With the holidays come and gone, it's time to gear up for the final act of the Hot Stove season, featuring a Mets team that still has a move or two left up its sleeve. Look for plenty of news on that front in the coming days and weeks.For now,
With the holidays come and gone, it's time to gear up for the final act of the Hot Stove season, featuring a Mets team that still has a move or two left up its sleeve. Look for plenty of news on that front in the coming days and weeks.
For now, it's time for the first batch of questions and answers of the New Year. Expect lots of Inboxes over the rest of January and February, so keep the questions coming either via the form below or on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.
:: Submit a question to the Mets Inbox ::
What prospect has the best chance of making an impact this year?
-- @CDuff3346 via Twitter
Noah Syndergaard aside, the top-rated prospects don't always make the biggest impacts in their rookie years, for the simple reason that they don't often play full seasons. Teams keep their best youngsters in the Minors for service-time reasons as well as for developmental ones; the Mets, for example, hate the idea of calling up prospects unless they believe it will be for good.
With that in mind, don't expect outfielder Brandon Nimmo or shortstop Gavin Cecchini, two former first-round picks who are almost ready to crack the big leagues, to make significant impacts in 2016. Don't expect middle infielders Matt Reynolds or Dilson Herrera to make monster impressions either, for the simple reason that both may struggle to find playing time in what promises to be a crowded infield mix.
The easy answer to your question is Steven Matz, who -- unlike Syndergaard and Michael Conforto -- retains his rookie eligibility from last season and will be in the Opening Day rotation. Matz is a legitimate National League Rookie of the Year candidate, but that's probably not the answer you're looking to uncover.
• Mets' top 30 prospects
In truth, aside from Matz, no Mets prospect figures to play a significant role with the team next season. But keep an eye on three Minor League pitchers: No. 13 prospect Akeel Morris, No. 16 Robert Gsellman and No. 26 Seth Lugo. All have a chance to give the Mets innings this season, all are already on the 40-man roster, and all are coming off solid 2015 seasons. Whoever proves a cut above the rest could have first dibs at any bullpen openings.
Speaking of which ...
What is the bullpen going to look like next season?
-- John P., New York
Pretty similar to what it looked like last season. The Mets should have Jeurys Familia closing, Addison Reed setting up and Jerry Blevins serving as a lefty specialist. They're still looking to sign another veteran, though it's worth noting all of the top relief arms are already off the board. When that Hot Stove smoke clears, there should be three spots available, reserved for some combination of incumbents Sean Gilmartin, Erik Goeddel, Carlos Torres, Logan Verrett and Hansel Robles.
• Mets Hot Stove Tracker
Others who enter camp with a chance include lefties Josh Smoker and Dario Alvarez, right-handers Jim Henderson and Rafael Montero, plus the rookies listed in the previous question. At this point, the bullpen in general is pretty well-stocked.
As someone who covers the team on a daily basis, what was your favorite memory of this season?
-- Sean H., Carmel, Ind.
Interesting question ... I spent a few moments pondering it through process of elimination. It wasn't the clincher in Cincinnati, nor the playoff run through Los Angeles, Chicago and Kansas City -- even if all of those certainly had their moments. The Sunday Night Baseball game against the Nationals in early August stands out for its pure energy, but that wasn't it either.
As writers and reporters, the cliché is that we root for good stories -- not for wins and losses. And there was no better story to me than Wilmer Flores' tears-to-cheers tale: From the chaos of watching him cry on the field and trying to figure out what the heck was happening, to the story that wrote itself two days later, when Flores hit a walk-off homer against the Nats. It was powerful to watch the fan base rally behind Flores from that point forward, the type of thing I will never forget.
Hopefully, all the Mets fans out there enjoyed the ride.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.