Through the entire first month of the New York Mets season, there have been some bright spots along the way and there certainly have been some very low points that many of us fans are still licking our wounds from. While watching the first month of Mets baseball I’ve come to the realization that two particular players have caught my attention in two entirely different ways in regards to playing time. I firmly believe I’ve seen enough of outfielder Kevin Pillar and would love to see more of outfielder Albert Almora Jr. in the spots that Pillar has been placed in.
The 32-year old Pillar has largely struggled at the plate through the first month of this season after signing a one-year $3.6 million contract this offseason that includes both player and club options for 2022.
Manager Luis Rojas has occasionally used Pillar for spot starts in center field to spell Brandon Nimmo while also using him as one of his first bats off the bench in favor of Almora, who had one of the strongest springs on the roster.
The Mets should begin giving Albert Almora Jr. more opportunities for playing time over Kevin Pillar due to Pillar’s recent struggles at the plate.
In what may seem a bit perplexing based on Pillar’s play early on in the season, Pillar has more than double the amount of plate appearances than the 27-year old Almora, who may have more untapped potential at this point in his career than Pillar. In this case, it could be argued that Pillar’s contract, as well as his successful stint in 2020 with both the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies in which he hit a combined .288/.336/.462, are the reasons for his advantage of playing time over Almora.
However, despite the difference in monetary figures (one year, $1.2 million) Almora’s glove has been nothing short of fantastic when allowed to play, and we haven’t really had a chance to see him swing the bat as consistently as Pillar has.
While Almora was more of a buy-low candidate after struggling with the Chicago Cubs the last two seasons, we can’t also forget it was as soon as the onset of the 2019 season where Almora was considered part of the Cubs nucleus of young players that included Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kyle Schwarber.
If Mets fans didn’t know who Almora was he certainly put them on notice back on April 25th with his electric catch in center field against the Washington Nationals in which he robbed his former Cubs teammate and good friend Kyle Schwarber. According to StatCast Almora covered 95 feet in 5.7 seconds, which is absolutely incredible.
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At this point in the season outside of the Mets offensive struggles as a whole, the only other gripe I have is wanting to see Almora receiving more playing time than Kevin Pillar. It may not be the most Earth-shattering complaint, but it could go a long way to seeing if the Mets have caught lightning in a bottle and a potential long-term fit in the outfield for years to come.