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Mets Starting Lineup: Finding consistent ABs for J.D. Davis and Luis Guillorme

Apr 25, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets left fielder J.D. Davis (28) hits a home run during the first inning against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 25, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets left fielder J.D. Davis (28) hits a home run during the first inning against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Now in his third season with the New York Mets, we have gotten some very different results from J.D. Davis. In 2019, he rocketed his way into the middle of the team’s lineup. He followed it up with a slump in 2020 which included far less power than we would have liked to see, a huge dip in his batting average, and continued questions about his defense.

His 2021 start continues to show his weakness as a fielder but his bat seems to have returned to full force. Davis is hitting the cover off of the ball just as everyone was beginning to doubt him again.

Meanwhile, Luis Guillorme is also playing well when he gets his chances. Practically the antithesis of the type of player Davis is, the great bearded one does bring some impressive tools to the diamond. He’s quickly becoming a fan favorite because of his grit and ability to do things most Mets players right now cannot—play spectacular defense.

How do the Mets work J.D. Davis and Luis Guillorme into the lineup regularly?

Davis and Guillorme are each playing third base with regularity this season. Davis is number one on the depth chart with Guillorme taking over a lot of the games when Davis is out. Neither is a natural at the position. Davis is best-suited for a DH role while Guillorme feels more like a natural middle infielder.

Regardless, they’re the top two dogs to play at the hot corner. But there is only one third base each game. How can Luis Rojas possibly get each their share of at-bats?

The problem has no answer. A platoon doesn’t work when Davis is hitting the way he has. Second to only maybe Brandon Nimmo at this point, Davis has been one of the biggest run-producers on the Mets. Just one year after a dismal season with the club where he was the lone player on the roster to go to arbitration, Davis is performing well once again when his back was up against the wall. Still a top trade candidate on the team, he’s making it much more difficult to sit him let alone send him to another organization.

Guillorme’s role with the team feels far more defined than Davis’. Despite some nice plate appearances and a superior defensive reputation, I’m not sure we have seen nearly enough to feel sold on what he can do as an everyday player. I know there are those among the Mets fans that are ready to see. It would be a fun experiment. Guillorme puts together some of the best at-bats on the team and seems to come through more often than not. Statistically, we know it’s not true but we can’t help how we feel, can we?

Against lefties, it’s a no-brainer what the Mets should do. Davis belongs over at third base hitting somewhere in the middle of the order. Versus righties, it’s a little more difficult to say Guillorme should start all of the time. Davis has been too valuable to the Mets to sit that often.

I’m still convinced Davis doesn’t make it through the 2022 season as a member of the Mets. Either this summer or over the winter, I see him getting traded.

The definition of insanity is taking place in Flushing. He’s one of many players out of position this year. It has already wrecked a few games. Even if he hits at a high level, I’m not so sure his bat makes enough of a difference when compared to other guys who may hit less but play greater defense.

This year, Davis and Guillorme will need to get used to sharing the position. Guillorme could get some starts at second base as well. However, with Jonathan Villar around, those opportunities could be fewer than he would like.

The ideal situation, of course, might be just the way the Mets mapped it out. Davis starts and by the seventh or eighth inning, we see Guillorme in the game for defensive purposes. He could even get the final hacks in for the spot in the batting order without the club losing all that much on offense. Although limited in power, I trust Guillorme enough to draw a walk or maybe punch a single past an infielder.

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What to do with Davis and Guillorme has been one of the year’s good problems to have. If used right, they could complete the third base position in a positive yet somewhat unorthodox way.

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