The starting nine for the New York Mets in 2021 will include two major differences. Francisco Lindor will play a whole lot of games as the shortstop and James McCann will suit up behind the plate for the majority of the year.
Outside of those two, the bulk of the games will include returning players. The Mets didn’t completely overhaul their starting lineup. They did, however, add some changes to the bench.
Luis Guillorme and Tomas Nido are the two returning players expected to find a spot on the second-string to start the year. Joining them, we have new guys with a special set of skills the club should utilize often.
Jose Martinez could get a lot of big pinch-hits for the Mets
I think a lot of us are expecting Jose Martinez to crack the Mets’ roster. The veteran first baseman/corner outfielder has hit .300+ twice in his career in seasons in which he had 300 or more plate appearances. Only because players of his defensive aptitude aren’t coveted in free agency, he settled on a minor league deal with the Mets this winter.
I could see him used as the primary pinch-hitter for the club. Powerful enough to leap outfield walls with a single swing, Martinez could become a dangerous weapon for the team this season.
Jonathan Villar will give the Mets speed and maybe a nice bat
Not all that long ago, Jonathan Villar knocked 24 home runs for the 2019 Baltimore Orioles. The season included 162 games played and 40 stolen bases along with some more gaudy numbers on an otherwise awful team.
Villar is coming to the Mets under completely different circumstances. Expected to behave as a bench player, he’ll get pinch-running opportunities but also be in line to start whenever an infielder needs a day off. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him used as a defensive replacement in some capacity either, although Guillorme is a much better option for this. Instead, expect Villar to get into games for his legs and his bat.
Kevin Pillar is one of the best fourth outfielders in baseball
Barring a major roster change, Kevin Pillar should be the fourth outfielder on the Mets in 2021. This is an excellent choice. He should be starting for a below-average team hoping to flip him at the trade deadline. Instead, he joins the Metropolitans on a rather stacked bench.
Pillar is known mostly for his glove but he can also hit. He won’t get on base at a very nice clip yet he will put the ball in play and strike a home run and every once in a while. We’ll probably see him enter games late as a defensive substitute and start against tough lefty pitchers.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
It’s still possible the Mets carry one more bench player. Another consideration, what if someone gets hurt this spring? It’s tough to get throw all of those drills and exhibition games without at least one man getting sidelined to start the season. Prepared for the worst while hoping for the best, I think the Mets bench players can step up in their roles and become starters in a worst case scenario.