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Mets Starting Lineup: Why it’s time to shake things up a little

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Kevin Pillar #11 of the New York Mets in action against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on April 13, 2021 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Phillies 4-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Kevin Pillar #11 of the New York Mets in action against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on April 13, 2021 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Phillies 4-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Through the early part of the 2021 season, the New York Mets have had a lot of difficulties consistently driving in runs.

As of now, through the team’s first 23 games of the season, despite making several offensive upgrades this past off-season, they rank dead last in the MLB in runs scored, with a grand total of 76.

The offensive struggles have gotten so bad, that in the aftermath of Monday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, the team announced that they have relieved hitting coach Chili Davis of his duties, hoping that a change in coaches could help jump-start the bats.

While a change in coaches could help to improve the offensive numbers, I believe a big change the Mets should make comes from the way the batters are arranged. In short:

The Mets need to scuffle around their starting lineup.

Through the majority of the early season, several of the team’s hitters such as Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto, Dominic Smith, and Jeff McNeil got off to a slow start at the plate. However, many of them continue to occupy the top spots in the lineup.

While a few of them are turning a corner and have strung together some good games at the plate, some of the Mets’ top hitters this year are batting further down in the line up, and scuffling them all around could improve the team’s offense.

Brandon Nimmo has been the team’s top hitter in 2021, with his spot at the top of the lineup locked up, with him being one of the league leaders in OBP. The question that follows is how to drive him home.

Starting shortstop Francisco Lindor has been the primary no. 2 hitter in 2021, however, he currently has the lowest averages on the team.

While I’m sure he will rebound, for the time being, the Mets should move him back to a lower spot in the order in favor of a hotter bat. The only question his, who should fill his spot?

One option is JD Davis, who has been one of the team’s top hitters to being the year, however, he was frequently hitting in the lower half of the lineup.

While he was recently placed on the injured list, upon his return,  moving him up to the top of the line up could improve their offensive production, ideally either batting in the 2, 3, or 4 hole behind Nimmo and or Alonso.

Swapping Davis up and Lindor down would also allow Francisco to hopefully improve his average in a lower pressure spot in the lineup, and get his bat to heat up as we get deeper into the season.

Another player who has struggled mightily to begin 2021 is Dominic Smith, who has served as the primary left fielder for New York. However, Smith is a subpar fielder, and at the plate is batting a mere .222 with a .247 OBP.

In contrast, the Mets have Kevin Pillar serving as their 4th outfielder. However, he is a superior defender, and in the last two games he has started, Pillar went 5-9 with 2 HR and 3 RBI, making a case that he should be given an audition as an everyday player, especially as Smith begins to struggle.

One final note is that Luis Guillorme was recently placed on the injured list, but prior to that, he had been batting .333 with a .478 OBP in 14 games, serving mostly as a bench player.

While it was a small sample size, seeing as the current starters are continuing to struggle, upon Guillorme’s return, he should also be granted an audition as a starting player, same as Pillar.

The bottom line is, the Mets have players at the top of the order who are continuing to struggle, while others either in the back of the lineup or on the bench are producing much better numbers in a smaller sample size.

Players like Davis, Pillar, and Guillorme when healthy should be given a shot playing consistently at the top of the lineup, while struggling players like Lindor and Smith should be dropped back in the lineup, or even platooned on the bench for the time being.

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The Mets need to find a way to jump-start this lineup, and if scuffling some of the players around and giving the bench players a shot at a starting job gives them a better shot of winning, they better make the move sooner rather than later.

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