New York Mets position players are required to report to camp today, so just as SB Nation NY did with the other New York team, let's take a look at a few questions facing the position players as spring training kicks into high gear.
1. Will the key members in the lineup be able to stay healthy? This really can apply to any team in the Majors, but after a year that saw key members of the regular lineup, such as Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes all get hit with the injury bug, returning to full health is probably the most important component to getting this lineup clicking again. The Mets ranked 24th in runs scored last year; if guys can stay off the DL, that number should rise in the ranks this year.
2. Who will play second base? I've already touched on this earlier in camp, but with Luis Castillo fighting injuries and underwhelming production over the past year, this job is very much open for whomever produces this Spring. Daniel Murphy and Brad Emaus are both the top candidates. If Murphy can play adequate defense, he most likely will win the job, but Emaus will also get a long look because he has to be placed on waivers and returned to the Blue Jays after being claimed in the Rule 5 Draft if he doesn't make the team. A potential platoon could also be in order.
3. Can Ike Davis and Angel Pagan avoid sophomore slumps? Yeah, Pagan is 29 years old, but last year was the first season he played as a regular; before then the most games he played was 88. Pagan has always had talent, he's just dealt with a multitude of injuries over his career which have stunted that promise. After a .290 AVG, 11 HR, 69 RBI, 37 SB with plus outfield defense in his first full campaign, Pagan has played himself into a starting role this season. Davis wasn't thought of as a can't-miss prospect, but every year since he's been drafted he's shown a great deal of progression. He plays great defense at first, so that won't be a problem this season, but after a year in which he hit .264, with 19 HR and 71 RBI, it really remains to be seen what type of first basemen he becomes. If the other regulars can stay healthy, he should get his RBI chances, but more ups and downs from a young player cannot be ruled out.
4. What will the Mets get out of the catcher spot? Josh Thole played well in his first taste of extended action, 77 games, in the big leagues. He won't hit for power, but he walks a lot and the average should be decent. He has just 38 at bats against lefties, but just six hits -- but that shouldn't be a problem this year when Ronny Paulino returns from his PED suspension, which has eight games left. In his career, Paulino has been superb against lefties: .338/.390/.491. If the Terry Collins plays his cards right, offensively the catcher spot should be above average this season.