Non-Roster Invites in spring generally break down into two broad categories – prospects that the team wants to give an extended look at, sometimes against major league caliber talent, and plan C players. These are players (sometimes MLB Veterans, sometimes MiLB journey men) that should only be playing on the major league squad if the starter and the major league roster back up player (plans A and B) both find themselves off the field.
The Mets last year invited 26 players to camp on Non-Roster Invitations. Seven of them have already seen major league playing time this season and one should have seen playing time, but the Mets just completely trashed his situation.
Devin Mesoraco: We’re going to start with the player the Mets really messed up. Mesoraco was put into a ridiculous situation where the Mets essentially forced him to retirement. Pretty much immediately after the Mets put him into this boat, the Mets announced that they moved d’Arnaud to the IL and had to use Tomas Nido (who now the Mets pitching staff prefers catching them over Wilson Ramos). Anyway, Devin should have been a 2019 Met and unlike other players on the list, he would have been completely a positive choice.
Luis Avilan: It was pretty clear from when he was signed that Avilan was going to make the team. The team lacked lefties in general and Luis fit the bill. Still his time with the Mets has been pretty awful, allowing 11 runs over a small sample size of 11.0 innings in 12 games with a 5.20 FIP and 2.000 WHIP (46 ERA+). He was injured near the start of May and recently came back.
Hector Santiago: I irrationally like Hector because he came up through the Ironbound little league (let’s go Brick City! Newark!) but if he landed on the Major League roster at any point this season, a lot of things had to go wrong. Well a lot of things went wrong. Before being DFA’d he played in 8 games totaling 8.0 innings allowing 6 runs. He leaves the Mets boasting a 5.20 FIP, 1.875 WHIP and 63 ERA+ in his ridiculously small sample size.
Pete Alonso: The MVP of the first half of the season was an NRI to camp. All of that was normal though and not unexpected. The only surprising thing looking back to Spring was that there was even a debate about whether the Mets should put him on the roster at the start of the season, starting his clock. He’s had a historic start to the season despite everything happening around him.
Adeiny Hechavarria: On a team with so many infielders there was no reason that Hechavarria should have been called up. But he’s here and playing quite a bit. Personally, I see his playing time as a direct reflection on Lowrie situation, the Frazier injury, the mishandling of Jeff McNeil, the mishandling of Luis Guillorme and all the injuries in the outfield (leading to a further deficit in the infield). He’s already had 100 PA’s hitting .229/.260/.427. He’s getting on base nearly 30 points lower than his career OBP of .289, but he is hitting a good amount of pop (career slugging is .427). This is one of those cases where his OPS right now is better than his career (.687 vs .637) but honestly the Mets need people to just get on base. Or be healthy.
Rajai Davis: Davis (and Gomez in the next entry) weren’t supposed to see Queens. Plans C and D. The Mets had too many outfielders! They needed to squeeze in Jeff McNeil, split the time of Juan Lagares and Keon Broxton and at some point Yoenis Cespedes was coming back. In reality: Brandon Nimmo got injured (and moreover, the Mets mishandled his injury), Keon Broxton didn’t work out, Cespedes broke his ankle and landed himself on the IL for the rest of the season. So Rajai Davis got a short cup of coffee. He played in 4 games getting 7 PA’s collecting 2 hits including a big homer. Then once Conforto came back from his concussion (left out of the list of outfield problems earlier), Davis was sent back down.
Carlos Gomez: Carlos Gomez had a homecoming of sorts, coming back to his original team. Carlos Gomez is also a free agent now, so things weren’t great. He got substantial playing time over 34 games, getting 99 PA’s hitting .198/.278/.337. He hit three bombs. He was fun for story lines and remembering a time when the Mets weren’t completely inept.