RHP Kyle Wright is dealing with arm soreness, which might open a window for Bryce Elder, Jared Shuster, Kolby Allard and Mike Soroka. Have to imagine Soroka will get pushed to the front of the line if he ever gets 100 percent healthy and finds his rhythm, but for now, Allard is pitching well in spring to at least keep himself in the conversation. For anyone seeking upside from this opportunity, Shuster makes for an interesting play. A first-round pick in 2020, he’s the club’s number one prospect by a long ways and finished up last year with 48.2 innings in Triple-A.
Marcell Ozuna is the DH and Eddie Rosario is the left fielder. Neither seems particularly locked into their jobs, even if Rosario got his eyes lasered this offseason in an effort to make more contact. He was reportedly playing through blurred vision in his right eye, which would help to explain his collapsing outcomes. If he can see again, the countables should be there in an elite lineup.
Ozuna’s diminishing outcomes feel karmic. Atlanta would probably be better off without him on offense, defense and beyond, but he’s signed through 2024. Sam Hilliard and Jordan Luplow could form a platoon to match Ozuna. d’Arnaud and Sean Murphy will pick up some starts at DH. Orlando Arcia could play his way into the lineup. Ozuna could just get phased out. I wouldn’t draft him taking 500 plate appearances for granted. Atlanta also has Kevin Pillar in camp on a non-roster invite. Even NRI Eli White looks more big league viable than Ozuna.
In case anyone’s asking, yes, I’m still collecting all the Vaughn Grissom I can get. If he hits .290 with 20-plus homers and 20-plus stolen bases, I will not be surprised.
RP Nick Anderson has looked sharp in his return from necrosis of the throwing arm. Not likely to cut into the ninth inning picture with Iglesias and Minter but nice to see nonetheless. Might be some nice ratios in a wins-vulture role.
Everything seems pretty settled in both the lineup and the rotation. The bullpen is a different story, but the word from Skip Shumaker is that the ninth will be handled by a committee composed of Matt Barnes, Dylan Floro, AJ Puk, and maybe JT Chargois.
Jorge Soler is at DH and Avisail Garcia is in right field. Neither has necessarily earned his keep, but they both bring home quite the keep, so Jordan Groshans and Jesus Sanchez open the season on the outside looking in.
Dodgers import Jacob Amaya could eventually push for Joey Wendle’s job at shortstop, but spring feels like a stretch. Amaya has a trend of repeating a level and improving drastically the second time around, so keep a close eye on him in his second season at Triple-A.
Kim Ng is on her last contract year, which is always of note when it comes to timelines on any major maneuvers. The club could turn to Eury Perez early if anyone in the rotation falters.
Brett Baty is making an early push for playing time, and Eduardo Escobar is taking reps in the outfield. I think we’re trending toward 500-plus plate appearances for the rookie. Shouldn’t surprise anyone if we see him in the opening day lineup.
Ronny Mauricio is having a loud spring, and while he’s not at all likely to break camp, the club doesn’t exactly have him blocked at DH beyond 2023. Dan Vogelbach has been excellent and inexpensive for the Mets, but Mauricio could force the issue if his winter and spring success carries over to the regular season. I suspect he’ll get some outfield reps early in Triple-A. He could bounce around the diamond and switch off at DH with Francisco Alvarez and Vogelbach. Oh and there’s still Tommy Pham and Darin Ruf. Luis Guillorme too. Deep team. They can sustain a lot of damage throughout the year if they have to.
And in the rotation, they might have to, something they sort of acknowledged this week in saying they’ll use a six-man crew at times during the season. That’s good news for David Peterson and maybe Tylor Megill and Jose Butto. Kodai Senga is accustomed to that extra day, so they could just go ahead and give him that to ease the transition in year one. They might want to rest Max Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco and Justin Verlander once in a while, too. October is the goal, but this division is so tough, the Mets may not get to pick and choose the way they might be thinking about it in March.
Bryce Harper is recovering from Tommy John surgery, so Darick Hall is an everyday player, or at least a strong side platoon, for the first couple months.
Noah Song is probably going to make this team, is my guess. The Josh Harrison signing for $2 million could let the team send Dalton Guthrie to Triple-A so he can play everyday. Edmundo Sosa has been playing outfield as well, so the two veterans could form a short, flexible bench.
Enter the Andrew Painter question. As I write this on Friday afternoon, Painter is headed for tests on his tender throwing elbow. If that’s all the information we have, it’s hard to feel optimistic.
On a positive note, Seranthony Dominguez is awesome. He might not close this season with all the bodies bodies bodies in that bullpen, but he’ll close soon, and he’ll close well.
This whole team is a playing time opportunity.
CJ Abrams is going to steal 40 bases. It’s anyone’s guess what that’ll be worth in 2023, but I’m inclined to punch my ticket and go along for the ride. Few players offer as much cost v. topside appeal as Abrams.
I’m about to draft Joey Meneses at 219 if he makes it through the next three picks. Manager Davey Martinez has said Meneses will play outfield, first base and designated hitter. Let’s hope that’s true. He did make it through, so he’s now a TGFBI outfielder for me.
I have 3B Jake Alu on a bunch of teams, too. He’s always hit well and always looked good doing it thanks to a polished approach and smooth swing from the left side. Washington has him taking outfield reps this spring, and if he’s good enough to fake it til he makes it out there, he should be able to collect a lot of at bats this summer. Roster resource has Stone Garrett on the bench and Corey Dickerson in left field. Maybe that’s how it will look early, but I can’t think of any reason for this team to play Dickerson over Garrett or Alu. Jeimer Candelario is penciled in at third, and I’d prefer to see Alu there too if I were running the Nationals, but Candy might make enough sense as a reclamation project to get some runway.
Dominic Smith has been a very good major league hitter and he’s been a pretty bad major league hitter. Which version will show up to an everyday opportunity in Washington? I’m taking a flier where I can fit him just in case it’s the good Dom.
Hunter Harvey is a fun saves speculation pick even though I like Kyle Finnegan’s chances of keeping the job. If Finnegan is really good, he could be shipped out before the trade deadline.
Thanks for reading!
Best of luck in all your drafts!