Marcus Stroman
ESNY Graphics, Getty Images

The New York Mets start off slow in their first games of the 2020 spring season. Here’s everything you need to know from Saturday’s action.

Kyle Newman

New York Mets 3
Miami Marlins 5

The New York Mets hosted the Miami Marlins in Port St. Lucie on Saturday, kicking off their slate of spring training games.

Pitchers

Rick Porcello started the game and struggled in his one inning of work. He allowed one run on two hits while striking out one batter. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering this is Porcello’s first inning of action this spring. This performance was nothing to be concerned about.

The Mets had seven pitchers follow Porcello out of the bullpen. Chasen Shreve struggled the most. He allowed two runs on two hits, including a home run and a hit batter. This was an ominous start for a lefty who is trying to prove himself to his new team.

The highlights after Shreve came from Corey Oswalt, Ryley Gilliam, and Kevin Smith.

Oswalt was the only Mets pitcher who pitched for two innings. Both innings were scoreless and featured inning-ending double plays. It was a strong start to spring for Oswalt, who the Mets are relying on again in 2020 to be quality depth.

Ryley Gilliam was the Mets’ most impressive pitcher in this game. He threw a perfect inning with one strikeout. Gilliam is the organization’s top relief pitcher prospect and will almost certainly reach the majors at some point this year. He’s someone every Mets fan should have their eyes on throughout spring training.

Kevin Smith was a shocking riser in the Mets’ farm system in 2019. He went from relatively unknown seventh-round pick in 2018 to the Mets’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2019. Now he’s in spring training with an eye on making his major league debut in 2020.

He’s off to a strong start with a perfect inning and one strikeout in 2020. The lefty is expected to be a starter this year, but his future could be in the bullpen. It’s nice to see him put together a strong outing coming out of the pen for the first time since 2018.

Position players

The Mets played 17 position players against Miami. The biggest names were Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and Wilson Ramos.

McNeil went 1-for-2 and one run scored as the leadoff man in this game. Pete Alonso went 0-for-3 but reached base on a bizarre play where Marlins centerfielder Monte Harrison dropped a fly ball. He would come around to score. Michael Conforto finished 1-for-3 with a run scored.

Wilson Ramos had the biggest hit on the day for the Mets. His ground-rule double in the first inning scored the Mets’ first two runs of the season. He was 1-for-2 on the day offensively. Ramos was hit and miss defensively. Base stealers were 2-of-3 against him on Saturday. He also just dropped three pitches, two from Rick Porcello.

Ramos’ defense has been talked about all offseason. It was a huge liability in 2019 and caused stress in the clubhouse. He reportedly worked on it all offseason, but his struggles aren’t an encouraging sign.

Give Ramos the benefit of the doubt early on. It isn’t easy to work with new pitchers and Ramos was working with a few new faces. However, he’ll have to do better this season if he wants his third-year option picked up when the season ends.

The other highlights of the day were Andres Gimenez, Max Moroff, and Tim Tebow.

Tebow is always an attraction and Saturday was no different. When he came up to the plate, he received a loud standing ovation from the crowd. Sadly, his one plate appearance was short-lived as he struck out on four pitches.

Andres Gimenez flashed the glove all day long. He looked like the elite defensive prospect that scouting reports have called him. He was a part of three double plays that came in three consecutive innings. Gimenez went 1-for-3 at the plate with a single.

Max Moroff is a name that most don’t know. The Mets signed him to a minor-league deal in the offseason and he’s competing for the 26th spot on the roster. Moroff played all nine innings, something only one other player did, Matt Adams and he was the DH.

He was excellent in the field. He’s versatile enough to play any position on the field except catcher and first base, and he plays all those positions well. He was tasked with playing second base on Saturday and he formed an excellent tandem up the middle with Gimenez.

He was much less successful at the plate. Moroff was a dreadful 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He’s going to need to improve at the plate if he wants any shot at taking the 26th spot from Luis Guillorme.

New York Mets 0
St. Louis Cardinals 2

Pitchers

Marcus Stroman started in Jupiter, FL against the St. Louis Cardinals. He went 1.2 innings allowing one run on a Tyler O’Neill home run. Other than that, he was very good, striking out two batters without surrendering a walk.

Mets relief pitcher prospect Stephen Villines was next in line. The sidearmer only faced two batters to finish the second inning and although he allowed one hit, he escaped the inning unscathed.

Former Minnesota Twins top prospects Stephen Gonsalves made his Mets debut in this game. He pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk.

Gonsalves will be a guy to watch in spring. He could be one the team’s best depth options in either the rotation or the bullpen during the regular season if he’s fully healthy.

Matt Blackham, another top relief pitching prospect, closed out this game by pitching the seventh and eighth innings. He allowed one run on two hits and struck out three which was a decent first showing for the prospect.

Position players

This game featured a whopping 19 position players. The most notable players were Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, and Dom Smith.

Rosario went 0-for-3 in the game. Nimmo went 0-for-2, but he reached on a hit by pitch. He was removed from the game after being hit by the pitch, but reports are he’s fine.

J.D. Davis recorded the Mets’ first hit of the season with a first-inning double. He went 1-for-2 while playing left field. Meanwhile, Dom Smith struck out in both of his at-bats.

It wasn’t the best day for the Mets’ big names. Again, this is spring training and they have plenty of time to right themselves.

The other highlight of the game was Luis Guillorme—that’s it. It was a dreadful offensive display for the Mets in Jupiter.

Guillorme was excellent both offensively and defensively. He went 1-for-2 with a single and of course, Guillorme was his usual electric self in the field. He started a double play with an amazing sliding catch.

This is exactly the start that Guillorme wanted to have as he battles for the 26th spot on the major league roster. The same could not be said for Eduardo Nunez.

The veteran struggled mightily. He’s never been a good defender and that reared its ugly head. As a result, his bat needs to be big to make up for it—it wasn’t. Nunez went 0-for-2 at the plate.

Considering his poor performance over the past two years, it’ll be difficult for Nunez to stake a claim to a roster spot with games like these. He’ll need to step it up in a major way if he wants any shot at making the New York Mets’ Opening Day roster.

NYY

NYM

NYG

NYJ

NYK

BKN

NYR

NYI

NJD

SJU