New York Mets 2015 Predictions: Lineups, Pitching, Record

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Feb 23, 2015; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets catcher Anthony Recker (20) leads players onto the field during spring training at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

OF/1B John Mayberry Jr.

INF Eric Campbell

C Anthony Recker

INF Ruben Tejada

This isn’t the strongest bench group around, but is more than likely what the Mets will have going into the regular season unless moves are made (trades, free agent signings) or someone surprises during spring training and earns a spot on the roster.

Nieuwenhuis is essentially a lock for the roster, as he is out of options to return to the minor leagues. He also has the edge being a left-handed batter. In the NL, having players off the bench to play matchups is essential because pinch-hitting and double switches are much more prevalent with the pitcher hitting for himself. He has MLB experience, which is a plus because of the injury concerns some of the Mets outfielders are. He saw a big increase in OBP and slugging last season, and excels as a pinch hitter so he should have the inside track to the fourth outfield spot.

Mayberry was one of the few free agent signings the Mets had this season. The six-year veteran has been a major disappointment since being a first round pick in 2005. Mayberry leaves much to be desired, but if held to strictly facing lefties he could be a weapon for the Mets. Last season his OPS was .912 against lefties compared to .568 against righties. That leaves Mayberry as more of a supporting role bench player for Mets. He could also form a pretty decent platoon with Nieuwenhuis if an outfielder goes down, or a decent option at first base when the Mets face a lefty, as Duda struggles mightily against left handed pitchers compared to right handed ones.

Campbell is currently standing on the shakiest ground of any of the players in the bench. He will be competing with Nieuwenhuis, Matt den Dekker and Cesar Puello for the last outfield spot. The advantage that he has over those options is his versatility. Last season Campbell made appearances playing defense at every position on the field except centerfield and catcher. That kind of versatility could really help bolster a bench, and would give the Mets some wiggle room when putting together their final roster. If they are capable with Campbell backing up at both corner infield and outfield spots, they could potentially use the extra roster spot to add an extra arm to the bullpen or a middle infielder for example.

Sep 23, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada (11) throws to first base sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of middle infielders, Tejada will once again be with the Mets big league roster and push for playing time. Collins has yet to give the job to Flores, meaning there is still a chance Tejada gets the job. That sound you hear is the collective tears of Mets fans hitting the ground thinking about having to watch Tejada play big innings again. Tejada is average at best at hitting and fielding, and leaves much to be desired as a player. He is much better suited for a part-time bench role than everyday starter. But for whatever reason, Collins likes to give him playing time. he could force his way into the lineup.

Recker will be the backup catcher, and does everything you would hope from a player holding that distinction. He doesn’t hurt you behind the plate defensively, and provides some pop off the bench; in 309 at-bats with the Mets, Recker has launched 13 home runs. He isn’t a starting caliber catcher, so if d’Arnaud misses time at any point again this season, the Mets could go hunting for another catcher.

Some other names to keep an eye on through spring training are Dilson Herrera and Kevin Plawecki, two of the top hitting prospects the Mets have in their system. Herrera played well as a late season call-up in 2014, while Plawecki has drawn very positive reviews, and could push for playing time with the big league club if d’Arnaud falls to the injury bug or struggles at any point again.

Next: Starting Rotation