WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Little has changed since we first projected the Mets' Opening Day roster in this space approximately five weeks ago. Aside from David Wright's injury, which should knock him out for Opening Day, nearly everyone projected to make the Mets' roster back then is still in
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Little has changed since we first projected the Mets' Opening Day roster in this space approximately five weeks ago. Aside from David Wright's injury, which should knock him out for Opening Day, nearly everyone projected to make the Mets' roster back then is still in position to do so now.
But every spring includes some adjustments. The following reflects how the Mets' Opening Day roster is rounding into shape:
Catcher (2): Travis d'Arnaud, Rene Rivera
No change here, with d'Arnaud's hot Grapefruit League start -- a .323 average and two home runs in 31 at-bats -- only vindicating the Mets' decision to commit to him at catcher. Behind d'Arnaud, Kevin Plawecki's knee injury, which kept him out of two weeks' worth of Grapefruit League games, sabotaged any chance he had to unseat Rivera for the backup job.
First base (1): Lucas Duda
Though Duda will be the only primary first baseman on the Opening Day roster, the Mets have tried out Wilmer Flores, Jay Bruce, Neil Walker and T.J. Rivera at the position. Realistically, Flores will serve as Duda's primary backup, with Rivera ready to go in a pinch. Only if Duda suffers another injury will Bruce or Walker receive serious consideration there.
Second base (2): Walker, Flores, Rivera
Fully recovered from back surgery, Walker is another Met off to a hot start this spring. He is slated to start nearly every game at second base, with Flores filling in now and again against a left-handed starter. If Rivera makes the team over Ty Kelly, he'll serve as the Mets' utilityman, capable of playing every infield position as well as left field.
Third base (1): Jose Reyes
At the start of camp, the Mets were hoping Wright would be their starter at third base, even if he needed frequent time to rest his back. Now it appears a shoulder issue will prevent the captain from being ready for Opening Day, forcing Reyes to become the Mets' everyday third baseman. Rivera and Flores are also capable of playing at third in a pinch.
Shortstop (1): Asdrubal Cabrera
Without Reyes to back him up on a regular basis, the Mets will be counting on a healthy season from Cabrera, who played through left knee pain for much of last summer. He's off to a hot start in Grapefruit League play, batting .310 with three home runs through 11 games.
Outfield (5) Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Bruce, Juan Lagares, Brandon Nimmo
The only question here is whether the Mets decide to carry Michael Conforto on their Opening Day roster. Should the team decide to send Conforto to Triple-A Las Vegas, Nimmo will be the favorite to make the outfield. But he, too, recently became a question mark when he injured his right hamstring during World Baseball Classic play. An alternative is Kelly, a natural infielder with plenty of recent experience at the corner outfield spots.
Rotation (5): Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Robert Gsellman
Though Zack Wheeler is making a push to be a part of this group, his innings limit -- roughly 110-125 -- should give the Mets pause as they decide whether to carry him on their Opening Day roster. Based on last year's numbers, Gsellman is the Mets' strongest fifth starter candidate, but Seth Lugo is also in the mix here. This situation will become much clearer as Opening Day approaches.
Bullpen (7): Addison Reed, Noel Salas, Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles, Josh Smoker, Lugo, Ben Rowen
The Mets' working assumption is that Major League Baseball will suspend Jeurys Familia to start the season, leaving Reed as the closer. He, Salas, Blevins and Robles are bullpen locks, while Smoker has pitched well enough that he appears to be on the inside of the bubble looking out. The Mets have talked openly of carrying Lugo in the bullpen, rather than sending him to Las Vegas to stay stretched out as a starter. That leaves one spot for either Rowen or Paul Sewald, a pair of non-roster invitees who have both pitched well this spring.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.