Like most teams, the Mets endured their share of injuries and other issues throughout Spring Training -- such is the reality of baseball in March. But by and large, they came through the bulk of camp unscathed, setting themselves up for a year unlike any other over the past decade.
On paper, the Mets will enter the season with arguably their best Opening Day roster since at least 2009. They filled all their offseason needs to varying degrees, then watched those players begin the process of gelling together over six weeks of Spring Training.
It’s almost time to see how it all comes together when the lights shine bright. But before that happens, here’s a look back at everything that happened in Port St. Lucie, Fla.:
The stars shined all spring for the Mets, who watched Jacob deGrom hit 102 mph on the radar gun, Francisco Lindor clubbed four home runs over a five-game stretch and Pete Alonso reverted to his 2019 form. The Mets certainly don’t lack for star power in their clubhouse, with those three joining Michael Conforto, Marcus Stroman, Edwin Díaz and others. All of them performed well in Spring Training, giving the Mets the foundation they need to establish themselves as NL East favorites -- or at least close to it.
Just as he was ramping up from a bout of right elbow soreness midway through March, Carlos Carrasco tore his right hamstring during conditioning drills. Carrasco had been slated to slot behind deGrom in the Mets’ rotation, but he’ll instead miss the first month or more of the season rehabbing from his injury. The Mets also lost bench player José Martínez to a torn knee ligament and, just before camp began, Seth Lugo to a bone spur from his right elbow.
Player who opened eyes
Those concerned about Alonso’s future had their worries eased by his strong spring performance. Much like in 2019, when Alonso dominated the Grapefruit League en route to a 53-homer rookie season, the first baseman again demonstrated his muscle throughout Spring Training. Alonso hit three homers and four doubles over his first 10 games, often going to the opposite field with prodigious power -- and all that after he failed to hit a single home run last spring. The Mets will have no qualms using Alonso as their regular cleanup hitter in 2021 and are no longer fretting over what to do if Dominic Smith outplays him on a regular basis.
Had Luis Guillorme's 22-pitch walk on March 14 taken place in a regular-season game, it would have set a modern record for pitches in a plate appearance. As it was, Guillorme had to settle for the second quirky spring highlight of his career. Four years ago, when he was still a prospect, Guillorme became a social media darling for snatching an errant bat out of the air with his hand.
Guillorme is now an established member of the Mets’ bench, but he hasn’t lost his flair for the dramatic. Facing hard-throwing Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks, Guillorme fouled off 16 pitches before finally walking on the 22nd pitch of the plate appearance. All the while, the Clover Park crowd roared its approval, as did Guillorme’s teammates in the dugout.