Port Saint Lucie will be packed and ready for baseball. The New York Mets will be starting spring training in a couple weeks. The team is poised for the defense of the National League pennant. After an extremely successful 2015 campaign, where the Mets reached the World Series, the team is returning the pitching staff. The lineup has a few new additions, but has remained the same from the playoffs.
After a successful offseason, the Mets will introduce Neil Walker, Antonio Bastardo, Alejandro De Aza, and Asdrubal Cabrera to the organization. Yoenis Cespedes and Jerry Blevins have returned to finish what was started last season.
With all the depth that the Mets possess, the lineup card will depend on the opposition’s pitcher. Terry Collins has done a solid job getting all the players enough rest and playing time. This season will be another challenge with this year’s talent. Each position is two players deep with quality. This is never a bad problem to have as a manager, but it can be challenging to keep everyone happy.
The one luxury of the 2016 spring training will be the lack of positional competition in camp. The team can remain focused on the prize and preparation for the trip up north. In years past, the pitching was thin and many players were battling for roster spots. The times have changed and the Mets are considered a contender again. With the expectations, the Mets will have to conduct things differently this year. For the first time in Collins’s tenure, the team is expected to win entering spring training.
Last season brought the introduction of a six-man rotation and the famous innings limit for the starting rotation. The likelihood is that the entire pitching staff will be determined and traveling with the big club. The one exception will be Zack Wheeler, who is expected to join the Mets in July. Having the entire staff with pitching coach Dan Warthen will provide an easier task of preparation. The coaching staff can confidently plan the programs for each individual.
Like the pitching staff, the starting fielders and backup fielders should be set. The fielders can take spring training to prepare for possible position changes instead of looking to win their roster spots. The batters can begin to prepare for situational hitting and generally shaking off the rust.
Young, up-and-coming players attempting to win a roster spot is what Mets fans have grown accustomed to in spring training. This year will be thankfully different. Spring training will for the most part be quiet, with the exception of Wheeler and the newcomers.