Picking a full 20-man Taxi Squad right now is next to impossible. Seventy percent of it is not. It will be comprised of several groups. The first is injured players, so unless Cespedes or Lowrie are no go’s to start the season, Noah Syndergaard is the only member. Then comes young players from the 40-man roster, the New York Mets want to keep close tabs on, considering there will be no minor leagues this year. The final group is made up of MLB vets who could step into a role on the main squad quickly.
Most years, there is never enough good pitching to go around. While that may still be true, teams have room to add some quality bats. For example, the New York Mets best right-handed hitter off the bench is Davis, but he will be playing almost regularly. Then comes Jed Lowrie. His status on the active roster is far from a lock. After him, the picture is bleak. The Amazins need another right-handed Major League-ready batter.
Most of these pitchers come with a big “WHO?” attached to their names.
- Noah Syndergaard
- Corey Oswalt
- Tyler Bashlor
- Chasen Shreve
- Stephen Nogosek
- Erasmo Ramirez – Experienced, journeyman MLB starter in camp as a non-roster invitee, is a good insurance policy to have.
- Kevin Smith
- Franklyn Kilome
- David Peterson
- Thomas Szapucki
Corey Oswalt, Tyler Bashlor, Stephen Nogosek, and Chasen Shreve are borderline MLB pitchers who can be called up in case of an injury. Oswalt could just as easily beat out Walker Lockett as the sixth starter. Kevin Smith and Franklyn Kilome are likely a year away from the big leagues. David Peterson and Thomas Szapucki are two of the New York Mets top pitching prospects but are far away from the majors. Both would do well with the extra coaching they would get on the Taxi Squad.
Eduardo Nunez and Ryan Cordell were in camp as non-roster players and are the type of experienced injury call-up candidates that Carlos Gomez, Aaron Altherr, and Rajai Davis were in 2019. If there was ever a time to get Tim Tebow a Major League at-bat or two, this is the year due to the expanded roster.
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Ali Sanchez is catcher insurance, the Mets need more, however. Andres Jimenez is a top prospect. He needs the swings he would get facing “close to MLB pitching” at practice.
With only 14 players on the Taxi Squad and about half not ready for prime time, Van Wagenen will likely sign some veterans who are still on the market. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see players such as Jose Lobaton, Brian McCann, Melky Cabrera, or even Matt Harvey get an invite to the Mets 2020 spring training 2.0.
The New York Mets have the talent to contend for a playoff spot in 2020. Health and consistency are the keys to make it happen.