Let’s start with the easy stuff ...
The rotation certainly seems like it is headed in the direction of using the four young pitchers:
1. Jacob deGrom
2. Matt Harvey
4. Steven Matz
And there are three obvious selections to lead the back end of the bullpen:
7. Addison Reed
How many pitchers will the Mets carry? Remember, the Mets will not play more than two consecutive days in the Division Series, so conceivably the relievers could be used every game if the situations demand. Still, it is hard to envision the Mets going with fewer than seven relievers.
The next question: Assuming the four young starters are in the rotation, does Jonathon Niese join Bartolo Colon as a bullpen arm? Since the Mets seemingly cannot rely on Eric O’Flaherty, and since Dario Alvarez is still mending a groin strain and might be unavailable, the hunch is that Colon and Niese make the NLDS roster, since the Mets otherwise might not have a lefty relief arm. Colon could soak up multiple innings if a starter goes short.
That potentially would leave two spots for consideration among Hansel Robles, Erik Goeddel, Sean Gilmartin, Carlos Torres and Logan Verrett. Could Gilmartin trump Niese because he has experience in the bullpen, whereas Niese does not? Sure. But lefties are hitting .264 and righties are hitting .220 against Gilmartin this season, so let’s stick with giving the nod to Niese. After all, Gilmartin’s primary function is a multi-inning role that Colon would absorb anyway.
The Mets should tip their hand after clinching, assuming they start to introduce Niese to relief work. For now, let’s round out an 11-man pitching staff with:
Manager Terry Collins’ lineup on Saturday against Cincinnati Reds left-hander John Lamb should be instructive, since Collins has pledged to use his lefty batters in the game. The Mets might see three different southpaws in the Division Series: Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood.
Let’s forgo the discussion about who starts for the Mets and just list the locks for the roster (assuming Juan Uribe's chest injury does not linger another two weeks):
12. Travis d'Arnaud
13. Lucas Duda
14. Daniel Murphy
15. Wilmer Flores
16. Ruben Tejada
17. David Wright
19. Michael Conforto
20. Michael Cuddyer
21. Yoenis Cespedes
By carrying 11 pitchers instead of 12, the Mets can sneak an extra position player onto the roster compared with the regular season. So there are room for three more players in that scenario. You’d figure Kevin Plawecki gets the nod over Anthony Recker as the backup catcher:
Do the Mets prioritize Young’s ability to pinch run over Lagares’ coming in as a defensive replacement? Do you really need a defensive replacement anyway? Or should the Mets carry the speedy Young and the Gold Glover Lagares and forget about the extra lefty pinch-hit bat with Johnson, since you will already presumably have Conforto on the bench most of the series anyway? This is the shakiest prediction of them all, but let’s leave off Lagares, who has had a quiet September:
Where do you agree/disagree?