- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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MIAMI -- If the Mets continue to turn over the roster, who are the next call-ups from Triple-A Las Vegas? Noah Syndergaard is slated to come this summer on his own timetable. Here are five more immediate potential candidates:
Black Opening Day roster. Black, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates with Dilson Herrera in the Marlon Byrd/John Buck trade last August, allowed 13 hits, 10 walks and hit a batter in 9 1/3 Grapefruit League innings. Those control struggles continued at the start of the season at Vegas. Black walked 10 in his first 9 1/3 Pacific Coast League innings, too. He since, though, has produced four straight walk-free appearances and has supplanted Jeff Walters as 51s closer. Black struck out the side in Wednesday's save at Salt Lake, while going early in that appearance to one three-ball count. He has a 0.68 ERA for the season (3 R, 1 ER in 13.1 IP). Opponents are hitting .191 against him.
2. Jacob deGrom. DeGrom, the least heralded of of the trio of pitching prospects at Vegas (along with Syndergaard and Rafael Montero), is off to the best start. The 25-year-old right-hander had an incredible 1.89 ERA through six Pacific Coast League starts before stumbling on Wednesday night. Even after allowing five runs (four earned) and 10 hits in five innings against Salt Lake, deGrom still has a 2.58 ERA. He may soon be introduced to relief work at Vegas as a prelude to getting called up to the majors for a bullpen role. Then again, if Jenrry Mejia continues to stumble in the middle innings, perhaps Mejia is bounced to the bullpen and deGrom -- or Daisuke Matsuzaka or Montero -- becomes a consideration for the big-league rotation.
3. Rafael Montero. Montero profiles more as a starter than a reliever, but he could be up for either role soon, too. He next is listed to start for the 51s on Friday at Salt Lake. Through seven Triple-A starts this season, Montero is 3-1 with a 4.21 ERA. He has allowed 30 hits and 15 walks while striking out 36 in 36 1/3 innings with Vegas.
4. Eric Campbell. Campbell stuck around until the very end of spring training, even going to Montreal with the club for the final exhibition games, even though he was a non-roster invite to camp. He has continued his torrid production with Vegas, hitting .341 with three homers, 24 RBIs and a .428 on-base percentage through 31 games. Although Campbell has been given limited exposure to second base this season -- and even dabbled at shortstop -- he's really a righty-hitting corner infielder/outfielder. That means he likely would have to displace Josh Satin. Satin is off to a 3-for-23 start, but Terry Collins notes that any player like Campbell who came up might have the same difficulty producing in only limited opportunities to bat. The Mets haven't faced many southpaw starters this season. And, more recently, Collins has expressed a desire to start Duda against lefties, too, anyway.
5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Collins noted Nieuwenhuis did not deserve to get sent down after a nine-game cameo, but he was the demotion casualty when Juan Lagares returned from the DL. Given the outfield congestion, and now Bobby Abreu tying up a roster spot, it's hard to envision Nieuwenhuis getting a call-up barring injury. But he merits it, so it may come sooner than later.
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