More to come when I’m back from the studio. And on all prospect matters, I normally defer to Toby.
Depends on how you define “prospect.” But unless you count Mike Baxter as a prospect — and I’m assuming you don’t — the odds look pretty long for all of them. Since all the starting jobs appear pretty well set and the front office is unlikely to pull up a well-regarded young player to be a bench player or
eighth-inning mop-up guy, it’ll probably take an injury in Spring Training to get a prospect on the Opening Day roster.
But all that said, it’s probably Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Nieuwenhuis missed most of last year with a season-ending shoulder injury, but he has got a few advantages on his peers in the Minor League system: For one, he has about a half a seasons’ worth of Triple-A experience, more than anyone else you’d like call a “prospect” at this point. Plus, he’s 24, he hits left-handed, and he plays the outfield, where the Mets don’t have a ton of obvious contingency plans behind the guys penciled in to start.
Still, it’s unlikely to happen unless a couple things go wrong (and Nieuwenhuis is fully recovered, of course). The Mets will probably want to give Nieuwenhuis more time to develop and show he’s as good as he played in the first couple months in Buffalo last year before they challenge him at the higher level. But since he’s furthest along than the Mets’ trio of young arms and plays a spot where they appear pretty thin, I’d put him down as likeliest to appear in Flushing in April.