September Call-Ups: What the Mets should do vs. what the Mets will do

For any team that sits at 58-73 on Aug. 28, Sept. 1 is a time of hope. Most teams take advantage of the 40-man expansion to give young prospects a time to shine against — or at least see — major league pitching. For the New York Mets,  there are three notable position players who should get called up (and two who will) for a 2019 audition.

As we have all seen, New York has a plethora of 95-98 mph fastball, slick slider guys with average to below average control (see Drew Smith, Bobby Wahl, Eric Hanhold, etc.), but no one really to note who may or may not get the call in September. Assuming John Ricco’s “compete in 2019″ mantra is not just for show, they will likely sign free agent relievers who are better than Anthony Swarzak.

But in a few days, Dominic Smith and Luis Guillorme will be called up for about the 25th time this year. Who is not being called up, is the most major league-ready of them all: Peter Alonso. So, I wanted to investigate what the Mets SHOULD do with these pieces rather than what they likely ARE going to do. Let’s begin.

Dominic Smith

Earlier in the season, and most days since then, Alex Rosen and I complained about the 2017 mismanagement of the former Mets top prospect. Well, nothing has really changed. At just 23 years old, Smith has seen four separate stints in the majors and will presumably enter his fifth on Sept. 1. Despite never having handled his development properly before, the Mets have a chance to change the tides.

Whether or not it makes sense, Smith has 23 games in the outfield this year in the minors and already nine games in left for the major league club.  Obviously, this is to provide at-bats to the aforementioned stud, Alonso, who probably could hit 30+ home runs in a full major league season next year.

So, if they are doing it the minors, why not do it in the majors during a rebuilding year for the last month of the season? Sure, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo need everyday at-bats, but give 31-year old Austin Jackson a few days off.  Jackson has been a bright spot for the Mets, but he’s putting up unsustainable numbers and hopefully is not a part of the future. As far as Jay Bruce goes, he is not healthy and has been awful all season, accumulating a -0.8 WAR in just 66 games. Yes, the Mets’ defense struggles mightily with him in the lineup, but auditioning him for 2019 in a regular role is the best course of action.

If it were me, I would have explored trading Smith for catching options in the 2017-18 offseason. Regardless, give Smith one more actual chance to prove his worth at the dish.

Luis Guillorme

The Gold Glove-caliber, opposite-field hitter is an intriguing player.

Guillorme was arguably just as misplayed as Smith, slotted in strictly at third base and playing behind Jose “Mendoza” Reyes. While he should have had starter opportunities given the Mets poor season, he should be relegated to a true utility infielder role — the one Reyes occupies for Mickey Callaway now. Frankly, the former Met great should be cut as soon as Guillorme gets a spot.

Any time a combination of Todd Frazier, stud Jeff McNeil and Amed Rosario need a rest (Frazier mostly), Guillorme should be manning the position.

While the infielder did slash a paltry .208/.284/.239 in his 67 at-bats in limited action, he has shown an ability to reach base at an impressive rate in the minors. His numbers have duplicated pretty much to a tee from Binghamton to Vegas and he holds a career .286/.361/.335 line in minor league play. No power, but that’s not what Guillorme is on a roster to do.

Defense, defense, defense… and some OBP.

Peter Alonso

John Ricco stated that Alonso will not play in the majors this season, despite the fact that the first baseman is perhaps a top-five prospect in terms hitting readiness in all of baseball.

Alonso is a bad fielder, plain and simple. Alonso, however, can rake.

In 125 games and 448 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A, the former University of Florida Gator is raking a .277/.393/.560 with 33 home runs and 111 RBI. He has made the necessary mechanical adjustments at the plate to improve his ability for more gap power and home runs and has improved his discipline, raising his OBP more than 30 percentage points from last year’s .359.

Alonso needs to be on the roster come a few days from now, even though he won’t. Wilmer Flores has done a commendable job this season at the dish and I would have no problem with Alonso not starting every day. But the UF product must to be on the New York Mets and pinch-hitting whenever Callaway needs a pinch hitter and starting at first base at least two or three times a week.

There is a very minute amount of development Alonso needs at the plate at this point and to keep him down because of defense or playing time is ridiculous; simply put, you make time for your brightest prospects.

The real reason here is service time, but this next month should have been an immensely important indicator to the development of what should be the Mets’ starting first baseman in 2019.

Photo credits: Bill Streicher/Brad Penner/Geoff Burke – USA Today Sports

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2 comments on “September Call-Ups: What the Mets should do vs. what the Mets will do”

Of this trio, I can possibly see Smith getting some time in at 1B or LF depending on how Bruce is responding to the rigors of everyday play. Guillorme will return but play very sporadically. Alonso won’t see the light of day until 3-4 weeks into the 2019 season when they magically declare his defense is ready which happens to coincide with gaining an extra year of financial control by holding him back. Why the Players Association lets teams get away with this nonsense is beyond me.

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