The New York Mets invited 25 minor league players to major league spring training last year with Non-Roster Invites. Like most years the group was a mix of veterans looking for another chance and prospects looking to get more experience. Last year’s group included the 2019 Rookie of the Year winner, a player who couldn’t wait to get released from the Mets, and a player who the Mets essentially forced to retire. Like everything else with the Mets of the last few years it was a mixture of terrific luck and talent swirled with front office mismanagement.
I’m sure I missed a few players as the Mets made several signings last year during spring, if you know someone I forgot, drop their name below. And now the list:
Tim Tebow: Tebow sells tickets, we know this about him. It’s easy to forget that before breaking his hand in 2018, he had a decent year, hitting .273/.336/.399. That didn’t continue in Syracuse last year as he hit .163/.240/.255. He currently has a NRI to this year’s spring training big league camp.
Rymer Liriano: Liriano was one of several former major league outfielders trying to get back to the big leagues with the Mets last year. He ended up playing in 82 games in Syracuse hitting .209/.346/.403
Rajai Davis: Davis saw some major league time with the Mets last year while everything was falling apart. He got into 29 games getting 26 PA’s hitting .200/.231/.400. He’s currently a free agent
Gregor Blanco: Blanco did not see time with the major league club after spring training, playing 118 games in Syracuse getting 426 PA’s, hitting .246/.339/.745. He recently accepted a job with Major League Baseball, ending his major league career where he saw games between 2008-2018.
Dilson Herrera: Herrera was a huge surprise all season in the Mets minor system making a tremendous comeback, yet the Mets never called him up. In 117 games and 460 PA’s he hit .248/.330/.501. He currently has a NRI with the Baltimore Orioles
Danny Espinosa: Espinosa failed to make the majors for a second straight year. He saw a lot of playing time in Syracuse getting 542 PAs over 129 games hitting .256/.338/.440. He is currently a free agent.
Gavin Cecchini: Drafted by the Mets in 2012, it looks like his time with the Mets organization is over as he was granted free agency after the season season. He saw time with the Mets in 2016 and 2017 and for various reasons since then couldn’t make it back. Across three levels in the Mets system last year he he played in 48 games and had 177 PAs with a slash line of .248/.305/.344. This past winter he went to the Australian Baseball League and had 76 PAs over 19 games and hit .278/.303/.417.
Pete Alonso: Probably the most well known player on this list. It’s worth remembering at the start of last season there were voices in and outside of the Mets system calling for Alonso to start the year in the minors to manipulate his playing time. Luckily that didn’t happen and Alonso went on to hit over 50 homers, win the Home Run Derby, win the rookie of the year and coin “LFGM”. He had one of the best years a Met could have, one that we’ll all remember forever.
Ali Sanchez: Ali is a catching prospect that is high in the Mets system and because of both being not ready yet and the team wanting to get him regular reps, he remained largely unaffected by the Mets catching drama that plagued the team in Queens for much of the season. In Binghamton last year over 71 games and 294 PAs he hit .278/.337/.337. The good times didn’t continue when he was promoted to Syracuse, at a whopping 4.9 years below the average player age. In 65 PAs (21 games) he hit .179/.277/.250. Sanchez is now on the 40-man roster and will be back in camp this year.
Colton Plaia: Colton saw some playing time in Syracuse this year over 43 games hitting .152/.200/.224. He was granted free agency in November.
Devin Mesoraco: This was one of the harder to understand stories of the Spring last year. The Mets knew that Travis d’Arnaud was not ready for the start of the season, and should have just put Mesoraco on the roster, instead they placed him in AAA. He thought he had a deal that if he wasn’t going to make the major league club, he would be released, which is a normal thing for baseball teams to do with the type of NRI that Mesoraco had + his history as a major league hitter. The Mets refused to bend and instead forced Mesoraco into an early retirement. This probably has impacted the type of veteran players the Mets have been able to get to come to Spring Training this year. Who wants to get played by an organization that was trying to stack and trap former MLB players on their new AAA club?
Steve Villines: A relief pitcher for the Mets who is still part of the organization, Villines pitched in 41 games last year. In his 28 for Binghamton, he was wonderful, pitching 45.0 innings with a 1.80 ERA and a 1.067 WHIP. In Syracuse things didn’t go so well in 13 games, 16.0 innings with a 7.31 ERA and a 1.938 WHIP.
Patrick Mazeika: Mazeika has another spring training invite with the Mets this upcoming season as well. The 25 year old played 116 games in Binghamton last year with 462 PAs hitting .245/.312/.426. He then went to the Arizona Fall League where in 13 games and 48 PAs he hit .174/.208/.239. We’ll say more about him later on in our 2020 preview article series.
Joshua Torres: Currently a free agent, Joshua saw 17 games and 29.0 innings with Binghamton this year were he posted a 7.45 ERA and a 1.621 WHIP. This winter he has pitched in 15 games with 15.0 innings of work for Mayaguez in the Puerto Rico league posting a 4.80 ERA and he has 1.0 innings of no run ball in 2 games in the Caribbean World Series.
Corey Taylor: Still with the Mets, currently does not have an invite to major league camp. Taylor, drafted in 2015 was limited due to injuries last year and missed time between May and September. When he was playing, he did well, posting a 2.37 ERA over 19.0 innings and 10 games. Maybe he’ll find his way back into the conversation this summer depending on how the Mets bullpen does.
Hector Santiago: I was rooting for Santiago last year, from Newark, NJ where I spent the 9 years of my life as a teacher, 7 years as a resident. The Mets signed Santiago as rotation depth and needed him for the bullpen, bringing him up for 8 games and 8.0 innings where he posted a 6.75 ERA. He was given free agency in June and signed with the White Sox where he he pitched in 11 games with 25.2 innings posting a 6.66 ERA. He currently has an NRI deal with the Tigers for the 2020 season.
Ryder Ryan: He is still kicking with the Mets and was the #23 prospect in the Mets system last year according to Baseball America. He had a successful 2019 pitching in 44.1 innings with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.263 WHIP. He doesn’t have an official NRI this season, but because he was part of those trades from a few years ago and his age, 25, I wouldn’t be surprised if he slips into some split squad games. Depending on how the Mets bullpen goes this year, if Ryan is successful in the minors he could force himself onto the 40 man at some point this year.
David Peterson: Thanks to all of the trades from the last 14 months, Peterson is now the Mets #1 starting pitching prospect in terms of a combination of talent and age. (departures of Justin Dunn, Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson helped create this situation). Peterson has another NRI to Mets camp this year. Last year he pitched in 24 games and 116.0 innings with a 4.19 ERA and 1.345 WHIP. He then pitched in the Arizona Fall League for 13.0 innings over 4 games with a 3.46 ERA.
Ryan O’Rourke: The former Twin signed a minor league deal with the Mets before last year and saw some time at the major league level, like literally just some time. He got into 2 games totaling 1.1 innings allowed 3 walks and nothing else. In Syracuse he had a 3.27 ERA over 36 games and 44 innings before he was granted free agency and signed back with the Twins organization who let him go at the end of the season.
Anthony Kay: We had a lot of high hopes for Kay going into last season but he was traded at the deadline with Woods-Richardson for Marcus Stroman. In the short term, this is a good deal for the Mets that they made weaker by not resigning Zack Wheeler. This half step in / half step out mentality with prospects in the long run will hurt the Mets as Anthony Kay continues to develop with the Blue Jays. We wish him nothing but the best and miss him in our system.
Arquimedes Caminero: Another signing for pitching depth, Arquimedes never made it to the major league level last year. He pitched in 17 games in Syracuse totaling 17.2 innings with a 5.09 ERA. He was released from the Mets in the middle of the season and then he transitioned to the Mexican Baseball League.
Luis Avilan: From the moment the Mets signed Avilan to a non-roster deal it was inevitable that he would make it to the major league club. With the departure of Blevins, the only lefty the Mets had in the bullpen was Zamora so Avilan was brought in to directly compete for that role. Avilan ended up pitching in 45 games and 32.0 innings with the Mets with a 5.06 ERA, a huge departure from his career ERA over 3.28. He is currently in Yankees camp with a NRI.
Adeiny Hechavarria: Signed to be a defensive depth, Adeiny saw quite a bit of playing time with the Mets getting 151 PA’s and slashing a .204/.252/.359. Once the Mets released him in August he signed with the Braves and hit .328/.400/.639 all while bashing the Mets as a franchise. The Mets deserved every bit of it.
Carlos Gomez: Things come full circle and Gomez, traded by the Mets after his rookie year, almost acquired by the Mets for Flores in 2015, came back to the Mets and saw some playing time this year getting into 34 games and 99 PAs hitting .198/.278/.337. He retired at the end of the year.
P.J. Conlon: The Mets released the pitcher from Belfast in the middle of the season, who didn’t make it back to the majors. Across various Mets levels last year he pitched in 13 games and 14.2 innings with a 4.91 ERA.