Maggie Wiggin, Contributor
This past weekend, the Mets demoted Ike Davis, Mike Baxter and Robert Carson, they cut Rick Ankiel, and replaced them on the roster with outfielders Collin Cowgill and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, 1B Josh Satin and lefty reliever Josh Edgin.
According to the Star-Ledger, Terry Collins said, regarding the outfield, “I think we got to mix and match every day. I don’t think we need to do a straight platoon. There might even be a time when they’re both out there at a time.”
Here’s a primer on what these players have been doing in the minors…
Collin Cowgill (.268/.362/.439 in 32 games for AAA): Hard to believe now, but Cowgill was the Mets’ Opening Day centerfielder and hit a grand slam that day. But over his 52 PAs with the team, he hit a Ike Davis-ian .157 and was sent down after amassing only 10 starts on the season. Eagle-eyed readers may recall that I named Cowgill my BABIP Wild-Card a few weeks ago, since his statistically-improbable .167 mark on the season should have him in line for some positive regression to the mean.
His AAA stats were not game-changers, but it’s worth seeing how he fills Baxter’s shoes as a decent-fielding bat off the bench, especially since he can — believe it or not! — hit lefties. Don’t count on him taking too many starts away from Juan Lagares or Nieuwenhuis, though. We should see him mostly in RF or as a pinch-hitter.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.232/.339/.486 in 36 games for AAA): Nieuwenhuis was also on the Opening Day roster this year, though he got an even shorter look than Cowgill, amassing just 18 PAs and 3 starts. While his numbers for Las Vegas this season suggest little more promise than his mediocre stretch in the big leagues in 2012, he’s coming off a recent hot streak, which the team is hoping may carry over.
Regardlesss, it would certainly be hard for him to underperform Rick Ankiel, whose OPS in his last 10 games as a Met was .186 (that’s not a typo). We will most likely see Nieuwenhuis as a pinch hitter and platooning in center with the righty Lagares. Hopefully if he’s not an everyday starter, he’ll be less exposed and able to play to his strength against right-handed pitching.
Josh Edgin (6.75 ERA with 22 Ks in 18.2 IP for AA/AAA): Edgin is another familiar face, to those who recall his 11 rough appearances with the Mets to start the season. His time in the minors hasn’t exactly gone smoothly (though he actually improved a lot since being promoted from AA to AAA), and his promotion says more about the sorry state of lefty relievers in the system than it does about his readiness to return.
Even so, the team is hoping he’ll look more like the pitcher who held lefties to a .164 average in 2012 and with Robert Carson’s recurrent implosions, he’s going to get every chance to make that happen. And if anyone’s feeling FIP-py, it’s worth noting that his was 3.60 during his 2013 stint with the Mets, so his odds for improvement are not bad. At the very least, Scott Rice is very, very happy to have him here.
Josh Satin (.305/.420/.491 in 59 games for AAA): Satin is the only player of this crew to not have appeared in the big leagues so far this season. In fact, with the exception of a single AB last June, Satin’s only shot with the Mets for his career consisted of 27 plate appearances in September of 2011 (and they were not exceptional).
At 28-years-old, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a big breakout from him, but with great numbers in Triple-A and that always-elusive (for the Mets, anyway) right-handed bat, he was the obvious choice to replace Davis while Wilmer Flores (who still has only nine career games at first base, including a start last night) continues to develop, wherever he may play. With the buzz around moving Daniel Murphy or Lucas Duda to first for the time being, it’s hard to say how much playing time he’ll get, but hopefully it’ll be enough to get a good sense of his true ceiling.
Overall, not a bunch to get overly excited about, but they fill some holes and offer a chance for a bit of upside. At the very least, they should bring at least as much to the table as the players they’re replacing and bridge the gap while some of the more promising prospects continue to develop.