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Mets Roster Spots Still up for Grabs Entering MLB Playoffs

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For most of the season, the Mets‘ roster has performed up to par, leading them to 98 wins. However, after the Mets heartbreaking sweep at the hands of the Braves has New York almost certainly ticketed for the Wild Card round of the MLB playoffs, which means they have to make roster decisions sooner than expected. There are a few areas on the Mets roster that need to be addressed in order for the team to find some of the magic they had earlier in the season.

Right-Handed Hitting DH

The designated hitter spot has been the biggest hole on the Mets’ roster for most of the season. They shored things up by acquiring left-handed bopper Daniel Vogelbach, who’s been very productive aside from a brief stretch where he was battling a hamstring issue. In 171 plate appearances with the Mets, Vogelbach has hit .259/.398/.453 (145 OPS+) with six homers and 25 RBIs while walking in 18.1 percent of his plate appearances.

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On the flip side, the righties the Mets have used to DH have been extremely underwhelming. Midseason acquisition Darin Ruf has hit an abysmal .152/.216/.197 with no homers in 74 plate appearances. This past week, Ruf was placed on the injured list with a neck strain. The Mets called up their fifth-ranked prospect, Mark Vientos, but he’s gone just 4-for-30 with 11 strikeouts in 14 games. The Mets called up the game’s top prospect, Francisco Álvarez for the series in Atlanta, but he’s off to an 0-for-8 start to his MLB career.

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Álvarez did show some encouraging signs at the plate though, making solid contact a couple of times and working a few lengthy at-bats. While he’s the least experienced of the DH options, he should be the choice to start against left-handed pitchers.

Final Bullpen Arms

Most of the Mets’ bullpen is set, with Edwin Díaz, Seth Lugo, Adam Ottavino, Trevor Williams, Trevor May, David Peterson, and Joely Rodríguez all likely having secured their spot. This leaves two more spaces available, which will likely include whichever starter is left out of the team’s rotation.

Tylor Megill was converted to being a reliever after his activation from the injured list, but since then he’s been torched to the tune of four runs and four extra-base hits in five appearances. Drew Smith was also recently activated from the IL and he’s had five straight scoreless appearances, allowing just two hits. Smith’s biggest weakness has been the home run ball though, as he’s surrendered nine in just 45 innings. Mychal Givens‘ Mets tenure got off to a rocky start, but he’s bounced back with 9 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. However, Givens has missed the last two weeks due to a Covid-19-related issue. Unlike the other two options though, Givens has postseason experience, having pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in the 2016 Wild Card Game. Considering his body of work, Givens should get the final bullpen spot, with the other one going to whoever loses the rotation battle.

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Final Rotation Spot

Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Chris Bassitt will occupy the top three spots in the Mets’ rotation in some order, but should the team advance past the Wild Card round, their fourth starter will be one of the most important players on the Mets’ roster.

Taijuan Walker and Carlos Carrasco have both been solid this year at the back-end of the team’s rotation. Carrasco has gone 15-7 with a 3.95 ERA/3.48 FIP (98 ERA+) and a 1.324 WHIP with 149 strikeouts in 148 innings (9.1 K/9). Carrasco has also provided some length by going at least six innings in 12 of his 28 starts. However, he’s been tagged for seven runs and 11 hits in just seven innings for his last two starts. Carrasco has postseason experience, having made three playoff starts, including 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Yankees in 2017.

Walker meanwhile has gone 12-5 with a 3.59 ERA/3.79 FIP (108 ERA+), a 1.203 WHIP, and 122 strikeouts in 153 innings (7.2 K/9). Like Carrasco, Walker has excelled at pitching deep into games, throwing at least six innings in 16 of his 28 starts. It’s been an up-and-down second half for Walker though, as he’s pitched to a rough 5.14 ERA while allowing 11 homers in 61 1/3 innings. Over his last two outings, Walker has been tagged for seven runs and 12 hits in 11 innings. While Walker has just one postseason inning in his career, he’s only ever made four relief appearances. Meanwhile, Carrasco has 47 appearances as a reliever in his career and has turned in a solid 3.16 ERA. Walker and Carrasco are similar pitchers, but Carrasco’s experience as a reliever makes it easier to bump him to the bullpen and give Walker the last spot in the rotation.

What are your thoughts on the Mets roster? Let us know in the comments below!

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Mathias is a graduate student at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. He is currently studying Broadcast and Digital Journalism on the Sports Media and Communications track. He graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2021, where he studied journalism and served as the Sports Editor and Opinions Editor for the school's newspaper, The Signal. He joined Overtime Heroics as a writer in June of 2019 and became an editor in December of 2020 before taking over the MLB department in June of 2021. Mathias is also a former varsity swimmer and is the youngest of five kids.