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Mets starting lineup remains one power bat short even at their best

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Pete Alonso #20 and Todd Frazier #21 of the New York Mets celebrate the win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on April 23, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The New York Mets defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 9-0. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Pete Alonso #20 and Todd Frazier #21 of the New York Mets celebrate the win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on April 23, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The New York Mets defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 9-0. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The New York Mets offense has made up for the poor pitching performance in the first few weeks of 2019. However, the starting lineup is still missing a third home run threat.

The formerly offense-first 2019 New York Mets were winning baseball games because of the offensive production. The starting pitching had been far less productive than anyone expected. Similarly, the bullpen fell short of what we hoped. It’s the bats that have made this team an early-season contender. Lately, they’ve gone quiet.

Specifically, we can credit the bats belonging to Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, and Jeff McNeil for the bulk of the production early on. For the most part, these three have played very well in 2019, offering up offense on a regular basis.

Alonso has been one of the league’s elite power hitters this year. Conforto has also hit with good power, setting him up for a possible new personal-best in the home run department. Once again, McNeil’s prowess at the plate has been contact and hitting for a high average.

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The rest of the lineup hasn’t been bad until late, but there isn’t a trusted power bat in the lineup other than Alonso and Conforto. Wilson Ramos has been practically void of hitting for extra bases. As for Robinson Cano, his power comes around only occasionally.

There are contenders on this roster to put on a power display. Todd Frazier is back and healthy. This may not make too many people happy, but he is a proven home run hitter. It’s not impossible to expect him to hit home runs at a superior rate even while suffering in the batting average department. If he can at least come around in this facet of the game, maybe there is some hope for him to receive regular playing time. So far, it hasn’t worked out.

Brandon Nimmo’s early struggles have dampened one opportunity for a two-man outfield of guys who hit 20+ home runs. We can hope he turns things around. For now, it’s the Michael Conforto Show featuring Nimmo and Juan Lagares.

Amed Rosario has yet to hit for much power in his career and when Jed Lowrie returns, I don’t expect him to average more than about 15 per 162 games. After missing a month already, he may be good for only about 12 this year.

The big power bat the Mets are missing right now belongs to Yoenis Cespedes. I’m not holding my breath for his return, however, he is the type of player they could really use. This lineup needs one more feared bat you cannot defeat easily. Alonso and Conforto are a solid duo, but they are beatable. Pitchers don’t fear them enough just yet.

At the trade deadline, the Mets may attempt to address this. However, the choices are slim as to where you can plug anyone into the everyday lineup. An outfield spot would only be an option if they were willing to move Nimmo to the bench. Meanwhile, the infield is as full as can be.

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When things are going well, a typical Mets lineup in 2019 is good but lacks the third imminent threat all of the best ones do. The fear of clearing the bases is necessary. The answer to this will need to come from currently under team control. The old Todd Frazier or a new Jeff McNeil with the power stroke he showed off in the minor leagues last year could do the trick. At the moment, we’ll just take singles.

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