What will the New York Mets Opening Day lineup look like?
New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen has had one of the most active offseasons in recent team history. For that, we are grateful.
The 40-man roster has been completely revamped, adding much-needed depth and versatility, while improving offensive threats throughout the entire lineup. On Opening Day, I predict the lineup looks like this:
1. Brandon Nimmo CF
The Mets have a surplus of position players competing for playing time, but Brandon Nimmo has secured the starting centerfield job and the leadoff spot. He had an OBP of .404 last season, had a relatively low strikeout rate (32% of his ABs), and has power to all fields. He will get on base, score runs, and can even mix in some stolen bases with his above average speed.
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2. Jed Lowrie 3B
New addition Jed Lowrie, coming off the best year of his career, will be slotted in the two-hole for most games, and playing third base. In an interview with WFAN Sports New York, Brodie Van Wagenen said that Jed Lowrie’s role is hitting second, so expect to see him there. Lowrie is a switch hitter with power from both sides, and he drives in a lot of runs. He slugged 23 home runs last season and finished with 99 RBI, which would have led the Mets had he been with the team last year. Plus, he’ll be getting good pitches to hit with the guy hitting third.
3. Robinson Cano 2B
Despite the PED fiasco last season, every baseball fan knows what Robinson Cano is capable of. He is an established Major League second baseman with a great glove and one of the smoothest swings in the league. In just 80 games last season, Cano hit .303 with 10 HR and 50 RBI. He is arguably the best hitter in this lineup.
4. Michael Conforto RF
I’m convinced we are going to see a 30+ home run, 100+ RBI season from Conforto this season. He’s coming off a 28 home run season with 82 RBI, coming off a bad shoulder injury. He’s healthy and ready to go.
5. Wilson Ramos C
The Buffalo is in New York, and he’ll obviously be the starting catcher. Ramos gives the Mets the first offensive catching since Paul Lo Duca. .306 batting average, gap to gap power, and a 32% caught stealing percentage.
6. Todd Frazier 1B
I expect to see Todd Frazier at first base and in the six-hole until the arrival of Peter Alonso. He’s coming off a below average season where he hit .213 with 18 homers. Despite the Alonso hype, expect the Mets to keep him in the minors until they gain control of him for another year. Frazier will hold his spot at first base, then be a bench/role player once Alonso is with the big league club.
7. Jeff McNeil LF
One of the main stories of a disappointing 2018 season was the emergence of Jeff McNeil. He has a tremendous feel for the bat, puts the ball in play, and although it was a small sample size, hit .329 in 63 games. He will be transitioning to the outfield during Spring Training according to van Wagenen, and this is the right move. The infield is crowded, but McNeil played far too well to be relinquished to a bench role. The Mets need his bat in the lineup as much as possible, and his athleticism and glove should make the adjustment just fine.
8. Amed Rosario SS
The young shortstop is poised to be a breakout star in 2019. In 2018, he hit .256 with nine home runs, drove in 51, and swiped 24 bases. These are very good numbers for a time when offensive shortstops in MLB seem to be obsolete. He ended the season last year on a great note and will carry that into 2019, providing a formidable eight-hole hitter while playing a reliable shortstop.
9. Jacob deGrom P
What else can be said about Jacob deGrom? Coming off one of the best statistical pitching seasons in live ball era history, he is clearly the Opening Day starter. His absurd 1.70 ERA led the majors in 2018 and he cruised his way to the NL Cy Young award. It is possible however that manager Mickey Callaway will put deGrom in the eight-hole with Rosario hitting ninth, something he did frequently last season, but I’m making a more traditional prediction.
The New York Mets are a much different team this year than last year heading into Opening Day. The team now has depth which provides a safety net for when people get hurt, which is inevitable (it’s a long season). This lineup has the potential to be dangerous, and it will be ready to go against the Nationals on March 28th.
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What do you think the Opening Day lineup will be?