With ten days before pitchers and Molinas report, let’s look at who might be the PSL “phenom”.
Nearly every spring training, there is one youngster who tears it up, or lights up the radar gun, and performs so overwhelmingly impressively that we fans are convinced we’ve seen the next Mets superstar … or at least, an All-Star. It’s that player who proves the philosophy of “hope springs eternal”, or “spring training hopes are eternal”, or something like that.
In the recent past, the “phenoms” of spring training have included Lastings Milledge, Fernando Martinez, Brian Bannister, and Ambiorix Burgos, among others. Sometimes — like Dwight Gooden — the phenoms pan out. Other times — like Gary Rajsich — things don’t quite work out so well once the regular season begins.
Considering that the Mets are entering a rebuilding year centered around their youth, one would think that this is a good opportunity for at least one “phenom” to emerge. Who might that be?
The best guesses are Jordany Valdespin, Reese Havens, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia, and Zack Wheeler. But those are easy, right? OK, I’ll pick a few “no-names” to throw in the mix: Kai Gronauer, Zach Lutz, Matt Den Dekker, and Cesar Puello. Those last four have no pressure on them, not much in the way of expectations, and nothing to lose, so my bet is that they’ll be aggressive, feel loose, and as a result have a good shot at gaining spring training stardom.
What say you? Who do you think will establish himself as the “phenom” in Port St. Lucie this spring? And what phenoms do you remember from spring trainings past? Answer in the comments.