The issue that I have seen is the fact that some fans refuse to look at the full potential of a young player. Case in point: the Mets outfield. Fans are up in arms over the fact that journeymen players such as Rick Ankiel and Marlon Byrd are getting at bats. They would rather see players such as Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill. And through an intense session of questioning, I bet I can get them to admit the sole reason they want to see the second group over the first group is the second group is 24, 25 and 27 and the first two are 33 and 35.
There is some logic in this argument though. It makes perfect sense to want to see younger players on a team that is rebuilding. After all, if the team becomes competitive in two or three seasons, odds are players who will then be 36 and 38 will probably not be around anymore. But I am not sure the other three will be around as well. If that is the case, then what are they being showcased for?
To me, it does not take much to see what Juan Lagares is. He can catch the ball, but clearly has weaknesses in his swing and approach. He is also at the MLB level because the Mets simply do not have better options. Kirk Nieuwenhuis will never be a steady major leaguer as it seems he will never be able to cut down on his strikeouts. Cowgill maybe should be up instead of Lagares, but is he going to be the Mets centerfielder of the future? The Mets better set of OF prospects are either injured or a year or two away from the majors. Matt den Dekker has yet to play this season due to injury. Cesar Puello and Cory Vaughn are in AA and Brandon Nimmo is in low A. If I had a choice, I'd rather see den Dekker, Puello, Vaughn and Nimmo than any of the others in the Mets OF.
Maybe you are asking... What's your point? In 2003, the Mets signed Rey Sanchez to play SS. After the season became a failure, it was time to play Jose Reyes, the Mets SS of the future. The same thing in 2004, with the Mets starting the season with Ty Wigginton at 3B, then letting the kid, David Wright, play after there was little to play for. The Mets did the same thing in 2010 with Ruben Tejada, playing him at 2B and sitting Luis Castillo. The only thing Lagares, Nieuwenhuis and Cowgill have on their side is their age. None are prospects. None would be platoon OFs on more than two other MLB teams. So why should the Mets play them here? Marlon Byrd is hitting .250, 6, 25, which is respectable.
And fans quickly forget why Ankiel is here. Ankiel was signed because the other options are really that bad. It is easy to forget that Ankiel is nothing more than what he has always been. He will hit a couple HRs, play defense, strike out a ton and hit for a low average. He has done this his entire career as a hitter. I am not an Ankiel apologist, but I know what he is. I also know he is no better or worse than Lagares or Nieuwenhuis. To me, playing any one of these three is the same. Any thought that Lagares and Nieuwenhuis will get better because they are "young" is silly. They are what they are. The Mets future is will not be any brighter with any of the three in CF.
Based on competitive balance, it is safe to say the Mets will probably have two outfielders on their team next season that currently play for other organizations. When Reyes was up, it was understood he would get a chance to earn his keep. The Mets will be shopping for outfielders no matter who is out there now. Ideally, it would be great to see Sandy Alderson make a trade for an impact bat this season. But, until that happens, the Mets are running out six of one and a half dozen of the other.