The best Mets lineup they can possibly have is dependent on Starling Marte

A productive Starling Marte can give the Mets more room to experiment with an improved lineup.

Jul 5, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; New York Mets outfielder Starling Marte against the Arizona
Jul 5, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; New York Mets outfielder Starling Marte against the Arizona / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Should we expect a New York Mets starting lineup shakeup this year? Opening Day will probably bore us with predictability. Certain players on this team have slotted in at the same spots on a routine basis.

The best possible starting lineup the Mets can put together is actually different from what most would draw up. It’s largely dependent on Starling Marte whose performance can have him hitting in a variety of spots. The best place for him is in the number one spot.

What the best possible Mets starting lineup should look like at the top

How certain should anyone be that Marte actually is healthy and able to hit leadoff for the Mets this coming year? It’ll depend on how confident you are predicting the March temperature in Central Park 50 years from now. The injuries that plagued him last year are an easy explanation as to why he performed so poorly. It should actually have us feeling a little better. He’s not just a guy who suddenly regressed. The defense and power might’ve been gone. The speed was still there.

A revenge tour by Marte is exactly what the Mets need in order to actually get the most out of everyone. Because of the way the Mets roster is built, a starting four like this has some great benefits:

1) Starling Marte
2) Francisco Lindor
3) Brandon Nimmo
4) Pete Alonso

After those four, it’s a bit iffier. Jeff McNeil in the number five spot? We can accept it, as unideal as it may be. One of the youngsters proving to be a reliable power bat would be the most satisfying choice. McNeil can hit behind him and essentially help set the table for the bottom part of the lineup.

Those bottom lineup debates can happen another time. For now, let’s focus on the benefits of batting Starling Marte, Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo, and Pete Alonso one-two-three-four.

How this Mets lineup gets the most out of the first four

Marte and Lindor at the top of the lineup will allow them to more freely run the bases. A leadoff single from Marte can quickly turn into a double if he uses his legs the right way. Lindor would benefit the same way with a faster player hitting in front of him. Rather than bat Lindor first, having him in the two slot with his power can make the occasional first inning home run worth two runs rather than just one.

Fans do seem a little more open to Nimmo hitting somewhere other than first. His strong OBP numbers have made him a practical must. However, a lack of base stealing with two guys capable of swiping 30 is one reason to drop him. Add in the increased power we saw last season and hitting behind Marte and Lindor makes a little more sense.

The ability to get in base is Nimmo’s greatest weapon. To have this in front of the club’s best power hitter will benefit them. Alonso needs to hit with as many runners on base as possible. No one on this roster gets on more than Nimmo.

Is this lineup construction perfect? Hardly. As mentioned, things get murky after. And because it is so largely dependent on Marte having a year like he did in 2022, it might not even be logical.

The truly important part is to have the order go Lindor/Nimmo/Alonso. Nimmo doesn’t steal enough bases to hit in front of Lindor. Lindor doesn’t get on base enough to benefit Alonso. A starting three of them in order doesn’t quite work either just yet because of how diminished the rest of the lineup could look.

In a season of risk-taking with the free agent additions, the Mets shouldn’t hesitate to try out a few new tricks with the mainstays in the lineup. See if maybe a little shuffling can get the most out of someone else.