By Zach Gewelb
As rosters expand in September, the Mets have one more month to evaluate some of the team’s top prospects close to the majors.
Rather than evaluate some of those prospects, let’s take a look at some of the club’s young players who have already established themselves as part of the future. The list isn’t long, but it seems a couple of young Mets have carved out a permanent role at the big league level with their performances this year.
Outfielder Brandon Nimmo, the Mets first round pick in the 2011 MLB draft (13th overall), has emerged as a consistent force in the lineup this season.
He took a .270/.390/.507 slash line with 16 homers and 43 RBIs into Wednesday night’s game against the Dodgers, rewarding the front office’s patience over the years. Nimmo’s name had constantly come up in trade talks throughout the last two seasons, but the Mets elected to hold on to the lefty-swinging outfielder, who coasts a 151 OPS+ and a 3.6 WAR.
Nimmo has shown he can get on base, run a little and drive the ball in his 117 games of action this season and is one of the few bright spots in the Mets’ dark season.
Shortstop Amed Rosario has had and up-and-down sophomore campaign after struggling for most of his 46-game rookie year in 2017, but has heated up with the weather. The 22-year-old shortstop has batted over .300 in his past 23 games to help him raise his batting average to .255 on the year. Nothing to brag about, but an improvement nonetheless.
Rosario isn’t likely to bat over .300 or slug 20 homeruns, but if he can get his average up to around the .280 area and raise his on-base percentage to around .330 — paired with his speed and defense — the Mets would be ecstatic.
Jeff McNeil, 26, has thrived in his first 40 big league games this season, putting together a .318/.385/.457 batting line along with two home runs and 12 RBI. He has proved to be a nice middle-infield partner for Rosario, and his lefty bat helps balance the lineup.
McNeil posted a .342 batting average in the minors this year and hit .295 last year, so his emergence at the big league level shouldn’t come as a surprise. If his track record is any indication, McNeil will continue to hit, which should keep him in the Mets’ lineup for years to come.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe