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NY Mets Lineup: Three best options to hit lead off for the 2021 season

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: Brandon Nimmo #9 of the New York Mets celebrates after scoring a run in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on September 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: Brandon Nimmo #9 of the New York Mets celebrates after scoring a run in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on September 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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CLEVELAND, OH – SEPTEMBER 22: Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians hits an RBI double off Matt Foster #63 of the Chicago White Sox during the tenth inning at Progressive Field on September 22, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the White Sox 5-3. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

Francisco Lindor

While in Cleveland, Lindor hit leadoff more than any other spot in their order. He did it well, but not as well as the other options the Mets have. In that role in his career, Lindor has slashed .278/.342/.518. What Lindor has that the other two options listed don’t is an ability to steal bases. Lindor can be relied upon to steal around 20 bags any given season. Nimmo and McNeil just don’t do that often.

But what Nimmo and McNeil have that Lindor doesn’t is an ability to get on base at an extremely high level. McNeil and Nimmo can be relied upon to post an OBP of at least .380. Lindor has not come close to that number once in his career. His career-best OBP season was 2016 when it was at .358. This number is very solid but it is not as elite as Nimmo and McNeil.

To me, Lindor appears to be the perfect number three-hitter, which was his second most common spot in the order in Cleveland. He provides a ton of pop along with that sparkling glove we all know and can’t wait to see.

Prior to the shortened 2020 season, Lindor had put up three straight 30+ home run seasons. McNeil’s career-high in that category is 23 while Nimmo’s is 17. Having Lindor’s power behind guys like Nimmo and McNeil who get on base at an elite clip should result in a ton of runs for those two and a ton of RBI for Lindor.

There are two reasons I believe Lindor is a very intriguing option for the leadoff spot. One, he is comfortable there. Even if his best numbers came from the number three spot, there is some value in hitting where you have hit most often in your career. The second thing I find intriguing is his power and speed combination. If Lindor gets on base, it’s a lot more likely for him to steal second or to score from first on a double than McNeil or Nimmo.

And furthermore, putting the Mets up 1-0 before the second batter comes up puts a ton of pressure on the opponent while giving the Mets a pretty nice advantage right out of the gate. Lindor has 18 career leadoff home runs, compared to Nimmo’s five and McNeil’s three.

What I wouldn’t be opposed to would be Lindor leading off against lefties. With Nimmo’s struggles against southpaws very prevalent, I would like for Lindor to get a shot in that role if Nimmo continues to struggle against left-handers. The switch hitter is a better right-handed hitter than left as he has slashed .301/.364/.487 in his career against lefties.

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With all of that being said, speed and power aren’t necessarily what I look for the most in a leadoff hitter. If Nimmo and McNeil can set the table for Lindor to drive in runs while also being on base in front of other power bats the Mets have I believe this offense will thrive. They were one of the best offenses without him, and Lindor in my opinion would be the best bat in this order.

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