The 2021 New York Mets starting lineup could use a right-handed hitter that hits for average. They didn’t have it whatsoever in 2020.
I am certain I am not the first person to notice this fact about the 2020 New York Mets, but it hasn’t been discussed much at all. In a typical starting nine we saw this past season, the team would throw four righties on the lineup card.
Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, Wilson Ramos, and Amed Rosario are those four horsemen. Each had performances of varying degrees. A case can be made to say that all four underperformed.
There is one area these righties all lacked. It’s in the batting average department. Rosario actually led with a .252 batting average. Davis was next at .247 followed by Ramos at .239. Finally, there’s Big Pete with a .231 batting average in 2020.
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Batting average is a dinosaur statistic. To criticize it alone would be archaic. Next, I’ll blame the walk-up music a player uses. Of course, he’s struggling. He likes rock and roll!
Still, it’s important to note all four of these righties weren’t able to ball in play for a hit as well as their lefty counterparts. Robinson Cano, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith all hit over .300. Only McNeil wasn’t a surprise.
We know the positions the Mets need to upgrade this offseason: catcher and center field. We also know the candidates to do so. In their pursuit, I would like to see the Mets take a look at those righty bats capable of hitting for a higher than average, well, batting average.
Amazingly, there is a right-handed hitting batting champion available in free agency. He doesn’t play catcher or center field. You know him well, though. He’s DJ LeMahieu of the New York Yankees.
It’s not an impossible task plugging LeMahieu into this lineup. Third base would be the most logical position, but it means making a major change elsewhere. Specifically, Davis or McNeil needs to get traded.
Beyond LeMahieu, there are plenty of higher average choices from the right side. If free agency doesn’t offer the best candidates, I would like to see the Mets work a trade.
Hitting for average wasn’t an issue for the Mets this past season because of how well the lefties did. I would like to see a little more balance.
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Among the free agent fits at the top of this class, J.T. Realmuto and George Springer can provide a boost to the batting average but not to an extreme. Neither is an elite hitter for average. They are, however, an improvement from what the righties did in the 2020 Mets lineup.