One problem for the New York Mets, as mentioned here and elsewhere previously, is the fact that budget constraints kept the Mets from bringing in reasonable backups at nearly every key position. Fortunately for the Mets, a number of lottery tickets they brought in are succeeding early on for Buffalo, their Triple-A affiliate.
It is dangerous to come to any conclusions from 15 games of data. So let’s take a closer look not only at who is succeeding, but how the rest of their career profile makes continued success likely.
Among hitters, no one has been better than Bobby Scales, whose season line for the Bisons is .432/.587/.632, which is pretty, pretty good. Scales has played second base, shortstop and third base for Buffalo, where an OPS of 1.219 plays particularly well. His 10 walks against just four strikeouts suggests a complete mastery of the strike zone.
The problem is, Scales is 34, and hasn’t put up anything like this kind of production to date. I’m not talking a 1.219 OPS, obviously, but for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan last year, he walked 25 times and struck out 103 times in 317 plate appearances, making his .304/.424/.535 line with Triple-A Iowa earlier in the season look like the anomaly.
I’ll be honest: I don’t know what to make of Scales. He’s been so good already, and had that success in Iowa, but he’s 34 and failed in a Japanese league as recently as last year, too. Can he help? Really hard to say. Fortunately, the Mets don’t need to find out yet, and can keep playing him at Buffalo.
The Bisons also have Zach Lutz, Adam Loewen and Val Pascucci with OPS of 1.010, .938 and 1.022, respectively. But all that really means is, they have a bunch of backup plans for DH during interleague play.
On the pitching side, the two starters the Mets most want to excel, Jeurys Familia and Matt Harvey, have ERAs of 6.59 and 7.62 so far. More likely, in the event a starter is needed, Jeremy Hefner (1.96 ERA), Garrett Olson (2.20 ERA) or Chris Schwinden (2.25 ERA) would get the call. Neither Hefner nor Schwinden are fooling many hitters, though, and Olson’s walk rate is too high so far. In other words, the pitching hasn’t exactly looked ready to step in so far. It is early. But that conforms to the way it looked before the season started, too.
All this is a long way of saying: unless Bobby Scales is The Natural, the Mets really need everyone to stay healthy, still.