2. Not Relying on Cespedes for the Offense
Yoenis Cespedes is a fabulous offensive talent who, although a bit streaky, cannot only put a team on his shoulders and carry them for months at a time but can also seemingly make everyone in the lineup better. Mets fans witnessed this first hand when Cespedes was acquired from Detroit at the 2015 trade deadline and proceeded to almost single-handedly push the Mets into the playoffs with a .942 OPS over the 57 regular season games he played with his new club.
Because Cespedes is such a game changer, however, the Mets have continually put all of their offensive eggs in his basket. Though we’ve come to realize that the rub with this strategy is health.
When on the field he’s a dynamic offensive force who absolutely effects the entire lineup for the better, but in 2017 he was limited to exactly half a season, playing in just 81 games. And then in 2018 Cespedes was limited to a mere 38 games, leaving the Mets without an offensive identity.
The problem becomes fairly evident at this point: if the key to your offense isn’t in the lineup, how do you score runs? This is a question which the Mets simply couldn’t answer for much of last year, but 2019’s offseason has already provided three potential key contributors to that cause in Lowrie, Robinson Cano, and Wilson Ramos.
Ready to be slotted into the two, three, and four holes in the lineup, respectively, these three are legitimate offensive weapons who can fill the void while Cespedes is out and join forces with him when and if he eventually returns this season.
All three, Cano, Ramos, and Lowrie, are contact hitters with good on-base skills (all with an OBP of over .350). So, as much of the league focuses on the three true outcomes while trying to perfect their launch angle, Van Wagenen has targeted quality hitters who can contribute without necessarily having to hit a home run.
Of the three, only Ramos has a history of injuries. But if they can stay healthy, they’ll provide a solid foundation for the sustained offensive success needed to compliment the team’s strength – starting pitching. And if they can’t remain healthy then the team’s depth behind them, Jeff McNeil, Travis d’Arnaud, and Todd Frazier will be available to hold the fort down until they return.