2023 New York Mets Opening Day Roster Locks

mets, jeff mcniel, francisco lindor
Aug 9, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) and left fielder Jeff McNeil (1) celebrate after defeating the Cincinnati Reds during the ninth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The report date to 2023 Spring Training for New York Mets pitchers and catchers is one week from today. Over the last three days, we have seen many players start to make their way to Port St. Lucie upon early arrivals.

Going into Spring Training, this Mets team has exciting, high-level talent with some competition to round out the roster. Barring any injuries, a good chunk of the 26-man Opening Day roster is essentially set.

After reviewing the Mets roster at the moment, of those 26 roster spots, at least 21 and up to 22 players are roster locks depending on Starling Marte’s injury status, which is unknown entering this spring. Let’s review who is guaranteed to be on the 2023 Mets and, from there, what players look to be in a competition for the final few spots heading into this spring’s work.

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New York Mets Opening Day 26-man roster locks:

Catcher (2):

  • Omar Narvaez
  • Tomas Nido

The big question at this position is, of course, the Mets’ top-rated prospect, Francisco Alvarez. Everyone is hopeful for a big spring in which he earns a roster spot to begin the year. But until it is proven, Alvarez cannot be looked at as a current lock to be on the roster.

Infield (5):

First Base (1):

  • Pete Alonso

Over the course of his first three 162-game seasons, Alonso has started at least 133 games each year at first base. His backup entering Spring Training, however, is unknown and looks to be determined over the next month.

Second Base (2):

  • Jeff McNeil
  • Luis Guillorme

Pretty straightforward here with Jeff McNeil and Luis Guillorme at second. Both have been with the Mets over the last five years and offer positional flexibility in the field.

Shortstop (1):

  • Francisco Lindor

Francisco Lindor is coming off a year in which he started 159 games for the Mets at shortstop. Expect him to continue to want to play every day, making the value minimal for a backup here.

Third Base (1):

  • Eduardo Escobar

One obvious, significant question here is whether Brett Baty earns a roster spot. And from there, whether he will just be Eduardo Escobar’s backup or platoon with him. Ideally, Baty has a strong spring both at the plate and in the field to do enough to earn a roster spot.

Outfield (4):

  • Brandon Nimmo
  • Starling Marte
  • Mark Canha
  • Tommy Pham

As mentioned in the introduction, Marte’s availability is currently a question. But, for now, without any confirmation either way, he counts toward the Opening Day roster here. Should he have to miss time, it will be fascinating to see who the Mets’ fourth outfielder is.

Designated Hitter (1):

  • Daniel Vogelbach

One role up for grabs as we gear up for this preseason’s work is who the right-handed designated hitter will be, complementing the left-handed bat of Daniel Vogelbach.

Pitchers (10):

Starting Pitchers (5):

  • Justin Verlander
  • Max Scherzer
  • Kodai Senga
  • Jose Quintana
  • Carlos Carrasco

This Mets rotation is an exciting one on paper from one through five. The main question is whether or not they opt to go with a sixth starter should David Peterson or Tylor Megill do enough to prove themselves.

Relief Pitchers (5):

  • Edwin Diaz
  • Adam Ottavino
  • David Robertson
  • Brooks Raley
  • Drew Smith

These five are all self-explanatory. The Mets certainly did a great job improving this group from the major concern that it was last year. It will be interesting to see when all is said and done if they go with seven or eight bullpen arms here.

New York Mets competing for Opening Day roster spots:

In total, 22 Mets (12 hitters, 10 pitchers) look to be safe locks on this Opening Day roster. In turn, that leads to four spots up in the air.

It will be interesting to see what the Mets value to round out this roster. Obviously, in terms of their offense, as noted, one right-handed designated hitter will be added. From there, do they use their other three spots all on pitchers? Whether that be keeping a sixth starter or going with eight relievers? Or, split it up, going with two bats, say Brett Baty with a right-handed DH and two arms? Let’s take a look at the players at different positions who look to be competing.

Starting with the lineup, the Mets look to have three players with a chance to snatch the right-handed DH role this spring. Those players are Darin Ruf, Francisco Alvarez, and Mark Vientos. Do the Mets stick with the veteran in Ruf? Or, let one of the young and exciting prospects in Alvarez or Vientos take it? The ladder does seem to be the better route, with undoubtedly much more upside.

Sticking with the batting order, as noted, Baty will likely be a topic of conversation all spring. He certainly has an opportunity with a respectable Spring Training to carve out some sort of role at third.

Also, the final hitter worth noting here is Danny Mendick, who offers defensive versatility between second base and shortstop. Should Baty or Vientos not earn a roster spot, it paves the way for Mendick to potentially be this team’s sixth infielder.

Then, there is a crowded group of Mets pitchers looking to make this team. As discussed earlier, Peterson and Megill could wind up as a sixth starter. The two could even land in the bullpen, where they recorded a combined 15 appearances in 2022.

With relief pitching arms exclusively, the Mets have many players worth noting, whether it be John Curtiss, Stephen Nogosek, or Bryce Montes de Oca, who were all with the Mets last season. Billy Eppler acquired two veteran arms, Elieser Hernandez and Jeff Brigham, who have a chance. Lastly, young arms acquired this off-season in Stephen Ridings and Zach Greene.

Safe to say, after the 22 roster locks, the Mets have loads of competition for four roster spots between hitters and pitchers that could shake out in a multitude of ways. It will certainly be fun to see how all of this plays out for the Mets this Spring Training.