Seeing clearly, Nido looks for breakout 2019

Mets' No. 18 prospect underwent offseason Lasik surgery

March 5th, 2019

JUPITER, Fla. -- It’s not because of any diet or workout regimen that Mets catcher Tomas Nido feels transformed. Nido underwent Lasik vision correction surgery in the offseason after spending the previous two seasons battling blurriness and contact lens issues.

“Going from seeing everything blurry to now seeing everything detailed, that’s what I’m getting used to now," Nido said. “It’s a night and day change.”

For years, Nido battled astigmatism in his left eye, which became more of an issue when he received an updated contact prescription late in 2016 -- Nido’s breakout year, in which he hit .320 with an .816 OPS in 90 games at Class A Advanced St. Lucie. The following season, Nido noticed his vision growing blurry as he turned his head to hit on cold and windy days. On multiple occasions, his left contact popped partially out of his left eye, resulting in even more distortion.

Nido posted OPS totals that year of .641 at Double-A Binghamton, .577 in the Arizona Fall League and .731 over two Minor League levels last year, dampening his stock despite multiple trips to the Majors. Still rookie-eligible, Nido is now the Mets’ 18th-ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline.

He hopes to improve that status with a clarity he hasn’t enjoyed in years. When Nido’s contact prescription expired this offseason, he opted for Lasik. The early results have stunned him, particularly in his ability to register spin coming out of a pitcher’s hand.

“It’s been a long road,” Nido said. “I didn’t realize how much effect it had on me. It’s been a big difference just getting used to seeing the ball better. It’s a lot more fun now.”

So far, Nido is just 1-for-9 in Grapefruit League play, but that one hit went for extra bases. While he is blocked behind Wilson Ramos, Travis d’Arnaud and Devin Mesoraco on the Mets’ depth chart, all three of those players have battled significant injury issues in past seasons. As such, the front office sees Nido as a crucial part of its catching depth.

Roster cuts

The Mets made their first wave of cuts Tuesday, sending the following players to Minor League camp: right-handed pitchers Chris Flexen, Franklyn Kilome, Drew Gagnon, Ryder Ryan, Corey Taylor, Josh Torres and Stephen Villines; lefties P.J. Conlon, Anthony Kay and David Peterson; catchers Patrick Mazeika and Colton Plaia; and infielder Gavin Cecchini.

Peterson and Kay are the Mets’ No. 6 and 8 prospects, respectively, according to MLB Pipeline. Kilome, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, ranks 10th.

“It’s been an absolute honor to have been invited to big league camp,” Peterson said. “Being able to take advantage of this opportunity has been great.”

The Mets have 52 players left in the Major League clubhouse.

No complaints

Closer Edwin Diaz, whose contract the Mets renewed after he declined to agree to terms, said he feels no ill will toward the organization. Contract renewal is a form of mild protest by pre-arbitration players, who have little recourse until they hit three years of service time.

Diaz will earn the same $607,425 salary he would have made had he agreed to terms.

“This is business,” Diaz said. “They have their decision, I have my decision. But everybody’s happy. We’re at a good point right now.”

Opening eyes

In general, Mets relievers have struggled to throw strikes early in Grapefruit League play. One notable exception is left-hander Luis Avilan, who has not walked a batter in 4 2/3 innings.

In January, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen singled out Avilan, a non-roster invitee, as a prime candidate to make the Opening Day roster. Since that time, Avilan has only improved his stock.

“The kid throws the ball over the plate,” manager Mickey Callaway said, lauding Avilan’s changeup in particular. “The kid has a great idea of how to pitch. … He’s looked fantastic.”

Injury update

• Infielder Todd Frazier took a step forward Tuesday in his return from a strained left oblique, beginning an outdoor running program in Port St. Lucie. But while the soreness has dissipated from Frazier’s midsection, his readiness for Opening Day remains in question.

Jed Lowrie has not begun a running program since spraining a capsule in his left knee in the early days of Spring Training. He is also uncertain for Opening Day.

• Shortstop Amed Rosario was “a little tender” a day after taking a pitch off his left hand, but could return to the lineup as soon as Thursday.

Travis d’Arnaud, who played two games at designated hitter earlier this week, will debut behind the plate Thursday in a “B” game at Port St. Lucie. It will be d’Arnaud’s first live-game catching action since undergoing Tommy John surgery last April.

Up next

The Mets’ complex will be closed Wednesday for the first of two team off days this month. After driving home to DeLand, Fla. to celebrate his daughter’s first birthday, Jacob deGrom will return in time to start the Mets’ 1:05 p.m. ET game Thursday against the Nationals. He’ll oppose right-hander Stephen Strasburg at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.