The Mets appear to have completed the offseason in a big way. The return of Yoenis Cespedes placated the Mets fans whose voices were getting loud and angry, likely giving the team the final piece of the winter puzzle. The the debate can begin on potential depth charts and lineups.
Projecting the Mets lineup before now could have proven difficult, but the addition of Cespedes brings another legitimate power threat to the middle of the lineup and makes the Mets extremely deep at all positions. The batting order may be difficult to predict with all of this depth, but here is my attempt at playing Terry Collins.
- Curtis Granderson
- David Wright
- Neil Walker
- Lucas Duda
- Yoenis Cespedes
- Michael Conforto
- Travis D’Arnaud
- Asdrubal Cabrera
Before I explain my reasoning, I will briefly address the captain’s role in the lineup. David Wright came back for the stretch run and playoffs last season after dealing with spinal stenosis and produced more than expected. The David Wright of old is likely gone, but the approach he possesses makes him a very strong hitter for the two-hole. Wright is at his best when he is going to the opposite field with some authority, making him a good choice to bat second, where he’ll be hitting behind the runner often.
Curtis Granderson was the Mets’ most consistent player in 2015, solidifying the leadoff spot while still providing pop. Reunited with hitting coach Kevin Long, Granderson displayed extreme patience, drawing a career-high 91 walks. In addition, Granderson had an OBP of .364, which was the second-highest of his career.
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Neil Walker has the ability to hit anywhere in the lineup and may be a bigger power threat than Wright if the latter suffers from the effects of the spinal stenosis. Walker, a switch-hitter, hit in all different spots while with the Pirates and can provide stability. However, his struggles against left-handers might lead to the Mets using Wilmer Flores at second base on occasion.
Lucas Duda presents a tremendous power threat in the cleanup spot. When Duda is hot, he will provide Walker and Wright many fastballs to feast on. Unlike the past, Duda will have protection behind him with Yoenis Cespedes, allowing Duda the opportunity to see better pitches and hopefully avoid prolonged slumps.
Cespedes is the type of hitter who will put fear into the opposing pitchers all year, but his mere presence in the lineup should also be a great asset for the Mets. Once Cespedes arrived last August, Murphy and Duda broke out in a big way. That was no coincidence.
Michael Conforto, breaking up the righties in the lineup, will look to continue his success at the major league level in 2016. Conforto just scratched the surface of the player he will be, and batting sixth should give him the opportunity to drive in runs. Conforto should have less pressure on him with Cespedes returning, but this season will be big for his development.
D’Arnaud is a question mark when it comes to staying healthy, having endured a bunch of freakish but worrisome injuries in both the minors and majors. When he is healthy, he provides tremendous power and ability. D’Arnaud is one of the better hitting-catchers in baseball, and batting seventh is proof of just how deep this Mets team has become.
Capping off the depth added in the winter, newly acquired Asdrubal Cabrera will bat eighth. Cabrera, who has the ability to hit 15-to-20 homers, adds another switch-hitter to the lineup. The consistent power up and down the lineup will be welcomed after the struggles the team had until late-July of last season.