New York Mets Finish Spring Training With a 3-3 Tie Against the Cardinals

Taijuan Walker gave the New York Mets one final hope that he will be a key stabilizer in their rotation with his start against the St. Louis Cardinals. Walker went five strong innings with only two runs allowed in the 3-3 tie. Manager Luis Rojas played most of his regulars but did all he could to ensure their good health going into Opening Day.

The first inning provided half of the scoring in the game. Pete Alonso put the Mets up 2-0 with an RBI double to cap off a spring where he hit .340 to go along with his majestic power. Nolan Arenado responded with a solo home run in the bottom half, which made it a 2-1 game. The Cardinals got to Walker again with a Matt Carpenter RBI single to knot the game at two.

After Walker left the game, Miguel Castro took over and continued to dominate. Castro hurled a 1-2-3 inning on just eight pitches and recorded a strikeout. Robert Gsellman followed and had his best outing after finding out he will make the Opening Day roster. Gsellman pitched a scoreless seventh, and Jerry Blevins did the same in the eighth.

Late Inning Effort

Mallex Smith‘s double gave the Mets a 3-2 lead in the eight, which led to Trevor Hildenberger’s save opportunity. Edmundo Sosa‘s solo home run tied the game and forced it to finish in a tie. The tie left the Mets with an 11-11-2 spring training record, and Francisco Lindor led the way with a .370 average in March. The big question remains whether Lindor will sign his long-term extension before the season begins or test next season’s free-agent market.

Opening Day on Thursday is the next time the Mets play baseball. They will keep themselves ready in Washington D.C. before Jacob deGrom makes his third consecutive Opening Day start. Max Scherzer makes his sixth Opening Day start and four in a row for the Washington Nationals.

New York Mets: Offense Goes Silent in 3-0 Loss to Cardinals

Carlos Martinez has finally figured out a way to shut down the New York Mets in the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 victory. Martinez had a spring ERA over 10 heading into the outing but righted himself with a dominant outing. He threw six scoreless innings, allowing four hits, and struck out five.

The offense could not muster any consistent offense. They had at least one runner on base in five of Martinez’s six innings but could not parlay it to any run. Despite the slow team offense, Francisco Lindor recorded another hit and moved his spring average to .341. Jeff McNeil‘s double was the only extra-base hit as he tries to get himself out of a cold spell.

Originally Taijuan Walker was scheduled to pitch, but the Mets threw him in the “B” game and started Corey Oswalt. He rebounded from an ugly outing to deliver four innings, holding the Cards to one run. It came on John Nogowski‘s solo home run in the second inning; Nogowski is hitting a scorching 11-for-26 (.423) with two home runs and 11 RBIs. After the homer, Oswalt retired the last seven Cardinals he faced.

After Oswalt, Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances delivered scoreless innings with a walk and strikeout. Miguel Castro struck out two and hit 100 mph on the radar gun to continue his brilliant month. Castro has allowed just one hit over 5.1 innings in March. Jerry Blevins was touched up for the final two Cardinal runs in the eighth inning.

The Mets get Thursday off before returning to Clover Park to face the Washington Nationals. Kyle McGowin (2-0, 2.35 ERA) starts against David Peterson (0-0, 4.50 ERA) at 6:10 p.m. ET.

New York Mets Turn Triple Play in 5-4 Loss to Houston Astros

The New York Mets have already had themselves a 22-pitch walk this spring, and they added a triple play to their list of oddities in spring training. Despite the triple play, the Mets needed more help in their 5-4 loss against the Houston Astros.

Joey Lucchesi cruised through the first two innings of his start but ran into issues in the third. Jose Altuve’s RBI single through a drawn-in infield and Michael Brantley‘s two-run single off Jerry Blevins put the Mets in a 3-0 hole. Lucchesi went back to the mound in the fourth and completed a scoreless inning to finish the start on a good note. At the moment, he should maintain the upper hand over Jordan Yamamoto for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Jerad Eickhoff pitched the next two innings with mixed success. He allowed four hits, two runs (one earned) and was bailed out by getting Jose Altuve to hit into a triple play. Mike Montgomery continued an impressive spring with two strikeouts in two scoreless innings.

The Mets lineup only contained two expected starters for Opening Day and the pitcher batting ninth. Wilfredo Tovar drove in the first run with a fifth-inning double. Albert Almora was responsible for the rest with an eighth inning three-run home run. Almora’s leg kick is tapping into his power stroke as he now has a .556 slugging percentage during spring training.

On Tuesday, the Mets return to Port St. Luice to face the Miami Marlins. Daniel Castano (1-1, 4.05 ERA) faces off against Marcus Stroman (1-0, 2.70). The first pitch is set for 1:10 p.m. ET.

New York Mets: Jerry Blevins is aiming for one of the last bullpen spots

Simeon Woods-Richardson

With the arrivals of right-hander Trevor May and lefty Aaron Loup, the New York Mets have one of the deepest bullpens in the National League, even if they won’t have stellar setup man Seth Lugo available for the start of the season.

Edwin Diaz is supposed the be the closer, and he is one of the best relievers in baseball. May is a fantastic addition, and Loup is a very good lefty to help retire batters of his hand. Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia, as well as Robert Gsellman, are bounceback candidates, and there are lots of hopes put in Sam McWilliams, who the Mets gave a major league deal without ever pitching in the bigs.

For a guy like Jerry Blevins, who is 37 years old and didn’t pitch in MLB last year, making the roster will be a tough task. But the Mets don’t have too many left-handed relievers, and as long as that’s the case, he has hope.

He last pitched in the majors with the Atlanta Braves in 2019, and had a 3.90 ERA in 32.1 frames. He latched on with the San Francisco Giants but was let go in the early stages of the pandemic. He spent those months “chasing around two kids in diapers.”

The Mets came calling

But the Mets called, and he took the opportunity.

“I still have that want,” Blevins said to MLB.com. “I want to win a World Series. Literally the only team I would have come back for is the Mets. My body still feels great. I still have analytics that say my stuff is still the same, so I’m still there, I still have that drive. And then the perfect storm of having a chance to come to New York, where my family loved it, where my first son was born, and they’re a World Series competitor. So it’s going to be tough to make this team, but I still feel like I have an opportunity to do that.”

Trevor Hildenberger, Arodys Vizcaíno, Drew Smith, McWilliams and others are his main competitors for a spot with the New York Mets.

“Right now, my goal is to win a spot on this roster,” Blevins said. “When the time comes, we’ll deal with that as it is. There are a lot of variables that will shake themselves out.”

Blevins has a 3.54 career ERA. Lefties have batted .213 against him, so he has things working for him.

Pair of Homers Power New York Mets to 2-0 Victory Against Astros

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The first two spring training games for the New York Mets have resulted in seven-inning, 2-0 finishes. On Tuesday, they were on the winning side for the first time. Mets pitchers had another strong showing, and solo home runs from Jeff McNeil and Albert Almora Jr. powered the offense.

Marcus Stroman got the start over Jordan Yamamoto and was as good as advertised. Stroman retired all six batters he faced and struck out two. His hard sinker resulted in three groundball outs, and he displayed his brand new changeup as well.

Yamamoto worked around a couple of hard-hit balls to deliver two scoreless innings following Stroman. Jerry Blevins, Drew Smith, and Sam McWilliams finished off the shutout. Mets pitchers have allowed just two runs over 14 innings pitched this Spring.

The bats are still quiet, but the dominant pitching held up the two solo homers. McNeil’s homer came against a hanging curveball from Framber Valdez. Over his career, McNeil has less power against left-handed pitching and is always looking to add more power to his game. Almora is another player looking for more power and has a consistent leg kick in his batting stance. In past seasons, he has used a toe tap which led to increased groundball rates every year of his career.

Prospects Ronny Mauricio, Mark Vientos, Brett Baty, and Pete Crow-Armstrong all made appearances once the starters exited. For Crow-Armstrong, it was his first game in professional baseball, and he struck out in his only at-bat. On Wednesday, the Mets travel to Jupiter to take on the St. Louis Cardinals. Jerad Eickhoff faces Kwang Hyun Kim at 1:10 p.m. ET.

 

 

New York Mets: Full Non-Roster Invites Announced For Spring Training

New York Mets spring training finally begins on February 17th, and the team has announced their full group of players that will join them in Port St. Lucie. The non-roster invites feature an interesting group of veterans signed this offseason and prospects trying to make a name for themselves.

Starting Pitchers: Matt Allan, Jerad Eickhoff, Harol Gonzalez

The Mets opted for three non-roster starting pitcher invites, and all three are in different stages of their careers. Allan is the Mets top pitching prospect and is coming off an impressive 2020 summer camp. He threw just 6.1 professional innings after the 2019 MLB Draft and will get an opportunity to showcase his stuff in big league camp.

Eickhoff has a 5.07 ERA since 2017 after putting up a 3.44 ERA in his first two seasons. If the Mets need starting pitching help, he will be at the top of their list. Gonzalez is coming off a 3.01 ERA in 2019 between AA and AAA. He has been in the minors since the 2014 season.

Relief Pitchers: Jerry Blevins, Oscar De La Cruz, Ryley Gilliam, Trevor Hildenberger, Tylor Megill, Marcel Renteria, Jared Robinson, Arodys Vizcaino, Tom Windle

Blevins is a former Met who has a good opportunity to take Seth Lugo‘s spot in the bullpen if Justin Wilson does not return. De La Cruz spent his first seven professional seasons with the Cubs, has starting experience but found more success in the bullpen during 2019. Gilliam has a great mid-90s fastball and sharp curveball but struggles with walks (5.0 BB/9). He is ranked 21st in the Mets farm system.

During his 2017 rookie season, Hildenberger pitched 37 games with a 3.21 ERA. The next two years combined resulted in a 6.35 ERA; he does bring a unique look with his sidearm delivers. Megill is another reliever with starting experience in the minors; he had a 3.52 ERA in his first full pro season in 2019. Renteria’s highest level is one game in AA and has a 4.76 ERA over 62 minor league games.

Robinson spent six years with the Cleveland Indians and recorded his highest K/9 (12.5) during 2019. Vizcaino has a 3.01 career ERA, but his health is a major liability to any team willing to take a chance on him. Windle is a left-handed reliever with a 4.13 ERA in seven minor league seasons.

Catchers: Francisco Alvarez, Bruce Maxwell, Nick Meyer, David Rodriguez

Alvarez is just 19-years old but is already the second-best prospect the Mets have. It will be exciting to watch him get his first taste of a big-league spring training at such a young age. Maxwell has only a .347 slugging percentage in 127 career games, but his .524 slugging with 25 homers in Mexico intrigued the Mets to sign him last season.

Meyer is getting his opportunity after spending 2020 with an independent league. He has never played above high-A during his career. Rodriguez did not hit much during his seven minor league seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays but had a terrific winter league season. In 44 games, he slashed .376/.473/.567 with five home runs and 28 runs batted in.

Infielders: Brett Baty, Brandon Drury, Jake Hager, Ronny Mauricio, Jose Peraza, Wilfredo Tovar, Mark Vientos

Baty is the third-ranked prospect with tremendous line to line power but needs to improve his defense at third base. Drury is a veteran utility man with a .248 career average over 456 career games. Hager is an infielder who has shown flashes of power with 23 homers during the 2018-19 seasons.

Mauricio is the top prospect in the Mets farm system and should have less pressure with Andres Gimenez on the Indians. Peraza is another utility infielder but only hit .225 in 34 games with the Boston Red Sox during 2020.

Tovar is a former Met with a solid glove but has never hit at the big league level. Vientos is a third baseman and the seventh-ranked prospect for the Mets. He has great power but needs to become a complete hitter before moving on to the next level.

Outfielders: Pete Crow-Armstrong, Johneshwy Fargas, Drew Ferguson, Mallex Smith, Tim Tebow

Crow-Armstrong is the most promising outfield Mets prospect since…Jarred Kelenic. This will be his first professional baseball experience and will be a tall task for a player coming straight out of high school. Fargas is full of speed and pure athletic ability but has never figured it out with the bat. During his minor league career, he has 235 stolen bases but slashes at .255/.331/.342.

Ferguson never hit much as a minor leaguer with the Houston Astros but made great strides in 2019. During 115 games in triple-A, he batted .281 with 65 walks, 11 homers, and 27 stolen bases. Smith is another speedster with two 40-steal seasons under his belt but does not hit for any power. Tebow is going to give it another try after hitting .163 during the 2019 triple-A season. This might be the last chance for his baseball career.

New York Mets Claim Stephen Tarpley Off Waivers From Miami Marlins

The New York Mets continue to add to their minor league depth by claiming left-handed reliever Stephen Tarpley off waivers. Tarpley spent the abbreviated 2020 season with the Miami Marlins after starting his career with the New York Yankees.

The 27-year old struggled and put up a 9.00 ERA over 12 games with the Marlins. Tarpley sharp breaking ball is his trademark pitch to neutralize left-handed hitters. In 2020, lefties actually hit better against him than righties, but throughout his career, Tarpley has typically won those matchups.

Despite a 6.65 career ERA, the Mets needed Tarpley to fill out their bullpen depth. At the moment, Daniel Zamora is the only left-handed reliever on the 40-man roster and is a similar pitcher to Tarpley. Both are long shots at making the roster out of spring training. Tarpley will compete minor league acquisition Jerry Blevins in the Spring as well.

Tarpley, Blevens, and Zamora are all insurance for the possibility of Brad Hand signing elsewhere.

New York Mets Bring Back Reliever Jerry Blevins on a Minor League Deal

The New York Mets are looking for more left-handed depth in their bullpen, and they turned to fan-favorite Jerry Blevins. The 37-year old veteran has not pitched in the big leagues since the 2019 season as a member of the Atlanta Braves.

Blevins spent 2020 with the San Francisco Giants but never got the opportunity to join the big league roster. It was surprising after Blevins had a successful 2019 where he had a 3.95 ERA in a bounce-back season. Outside of the rough season in 2018, Blevins has been one of the most consistent left-handed relievers of the last decade.

Blevins was a key part of the bullpen in 2016 and 2017, where he combined for a 2.87 ERA in 148 games. His looping curveball is still a tremendous out pitch, which allows him to survive with a sinker that sits in the high 80s.

Does He Have a Chance?

Daniel Zamora is the only other left-handed reliever on the 40-man roster, excluding Steven Matz. The three batter minimum rule is something for Blevins to adjust to, but there are no worries there. Blevins dominates the lefties but still retires the righties at a good clip. His veteran presence puts him in a position where a good spring training lands him a roster spot on opening day. The addition of Blevins is another example of a low risk, high reward move the Mets have completed this offseason.