Five Mets Minor Leaguers With A Chance To Impress This Spring

By Mets Daddy

February 16, 2018 16 Comments

The one thing that is interesting about Spring Training is you never know which prospect is going to make a name for themselves. Personally, the one that always comes to mind is Dillon Gee having good Spring Training causing then Mets manager Jerry Manuel to take notice. With that, Gee had an important champion in the Mets organization, and when the opportunity finally presented itself, Gee would get a call-up to the majors despite struggling in Triple-A with an injured shoulder. From there, Gee has put together a nice MLB career.

This Spring Training, there are a number of Mets pitchers who will now have the opportunity to impress new manager Mickey Callaway. Aside from the big names like Dominic Smith, here are five names to keep an eye on during this Spring Training:

RHP Tyler Bashlor

MMN Rank: 14

Bashlor was added to the 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft because he has great stuff highlighted by an upper 90’s fastball. He combines that pitch with a sharp curve which has led to the flamethrower putting up big strikeout numbers in the minors. His stuff was a big reason why he quickly went from closing in St. Lucie to closing for a Binghamton Rumble Ponies team who was fighting for a postseason berth.

If there’s any issue with Bashlor, it’s the walks. In his career, he’s walked 5.0 batters per nine, and he walked 5.4 batters per nine in 34 appearances for St. Lucie. Those are unsustainable numbers.

Still, he has immense talent which could one day lead to him closing for the Mets one day. Before we get to that point, he has an opportunity to work with Callaway, Dave Eiland, and Triple-A pitching coach Mickey Abbott to help him eliminate the walks. If he does, he’s going to contribute at the Major League level next year.

LHP P.J. Conlon

MMN Rank: 24

For the second straight Spring, Conlon finds himself as a non-roster invitee with a an outside chance to make the Opening Day bullpen as a left-handed reliever. Certainly, Conlon has earned the chance as he knows how to get batters out, especially left-handed batters.

Last year, he limited left-handed batters to a .252/.273/.358 batting line, and in 2016, he was even stingier limiting them to a .216/.267/.288 batting line. Conlon does this because he located well, and he has a great change-up.

However, with his topping out in the 80s, it appears the Mets have their doubts about Conlon’s viability as a Major League starter. In Spring, Conlon is both going to get the chance to prove his stuff will work in the Majors similar to what we have seen with Jamie Moyer and Bartolo Colon. More than that, he’s going to get a chance to show he belongs in the Majors right now to fill a now vacant second left-handed reliever spot in the bullpen.

RHP Corey Oswalt

MMN Rank: 12

Oswalt is coming off an outstanding year in Binghamton, and as a result, he was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. Oswalt did this because he was able to locate all four pitches, and he has shown the ability to throw his fastball in the mid 90s. While all of the Double-A took notice of Oswalt, the Mets did as well adding the starter to the 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

It is no secret the Mets have health issues with their starters. Over the past two seasons, almost every Mets starter currently on the 40 man roster has had injuries requiring DL stints lasting more than half a season, requiring surgery, or both. As of the moment, the Mets have not added another starter to the roster, which has created an opportunity to show he should be at the front of the line when the Mets inevitably need another starter.

2B Luis Guillorme

MMN Rank: 10

Right now, the Mets have a trio of injury prone second baseman in Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Reyes, and Wilmer Flores. If one or any of the three go down with injury, there will be an opportunity for Guillorme, who is arguably the best defensive middle infielder in the Mets organization.

At the moment, we know he’s a great fielder. The question mark on him is whether he can hit enough to play in the Majors. To that end, early indications are Guillorme has increased his launch angle. If true, and the transformation is a successful one, Guillorme’s career will transform to not if he can be the Mets second baseman of the future, but when he will be the Mets second baseman. Given the aforementioned injury histories, he may get his chance next year.

C Patrick Mazeika

MMN Rank: 28

With Tomas Nido‘s BABIP normalizing, he had a disappointing year at the plate for Binghamton last year. While the Mets are understandably high on him due to his defensive skills, Nido’s struggles do present an opportunity for another catcher to distinguish himself.

Essentially, Mazeika is everything Nido isn’t. In his career, Mazeika has shown himself to be a good hitter, who is quite adept at getting on base. What is interesting with him is he has shown glimpses of power; however, it should be noted those flashes have mostly come when he is filling in at first base for extended stretches.

What remains at issue is his defensive abilities. It is an area where the 6’3″ catcher continues to make strides, but ultimately, the question is whether he is progressing quickly enough. With him being a non-roster invite to Spring Training, he is going to get the benefit of getting in work with Major League coaches like Glenn Sherlock, which could help him make the adjustments necessary to take the next step in his career.

Ultimately, if the Mets coaching staff sees what they like with him, he may soon find himself in the Major League mix at catcher. Having watched Travis d’Arnaud‘s injuries the past few years as well as Kevin Plawecki having mostly struggled in the Majors, his chance may come sooner than expected.

Overall, the Mets have a number of Minor Leaguers who are going to get a chance to go out there and show the Mets why they should be an important part of the future. In the end, it is up to them to emulate Dillon Gee and make the most of this opportunity. If they do, we may see them in Queens sooner than anticipated.

  • Nessim Toledano

    I think Mazeika’s inclusion on this list is a little idealistic. With five catchers in camp, and spring games starting early now, he probably won’t be in camp long enough and won’t get enough reps to make an impression. Between his defensive limitations, lack of power, and only 21 ABs above A-ball, he probably doesn’t have the tools (yet) with which to make that impression, anyway. He’s just here to get a taste of what big league camp is like so that he’s more comfortable with it next year when he might legitimately warrant a place in camp. Thats been Sandy’s explanation in the past for why he likes to bring would-be double-A players into camp. It seems pretty clear that it applies here.

  • Nessim Toledano

    With Oswalt, Guillorme, and Bashlor already on the 40-man, they’re not here just to make an impression. They’re actually competing for their spots on the depth chart. Just because they’re new to the rosters doesn’t mean they have to sit at the bottom of that chart. They can surpass guys like Molina, Flexen, and Cecchini who were there ahead of them.

  • Nessim Toledano

    The guy who belongs athte very top of this list is David Thompson. Its his first official invite to major league camp. And while everyone here at MetsMinors has annointed him a legitimate big leaguer who will arrive sometime in the next two years, the rest of the baseball world has barely even noticed him, or regards him as a marginal talent.
    He’s a year away from Rule 5, and this spring is the time for him to get himself stamped as a front-runner to get protected, and possibly even get considered as a guy to watch for an early September call-up.
    Drew Smith came in with a reputation. But its his first camp with the Mets, and the first time for him to make an impression with the entire Mets brass.

  • Rob Thomas

    Making an impression doesn’t have to come in games. Showing off the tools and skill set in the day to day can be huge. Great opportunity for many of these younger guys to do.

  • Nessim Toledano

    At what point did I say that the impression had to come in games??
    I didn’t. What i said was that he won’t be in camp long enough or get enough reps to make much of an impression. I also suggested that (for various reasons), he probably doesn’t (yet) have the tools to make an impression.

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  • Bro it means everything to these guys to get this chance to be seen by all these MLB coaches .
    They don’t see these guys coming up the levels.
    Right from spring their separated from the MLB folks.
    They’re also separated somewhat based on their prospect status even though it’s not actually told or brought up as a conversation.

  • Rob Thomas

    You’re pretty much a clown on here. Implying you’re better than everyone else with your knowledge. Hitting every day has the chance to make an impression. Every guy in camp has a chance to make an impression.

  • Nessim Toledano

    I’m not implying anything. I’m just expressing my opinion. I didn’t realize that needed to be specifically stated in order to avoid offending you. You’re the only clown who feels the need to resort to name calling.
    Yes, of course he has “a chance” to make an impression. That fact is generic and so blatantly obvious that it goes without saying. Because, as you’ve pointed out, EVERY guy in camp has a “chance” to make an impression. So why single out this guy? Because thats what this article is saying/doing. The article is singling out 5 specific guys. In doing so, it is essentially suggesting that they STAND OUT as guys who have a MORE significant chance of making an impression than the others. My point is that, out of the the 20 or so other guys who have yet to form a reputation, this particular guy doesn’t stand out to me as MORE likely to do that, and may even be less likely due to his inexperience and a tool set that has shown to have some flaws and is still [more of] a work in progress, both on offense and defense.

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  • Rob Thomas

    Whatever you say captain

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  • Mets Daddy

    I’m not as big on Thompson as others, and with the Mets depth being what it is, I don’t see an avenue for him to truly impress.

  • Mets Daddy

    Each season, Mazeika has made strides defensively, and he’s a much better bet with the bat than Nido.

    He’s certainly in a position to raise his profile in an organization trying to figure out their long term depth.

  • Nessim Toledano

    Yes, Mazeika has made strides defensively. But he’s still a work in progress. And the rest of your argument is moot. What you think of Mazeika’s future and where he is at present are two different issues. The MEts aren’t making long-term assessment based on a few weeks of spring training. That assessment is an on-going process. Coming into ST, Mazeika is the least advanced, least progressed position player in camp. But while he’s pretty good across the board, he doesn’t have that one outstanding tool that would open eyes and make a big impression at this juncture.

  • Nessim Toledano

    Thompson is a guy who already looked good last spring, had a solid AA season, and a very good AFL campaign. As such, he’s well positioned to make an impression. He’s also the most advanced 3B prospect by at least two levels, and the major league starter is gone in two years. Depth? What depth? There’s no one at AA, and right now, no true 3B at St Lucie that we know of. (Tiberi had about a week’s worth of ABs in Columbia last year, and Gimenez posted a sub-.700 OPS there).