Mets: Reyes should never bat leadoff but maybe Cespedes should
By Tim Boyle
Jose Reyes batted leadoff for the New York Mets on Thursday in a crushing 11-0 loss. If Mickey Callaway is looking for someone new to bat leadoff, he should try Yoenis Cespedes.
In the final beatdown by the Atlanta Braves this week, Mickey Callaway handed an interesting lineup to the home plate umpire. Leading off for the New York Mets, Jose Reyes.
Ten years ago this would have been a fine choice. In 2018, it’s admitting defeat.
Reyes hasn’t reached the Mendoza Line yet in 2018. It took him weeks to get his first hit. Ever since trading in the goose eggs for crooked numbers, he hasn’t improved all that much.
I understand why Callaway would bat Reyes leadoff. He wants to change things up. He wanted to put Asdrubal Cabrera in the cleanup spot with the hope that his hottest hitter could get a chance to drive in some runs.
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As we already saw through merciful eyes, it didn’t help the Mets any in their 11-0 loss.
I’m all for Callaway changing up the lineup. Batting Reyes first is not the answer. Putting Yoenis Cespedes in that spot could yield different results.
Some (or many as I learned on Twitter when I shared my thoughts on Cespedes not living up to his contract) will think Cespedes is having a great year. In some areas, yes he is. Cespedes is routinely coming up with big hits for the Mets. Unfortunately, they are not plentiful.
To jumpstart him and to get this entire lineup a little more productive, Callaway should see what his best slugger can do at the one spot. The Washington Nationals are using Bryce Harper in this role with some good results in the early-going.
It’s not uncommon to see traditional clean-up hitters batting first. Chris Davis, Jose Bautista, and others have done so in recent years. Though it’s seen more in the American League, there’s no reason why the strategy will fall flat in the National League.
One problem I can see with this is Cespedes hitting behind the pitcher. Callaway could go back to batting the pitcher in the eight spot although I’ve already argued against it. With Cespedes in the leadoff spot, I may change my mind.
After getting embarrassed by the Braves at Citi Field this week, the Mets need to make some big changes to their lineup. Nobody deserves to get benched. This team won early with good chemistry. Breaking that will only keep this losing streak alive longer.
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Let’s see what Callaway does as an answer to this team’s offensive woes.