Was Alderson behind the Mets’ Opening Day lineup?

By Shawn Jindal

Terry Collins slotted Curtis Granderson in the leadoff spot yesterday, rather than Juan Lagares, who hit leadoff for the vast majority of spring training. David Wright was moved up to the second slot, as Lucas Duda replaced him batting third. While lineup configuration is not believed to have a significant impact on offense, the decision was wildly controversial. Many fans argued that Lagares shouldn’t be jerked around after he seemed to “learn” how to hit leadoff in the spring.

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On his Tuesday afternoon spot on WFAN’s Joe & Evan show, Mets reporter Eddie Coleman expressed doubt that Terry Collins was behind yesterday’s batting order. Coleman claimed, while “he would never admit” the lineup was taken out of his hands, the decision did not seem like one Collins would make unless he was instructed to do so. Beat writer Adam Rubin made a similar claim prior to the game.

Granderson led off quite a bit in 2014. In 52 games, he hit only .210 with a .637 OPS out of the leadoff spot. Lagares led off in 37 games last season, hitting .276 with a .695 OPS.


As far as the lineup goes, it is being blown way out of proportion. The notion of the move being unfair to Lagares is ridiculous. He’s a professional baseball player, and his approach shouldn’t drastically change regardless of where he is hitting in the lineup. But he should be leading off. Not because leading off is some unique skill that he recently acquired, but because he’s the best fit. Granderson may post a marginally higher OBP than Lagares this season, but Curtis will almost certainly have greater power production, which would be more useful a bit lower in the order.

I am certainly in favor of batting Wright second. Despite conventional wisdom, stating your best hitter should bat third, this (very entertaining) lineup analysis tool quantifies the benefit of hitting your best hitter second.

The bigger story here is the fact that the front office decided on the batting order. As Evan pointed out on the show, we may be seeing an increasingly Moneyball-esque dynamic building between Alderson and Collins. The two have been on different pages fairly often recently, conflicting on opinions of the starting shortstop and bullpen composition. Coleman seemed adamant that this decision would not have come from Collins, and he is not one to make such an accusation on a hunch. It will be interesting to see how the batting order and other “managerial decisions” turn out this season.

I’m in favor of Alderson making day-to-day decisions. Quite frankly, I have far more faith in his baseball IQ than I do in Terry Collins. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come at a cost.

By the way, can someone track down the personnel that keeps leaking stories about our front office butting heads with our coaches…


In a report for Newsday, Marc Carig cited sources claiming that Collins’ staff created the lineup and presented the idea to the front office. The front office was apparently not part of the decision. “The front office gave their input, but this lineup was strictly Terry and his coaching staff,” the source said.

…but of course the Mets will publicly deny front office involvement in managerial decisions. This report doesn’t mean much…