Gather ’round, Mets fans, for tonight will provide yet another glimpse of what awaits in the Amazins’ increasingly bright future. Here is tonight’s scheduled lineup in San Diego:
- Eric Young, Jr., LF
- Daniel Murphy, 2B
- Marlon Byrd, RF
- Ike Davis, 1B
- Wilmer Flores, 3B
- Travis d’Arnaud, C
- Juan Lagares, CF
- Omar Quintanilla, SS
- Jenrry Mejia, P
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First, the big news: Tonight is the first official start for Travis d’Arnaud, baseball’s top catching prospect, who is being promoted from triple-A Las Vegas at long last. We’ll also see the return of Wilmer Flores, the impressive young hitter who was promoted after David Wright‘s hamstring injury but has struggled with an ankle he rolled last week. Juan Lagares is back in the lower-middle portion of the order, where he seems to flourish the most as a speedy line-drive hitter who can produce runs and pressure defenses with his speed.
Last but not least, d’Arnaud’s battery mate, Jenrry Mejia, is one of the Mets’ arsenal of promising young arms. Mejia has pitched exceptionally well since returning to the team, despite working through discomfort caused by bone chips in his throwing elbow. He’s learning to manage his stuff, manage games and get out of trouble, and tonight will give him a chance to work with his future backstop.
Granted, Omar Quintanilla remains a stopgap option and Marlon Byrd is approaching the tail end of his career and seems unlikely to be next season’s everyday right fielder. And of course, it shouldn’t be forgotten that David Wright, the team’s captain and centerpiece, will take over at third base and third in the lineup once healthy. But in tonight’s starting lineup, we see much of what is to come: strong starting pitching, promising young hitters, an outstanding defensive outfield and most of the Citi Field youth movement on the field at the same time. Tune in tonight, Mets fans, for a crystal ball into a 2014 season that countless fans are already excited about.