PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Which Mets farmhands will make their big-league debuts in 2014? Noah Syndergaard is an easy call. Let’s take a look at a dozen other potential call-ups, ranked by likelihood …
Montero 1. Rafael Montero, rhp: The 6-foot, 170-pound Montero is considered MLB-ready by scouts. He went a combined 12-7 with a 2.78 ERA in 27 starts at Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas last season. The question will be: How do the Mets introduce Montero to the majors? If there’s a logjam in the rotation, it could be via the bullpen. Montero had a 4.29 strikeout-to-walk ratio last season.
2. Jacob deGrom, rhp*: Primarily a shortstop in college at Stetson, deGrom made a rapid ascent through the system in 2013. He began the year at Class A St. Lucie and rose all the way to Vegas by the end of last season. Like Montero, deGrom could begin his big-league career in the bullpen. His sinker sits at 92-94 mph. The Triple-A rotation should be stellar to open the season, highlighted by Syndergaard, Montero and deGrom.
3. Jeff Walters, rhp*: Walters set Binghamton single-season and career records by producing 38 saves with the B-Mets in 2013. The University of Georgia product should be pitching late in games for the 51s to open the season.
4. Eric Campbell, if/of: Even though he was a non-roster invite to big-league camp, Campbell is sticking around to the end, a testament to how well he performed in the Grapefruit League (.326 BA through Wednesday). More known for his bat than his corner infield/outfield ability, the 26-year-old Campbell had a .435 on-base percentage last season with Vegas. He still officially is contending for an Opening Day spot, but Andrew Brown is expected to get that extra bench role created by Jonathon Niese opening the season on the DL and the Mets initially carrying four starting pitchers.
Puello 5. Cesar Puello, of*: Depth in the Mets’ outfield after the signings of Curtis Granderson and Chris Young will not help his cause. Puello should join Matt den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the Triple-A outfield to open the season. He hit .326 with 16 homers and 73 RBIs in 331 at-bats with Binghamton last season before sitting out the remainder of the year with a Biogenesis-related 50-game suspension.
6. Jack Leathersich, lhp: If Scott Rice wears down, the Mets may need to reach to Triple-A for Leathersich. He has 241 strikeouts in 143 professional innings, but needs to harness his control after walking 29 in 29 innings in Triple-A late last season.
7. Anthony Seratelli, if/of: Unlike the other players on this list, the 31-year-old Seratelli is not a prospect. But he could make his MLB debut in 2014. He may have been the guy right from the season’s get-go if not for an underwhelming spring training in the field and at the plate (.200 BA, team-high four errors). Instead, while Seratelli remains in camp, Omar Quintanilla is projected to claim the backup shortstop spot.
8. Cory Mazzoni, rhp: Although the 2011 second-round pick from NC State is due to continue as a starting pitcher in the minors, Terry Collins has mentioned him as a potential reliever at the big-league level. Mazzoni went 5-3 with a 4.36 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) for Binghamton last season before needing surgery to repair a torn knee meniscus. He gets Thursday’s Grapefruit League start against the Washington Nationals.
Vaughn 9. Cory Vaughn, of: Like Puello, a potential victim of the Mets’ new outfield depth with the additions of Granderson and Young. Vaughn, a Type 1 diabetic, is the son of former big leaguer Greg Vaughn. He hit 25 homers in 2012 with St. Lucie.
10. Adam Kolarek, lhp: Another lefty relief candidate, Kolarek is an 11th-round pick in 2010 from the University of Maryland. He had a 1.71 ERA in 44 relief appearances with Binghamton last season.
11. Kevin Plawecki, c: Probably a stretch for this season because he does not need to be added to the 40-man roster even next winter. Still, Plawecki could force the Mets’ hand with his performance. Known for his plate discipline, Plawecki had a .390 on-base percentage between low-A Savannah and St. Lucie last season.
12. Erik Goeddel, rhp*: A former reliever at UCLA, Goeddel is reverting to that role this season, hoping to pick up a few extra miles per hour on his fastball. He had a 4.37 ERA in 25 starts for Binghamton in 2013.
* denotes already on 40-man roster