The New York Mets came so close to surviving Spring Training without any major injuries. Starling Marte had an oblique issue but has healed and played very well towards the end of spring. Carlos Carrasco got a late start to his spring but is healthy and despite some struggles, will be in the Opening Day rotation.
They came close, but in the last week things have gone wrong. Jacob deGrom is sidelined for what will probably end up being close to two months. He is the best pitcher in baseball and was new manager Buck Showalter's choice to be the Opening Day starter. With him on the shelf, that's not going to happen.
Presumably new Mets signee and three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer would take his spot, but he had a hamstring issue at the end of the spring and is expected to start on Friday.
What will the Mets Opening Day lineup be?
1. Brandon Nimmo - CF
2. Starling Marte - RF
3. Francisco Lindor - SS
4. Pete Alonso - 1B
5. Eduardo Escobar - 3B
6. Mark Canha - LF
7. J.D. Davis - DH
8. Jeff McNeil - 2B
9. James McCann - C
SP - Tylor Megill
The top four of the Mets lineup is pretty set. Nimmo, Marte, Lindor, and Alonso have hit in that order for much of the spring and that should, and hopefully will remain the case for the opener. The only question mark there is the health of Brandon Nimmo. He's dealt with neck stiffness for a lot of the spring and it just flared up again. It's been an issue in the past with him as well. I don't know if he's going to play as nothing has been confirmed but I do know that if he is, he will be leading off.
The starting pitcher for the Nationals will be Patrick Corbin. The southpaw is coming off of a dreadful year and is facing a Mets team with a lot of flexibility. Newly signed Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha should hit anywhere between fifth and seventh this season, I have them hitting fifth and sixth for this game. When the Mets face a righty, I believe one of Robinson Cano or Dominic Smith will fill in as the DH and hit in between them.
For the opener I predict J.D. Davis will get the start. He might not be the best of the three DH candidates, but he's the only right handed hitter. Righties slashed .302/.359/.562 against Corbin in 2021. The Mets should try and fill their lineup with as many right handed hitters as possible, Davis is a great fit. Davis also has owned Corbin slashing .345/.406/.862 with four home runs and six RBI in 29 at bats against Corbin. In my opinion, despite Cano's monster paycheck and Smith's outstanding spring, Davis is the obvious starter here.
Rounding out the lineup the Mets will have Jeff McNeil and James McCann. Both are coming off of very down years and can hopefully find their games again. McNeil I believe can do that, McCann I'm not so sure. If his struggles persist I would certainly hope Tomas Nido, an all world defensive catcher, will get most of the reps behind the plate.
The starting pitcher is most likely going to be Tylor Megill. With deGrom out and Scherzer pushed back, the Mets knew they were going to have to be a little bit unorthodox. They wanted to keep Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker on their regular days, so they were deciding between Megill, David Peterson, and Trevor Williams. Mike Puma of the New York Post says the Mets are planning on starting Megill, which I believe is the right decision.
The Mets lineup is nowhere near perfect, but much improved. They should be competitive this season and should most definitely win on Opening Day against the rebuilding Nationals.