In a list of 20 rookies to watch this season, Mets pitcher Steven Matz ranked fifth, writes Richard Justice of MLB.com. Matz is set to spend the season in the rotation, although the club has talked about having a sixth starter help to keep the young pitchers fresh. Across town, outfield prospect Aaron Judge is eighth on Justice’s list. He expects injuries to old vets to open an opportunity. Personally, I’m not entirely convinced Judge is major league ready after he hit .224/.308/.373 in 228 Triple-A plate appearances. The club has decent outfield depth too.
- Speaking of potential Yankees injuries, fragility may define the 2016 Bombers, writes George A. King III of the NY Post. The rotation looks solid but thin. Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, and even Nathan Eovaldi have all had their run-ins with the trainer. Luis Severino is young and therefore uncertain (pitching is always uncertain). Among the position players, Greg Bird is already out for the year. Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira are all safe bets to need some time on the shelf.
- Rodriguez and Teixeira may be key players in 2016, suggests Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Their ability to once again tap into the fountain of youth is one of Feinsand’s five questions for the 2016 campaign. He also wonders if Aroldis Chapman will face suspension, if Sabathia’s new knee brace can help him rebound, and if the rest of the rotation can stay healthy.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson continues to undergo chemotherapy for an undisclosed cancer, writes Adam Rubin of ESPN. He received the diagnosis shortly after the club clinched the NL East last season, giving the playoffs a bittersweet tinge. It has not affected his job.
- Alderson figures David Wright should play a maximum of 130 games next season, writes Rubin. The club is keen to avoid overtaxing his back. He’ll rest against tough right-handed pitchers with Wilmer Flores likely to enter the lineup.
- Alderson also answered a wide range of questions for Steve Serby of the NY Post. He touched upon his illness, virtually every position on the roster, and the farm system. When asked about the starting rotation, Alderson said, “you go that deep into the playoffs, there’s gonna be kind of a surcharge on their innings. So we’re gonna be careful with them. It doesn’t mean that we’re gonna manage their innings necessarily.“