Baseball was invented in a cornfield—or something—in the middle of New York by Abner Doubleday sometime when men wore powdered wigs and the end of them wearing top hats. This is at least how the legend goes. The sport is American but some of the most important players in the history of the game have come over from other countries. The New York Mets have had their share of stars born outside of the 50 United States.
A few names may immediately come to your mind. In trying to determine the best foreign-born Mets players, I struggled to rank them because how do you compare the gifted defensive seasons of Rey Ordonez and also leave off Francisco Lindor entirely when he must get better after year one? I’ll save a ranking for later in the future.
Speaking of Ordonez and Lindor, neither made my 26-man roster of players born outside of the 50 United States. Ordonez wouldn’t be the starting shortstop and a spot on the bench for him feels a little wasted. Lindor hasn’t done enough yet for the Mets to earn his spot so stay tuned for when he may finally do so.
Just to quickly set some parameters, all players born outside of the 50 states qualify. So U.S. Territories like Puerto Rico are available on this roster. Let’s see who made it.
NY Mets starting lineup of players born outside of the 50 states
SS – Jose Reyes from the Dominican Republic: It’s an easy choice selecting him as the starting shortstop. He’s the best the Mets have ever had both at the position and to hit leadoff.
3B – Edgardo Alfonzo from Venezuela: At third base, we have Edgardo Alfonzo. His flexibility to also play second base makes him an asset. Plus, he is one of the club’s best infielders.
CF – Carlos Beltran from Puerto Rico: Power, speed, and some Gold Glove work makes this a no-brainer decision. He’s hitting third where he can drive in runs but also score a few more.
LF – Yoenis Cespedes from Cuba: Health may be a little bit of a concern (okay, it’s a lotta concern) but when he is able to make it on the field, he can be one of the most dangerous hitters in the game.
1B – Carlos Delgado from Puerto Rico: At first base, we have a great slugger who even in his advanced years with the Mets managed to clobber a lot of home runs. You can swap him with Cespedes if you’d like.
RF – Angel Pagan from Puerto Rico: The lineup starts to take a little bit of a dip but at least we know we’re getting good defense in right field. In fact, you can even put him in center field and move Beltran over.
C – Wilson Ramos from Venezuela: There aren’t too many great Mets catchers born outside of the 50 states. Hoping he can get better on defense and at least hit a little, we go with Ramos.
2B – Felix Millan from Puerto Rico: We finish the lineup with our fourth Puerto Rican and a light-hitting second baseman who, on a weaker team, could hit closer to the top.
There’s no DH in this lineup—yet. I’ll leave that up to you to decide on. We still have a whole bench to look at.