Everyone expects Pete Alonso to lead the 2022 New York Mets in home runs. Why wouldn’t you? He is one of the league’s best pure power hitters. He can accidentally hit 30 in a season.
The runner-up is a little more difficult to pinpoint. Francisco Lindor has had years where he found his power stroke. After last season, I’m not sure anyone is ready to commit to him reaching anything much better than 25.
One of the new guys, Eduardo Escobar, should be a serious contender to finish behind only Alonso in the home run category. His 35 home runs in 2019 set a new personal best for him. The 28 he had in 2021 showed everyone there were still home runs to be swatted.
Expect Eduardo Escobar to be one of the more prolific Mets home run hitters in 2022
Escobar’s best home runs seasons came in his two most recent full campaigns. He managed to hit a very nice 69 in 364 games for the Arizona Diamond backs spanning from mid-2018 through the middle of 2021. Even the humidor couldn’t stop him from rounding the bases at a rate he never could during his early days with the Minnesota Twins.
The expected starting third baseman or even second baseman depending on what’s next for the Mets before Opening Day, he slots in nicely as a number five or six hitter. He won’t hit for average (he never has) and his OBP numbers shouldn’t be too glamorous. Escobar’s presence at the plate is for one main purpose: swing for the fences.
Escobar has shown an ability to do more than just hit home runs. In 28, he knocked 48 doubles. This included 37 of them in only 97 games with the Twins before he was traded.
Gap power is something we shouldn’t underestimate. If the Mets lineup is as productive as we hope, those line drives into the corner can become a lot more valuable.
Not so great projections for Eduardo Escobar
FanGraphs' Steamer projections don’t seem to think too highly of him with an expected slash line of only .241/.301/.429 with 22 home runs on the back of his digital NFT baseball card—do they even have backs? This is in a 162 game season so we may need to discount a few of those home runs.
The home run total would put him third on the team behind only Alonso (42 projected home runs) and Lindor (30 home runs for him). His numbers projected by them are quite underwhelming. It then begs the question: was he even worth signing?
Not all projects hit their mark and many of them miss big time. The Mets are going to need more than that out of Escobar. At minimum, a .250/.310/.440 slash line is what I’d like to see and what I would expect from this free agent addition.