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2021 NY Mets: Notes From the First Week of Spring Training

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The 2021 NY Mets opened their Grapefruit League schedule on Monday with an 0-2 loss to the Miami Marlins. Obviously, one week of spring training games isn’t at all predictive of regular-season success. However, it can be an indicator of individual performance and opening day roster decisions.

2021 NY Mets: The Starting Lineup

The biggest headline of the spring thus far has been Brandon Nimmo. Despite a 139 wRC+ over the last three seasons, Nimmo is still not regarded as highly as the likes of his offensive equals. Between 2018 and 2020, Nimmo ranked seventh in wRC+ among all outfielders, above Cody Bellinger, Bryce Harper, and Ronald Acuña Jr.

So far, Nimmo is off to a fast start with a double, home run, and .714 batting average over three games.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QB0xuCaSr2U

The only Met whose starting position is in jeopardy this spring is J.D. Davis. Through eight at-bats, he is 3 for 8, all singles. Depending on his performance over the next month or so, Davis could potentially leave the door open for more playing time for Luis Guillorme or Jonathan Villar.

Kevin Pillar has also looked impressive thus far, with one home run and a .857 OBP through seven plate appearances. With the Mets defensive issues in the outfield, if Pillar can show a decent hitting ability, he could look to grab more playing time in the regular season.

Starting Rotation

Not every member of the rotation has gotten a chance to pitch thus far, but the trio of Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and David Peterson showed up to spring training ready to go. They each pitched 2 scoreless innings and combined for 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, and 1 BB. Peterson in particular is looking to impress this spring, as he fights for the fifth rotation spot with Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto.

Despite already being the best pitcher in baseball, deGrom is seemingly still trying to impress, hitting 100 mph multiple times in his first start of the spring.

Rotation members Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker have yet to see in-game action, though Walker is slated to start Tuesday against the Cardinals.

2021 New York Mets: Bullpen Questions

In contrast to the other parts of the team, the start of spring training has given the 2021 NY Mets more questions than answers in the bullpen. Seth Lugo went down with an elbow injury before the start of the preseason; now, presumed roster locks Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances have had concerning first appearances.

Familia struggled to control his pitches, which has been the major flaw in his recent seasons. Betances also faced issues with his control, but also gave up two hits and was rocked for four runs in one inning. Betances’ fastball velocity maxed out at 93 mph, a far cry from the triple-digit speeds he posted at the peak of his career. These two still have plenty of time to turn things around, but if they continue to struggle, the Mets pen could look awfully thin come opening day.

Jacob Barnes was claimed off waivers by the Mets and is a candidate for a spot in the bullpen. However, his odds took a blow in his first appearance this week when he was shelled for three runs in a single inning. This potentially opens the door for someone like Robert Gsellman or Tommy Hunter, both of whom performed well in their first spring action.

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David Murtha is an MLB writer covering the New York Mets as well as general baseball news. He is a lifelong Mets fan born and raised in Queens. He is also currently a student at Stony Brook University studying biology, and has previously written for other online publications.