New York Mets: Van Wagenen’s depth plans tested early

New York Mets. Citi Field (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New York Mets. Citi Field (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New York Mets
Jeff McNeil. New York Mets. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Plan into Action

So what do the New York Mets do now?

This is where the master plan comes into play. There are plenty of options.

The first choice to fill the void, if it turns into a long term issue, is Jeff McNeil. Last season McNeil came from virtually nowhere to provide the Mets a steady bat at the end of the season. He hit .329 in 225 at bats. Although McNeil didn’t come up until late July, he still finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting.

To get McNeil more at-bats this season, the Mets want to move him to the outfield. He’ll still see time in left field but will also play more third than previously expected.

One of the early trades Van Wagenen made was to acquire corner infielder J.D. Davis from the Houston Astros in January. So far he hasn’t been an effective big league hitter, with a .194 batting average in 181 career plate appearances, but Davis hit .302 at AAA last year. He’ll be given an opportunity to play this spring to earn his spot in the mix early on.

It turns out Van Wagenen had a backup plan to his backup plan. There are three non-roster players with Major League experience at spring training whose chances to make the team have dramatically improved. Sometimes a surprise comes from an unexpected source (see Jeff McNeil). First is Adeiny Hechaverria. A good fielding shortstop by trade, he’ll need to make a better than Jose Reyes adjustment to third to play there.

At one time Dilson Herrera was a fast-rising prospect in the Mets organization. A trade to Cincinnati and several injuries later, he finds himself fighting for an infield job, but is a huge long shot. Speaking of long shots, Gavin Cecchini, a former Mets number one draft choice will get a chance that he didn’t think would happen when the team waived him from their 40-man roster on January 28.

It’s very possible that both Lowrie and Frazier may not miss any regular season time. It’s good the New York Mets are prepared just in case.