the rest of Spring Training.