Elevating DJ Stewart from bench player to a serious platoon option next year

DJ Stewart has shown enough to add his name into the mix as a potential platoon player next year.
Texas Rangers v New York Mets
Texas Rangers v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Exactly where does DJ Stewart fit into the plans for next season? With 10 home runs on the season already, he’s tied with Tommy Pham for the sixth most among all New York Mets players.

All Mets fans will be in agreement that Stewart has officially won a roster spot for next year. What’s more debatable is exactly where he’d fit in. The bench seemed appropriate except Stewart won’t stop hitting.

The current Mets regime hasn’t been shy about platooning players. The ill-fated Daniel Vogelbach platoon with Darin Ruf at the DH spot last year is the prime example of what happens when it goes wrong. Next year, a platoon with Stewart and someone else seems perfectly appropriate at this time.

Who could the NY Mets platoon DJ Stewart with?

Stewart has been playing mostly right field for the Mets and struggling against left-handed pitchers. We’re familiar with the struggling against lefties part. Vogelbach prepared us for anything.

Whether it’s left field or right field and even the DH spot you’d pencil Stewart in at, he’s not a guy who should be playing regularly against southpaws. If he’s in right field, the plan would obviously be to move Starling Marte over to left field. He isn’t going away quite yet.

The obvious DH platoon with Stewart is to pair him alongside Mark Vientos. The problem here is Vientos feels like a wasted player if all he does is start against left-handed pitchers. How will he ever develop into a big league hitter? It’s not ideal for him or any of the youngsters. Not even carrying three catchers and having Francisco Alvarez DH works because it means putting left-handed hitting Omar Narvaez into the lineup. Why have a platoon to strengthen yourself at one place and weaken at another?

The Mets will face a similar challenge as they did last winter in free agency when it comes to attracting players who fall into this category. The lack of playing time scared away several free agent targets. Stewart’s presence could have the same effect on players who see too big of an uphill battle to win. He has locked himself into good favor with the ball club already.

Ideally, the Mets don’t choose a direct platoon partner. Thanks to the presence of the DH, they don’t need to settle for a corner outfielder. This is more of a starting lineup platoon than a positional one. 

Stewart has earned himself a chance to play as much as possible for the remainder of 2023. And if the Mets want to commit yet not sign anything in blood, planning out a way to get him more at-bats next season with a safety net can work. What’s to stop Stewart from figuring it out against lefties and winning an everyday job anyway?