The calendar has officially flipped to September. The Mets should be preparing for their second straight postseason appearance right now. Instead, they’re spending the final full month of the regular season evaluating players with a focus on 2024.
And now that rosters have officially expanded, we have a couple more young dudes in the mix — one that hasn’t been here before and one that has. Ronny Mauricio will be making his long-overdue debut this weekend at Citi Field. Third baseman Brett Baty is also back from Triple-A.
New York enters its three-game set vs. the red-hot Mariners with a 61-73 record. Instead of fighting for an NL East title, they’re battling the Nationals to stay out of the divisional basement. There are 28 games left on the schedule, which leaves plenty of opportunity to see who can be part of the solution moving forward.
Baty, Mauricio, Mark Vientos, and Francisco Alvarez are all on the big-league roster for the first time. They should be playing just about every day from here on out, too. SNY’s Joe DeMayo shared his thoughts on which dudes should be taking the field every night (and where):
C: Francisco Álvarez
1B: Pete Alonso
2B: Ronny Mauricio
3B: Brett Baty
SS: Francisco Lindor
LF: Jeff McNeil
CF: Brandon Nimmo
RF: DJ Stewart
DH: Mark Vientos
Do this as much as possible the next month. Maybe let Mauricio dabble at 3B/LF too
— Joe DeMayo (@PSLToFlushing) August 31, 2023
I couldn’t agree more with this.
When Baty and Alvarez were first called up toward the beginning of the season, they didn’t initially get regular playing time. The same happened to Vientos during his first run with the Mets earlier in 2023. But New York was trying to revive its chances of being a contender at that time.
Those hopes are long gone. The focus is on the future. We know this club plans on competing in 2024. Before they figure out who to pursue this winter, though, there needs to be a complete evaluation of the internal talent available. It’s hard to draw concrete conclusions in just a month, but it’s what the Mets have to work with at the moment.
We already know Alvarez is part of the solution at catcher. Francisco Lindor is obviously entrenched at shortstop after another solid year. Brandon Nimmo is also going nowhere. And, unless something drastic happens, we can expect the same with Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil.
So, the focus will squarely be on Baty, Vientos, and Mauricio. DJ Stewart could also be playing himself into a 2024 role if he keeps up what he’s done the last couple of weeks.
It’s evaluation time in New York — the same thing is happening in the Bronx. We’ve been wanting to see the kids play since the Mets’ season started taking a nosedive earlier this year. That time is finally here, and it better be happening virtually every day.