Hope Springs Internal

Last April Jae Seo and Ty Wigginton surprised many people by winning regular jobs with outstanding Spring Training performances. Both players were among the first to report last year, giving themselves an edge by being 2 or 3 weeks into workouts by the time the rest of team showed up. It makes sense to look for 2004's surprises among the players who have already started working towards a breakout season. (Free Preview of Premium Content)

The bulk of the players who have started workouts in the St. Lucie sunshine are products of the Mets farm system. Players who have grown up here and are completely comfortable in the friendly confines of the St. Lucie Sports Complex.

Both Seo and Wigginton are back, recognizing the value that starting early brought to their 2003 campaigns. Seo joins many of the top young arms in the Mets organization, some of whom have been here every day since mini camp including Bob Keppel, Aaron Heilman, Grant Roberts, Tyler Yates, and Jeremy Griffiths. Scott Strickland is also here working out.

Wigginton leads an impressive array of some of the Mets top system bats. David Wright, Justin Huber, Mike Jacobs, Bobby Malek and Ian Bladergroen were all in the cage taking cuts and spraying line drives. All of the players currently in camp are in terrific shape. Everyone seems to have been extremely motivated during the offseason to stick to a effective workout regimen.

The big story is, of course, new shortstop Kazuo Matsui.

Matsui took grounders this morning with David Wright giving onlookers a preview of the left side of the Mets future infield. Matsui covered huge amounts of territory effortlessly, and showcased his soft hands and quick feet. The new kid can pick it.

PHOTOS: Roberts, Keppel, Strickland, Griffiths, Yates, Strickland, Yates, Heilman, Roberts, Seo(2), Malek, Wright(2), Jacobs, Huber, Matsui(2), Huber(4), Jacobs(2), Huber(2), Matsui(2), Wright, Matsui(2), Wright(3), Matsui(11)

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