1) Should the Mets be worried about Jeurys Familia?
I don't think so. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling Mickey Callaway and pitching Dave Eiland are pushing Familia to back off his fastball velocity so it's closer to where he throws his sinker and slider.
This will help him get more ground-ball, one-pitch outs again, like he did so well in 2015, as opposed to elevating the ball, getting swings and misses and larger pitch counts. Or, his shoulder was truly tight recently, as he said...
In either case, though he struggled during his first four or five appearances this spring, he has looked far more effective his last two times out. In his last appearance, he had more sink and movement working for him.
The point is, for whatever reason, it was a rocky start, but there's now evidence to trust he'll be fine come Opening Day...
2) Do you agree that Alderson's farm system is fourth-worst in MLB?
These lists, like the one published today by MLB.com, tend to be more about upper-level prospects ready to make an impact at the big-league level than they are about the state of the overall system (top to bottom).
For instance, the Mets are one of just three teams to have no one representing them on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list. The thing is, next spring and maybe as soon as this summer, I'm willing to bet that SS Andres Gimenez, LHP David Peterson, 1B Peter Alonso, and possibly LHP Thomas Szapucki are all on MLB.com's Top 100 list. And, as a result, the Mets will skyrocket up the overall organizational list...
"Gimenez reminds me a lot of a young Edgar Renteria," a scout told me in February. "He's fluid, very sound and sure-handed in the field. Like Edgar, I don't see him filling out enough to ever be a power guy, but -- again, like Edgar -- he can put the ball in play with enough speed behind it to a useful, old school No. 2 hitter."
Gimenez is 19 years old and likely to begin this season with Single-A St. Lucie. Being that Amed Rosario is the assumed big-league shortstop for at least the next five years, I'm curious to see when Alderson and Terry Collins begin trying Gimenez out at second base, where he has played a bit during winter ball, but never for the Mets.
For what it's worth, I keep being told that Low-A 3B Mark Vientos and C Ali Sanchez, as well as 16-year-old Ronny Mauricio, are three players that will absolutely turn up on these lists at some point during the next few years...
The point is, the Mets have prospects coming and players that other teams are intrigued by, at least enough to ask about them in trades this past winter. This also means they'll have players to work with this summer when entertaining dealing for help around the non-waiver trade deadline.
3) Who will start in center, Brandon Nimmo or Juan Lagares?
At this point, it's fairly obvious that Nimmo will get the bulk of playing time in center field up through when Michael Conforto is ready to return from the DL and play every day.
Nimmo has been swinging the bat well this entire spring, including picking up seven extra base hits in 17 games. More important, he's showing he is the obvious choice to also be the team's leadoff hitter, given how he's woking counts, seeing pitches and has reached base during 13 of his 17 games.
Meanwhile, Lagares has been struggling since setting foot in St. Lucie.
Lagares reportedly hired a swing coach to this offseason in hopes of hitting more balls in the air, but so far that hasn't happened. He's now hitting .175 with a .233 OBP, but -- more importantly -- not having any quality at-bats.
"He's still thinking about mechanics," Mets manager Mickey Callaway recently said of Lagares. "Sooner or later you've got to go out there and not worry about what you've been working on and go put good swings on the baseball."
Meanwhile, in the 68 at-bats Nimmo has had during his career when leading off an inning, he's hitting .350 with a .426 OBP, including seven extra-base hits. Even better, he's been the first batter of a game 11 times and reached base six times. This is a super small sample size, but it's consistent with his time in the minor leagues, as well as this spring, suggesting it may be who he is and what to expect when asked to kick-start the lineup each day.
In spring training, I had one scout predict to me that Nimmo will always be a fourth outfielder, occasional starter, because what he lacks in lift, he doesn't make up for with his glove. On the other hand, a different scout said Nimmo -- at just 24 years old -- is fully capable of producing like a a Michael Brantley, i.e., 140 games, 10-15 homers, 30 doubles, .280 average with a .380 OBP, and 3'ish WAR playing the corner outfield.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!