March 1, 2014

Spring Training: What You Should Watch For

The Mets lost yesterday, but you know what?  It doesn't matter.  What does matter is that Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom shined.  That Lucas Duda and Ike Davis drove the ball with authority.  For now, its not about the team.  In fact, very little matters from a team perspective during spring training.  The Mets could not win a single game between now and March 31st, and it wouldn't matter.  Because Spring Training about getting ready for the regular season.  Its about getting individual players ready.  Getting them rehabbed from injury.  Finding their swing.  That's what you should be watching for.

Don't pay as much attention to the box score as you do to how Bobby Parnell looks when he finally makes his first Grapefruit League appearance later this month.  Does he have the velocity?  Can he make his pitches?  Even more important.. How does he feel the following day?  The same can be said for Jon Niese, who coming off an injury scare.  Will he be to be able to let it fly when he takes the mound.  Can he pitch without pain, or is this something that will effect him going forward?

Its about seeing if players can settle into their new surroundings.  How will Curtis Granderson and Chris Young adapt to playing the outfield with Juan Lagares?  With Ruben Tejada back, will he an Daniel Murphy be able to manage up the middle?  Can Travis d'Arnaud earn the trust of the round veteran, Bartolo Colon?  Its about not taking things at face value for the time being, because its the little in-game situations that, regardless of if they go well now, will allow the team to learn for later.

If the Mets are going to muster a decent season, they cannot stumble out of the gate.  They'll need to hit the ground running, because they do not have the roster to make up ground on the likes of the Braves and Nationals.  That's why the spring is so important, but the team results aren't.  The Mets will need to come together as a team in 2014, and that ground work is laid in the spring.  Pay attention to the little things, because that's what matters now.

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