The latest Mets starting lineup is a potential Opening Day preview

Is this the lineup we'll see on Opening Day?
Mar 19, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets third baseman Brett Baty (22) celebrates
Mar 19, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets third baseman Brett Baty (22) celebrates / Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets won on Tuesday 3-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals. It wasn’t an unusual spring performance by the team. Sean Manaea pitched well in the start. The bullpen allowed only one hit after he exited.

Before the game, it was the starting lineup that caught people’s attention most. As many noted, it looked like a potential preview of what the Opening Day lineup could be.

Carlos Mendoza tried to throw some cold water on the concept of Jeff McNeil in the cleanup spot. Yet we know the possibility of him being the protection for Pete Alonso is there with how few clear alternatives there are to at least begin the season.

So what do we think of this lineup?

Is this the most satisfying Mets lineup the team could assemble?

Other than the obvious missing power in the middle of the order, the top is fine. Rearrange them however you’d like. They’ll get results. As unappealing as it is to have McNeil and Starling Marte hitting in the middle of the order, it’s one of the more commonly proposed lineups.

The unknown of what the bottom three—and even four with Francisco Alvarez—will provide is what should have fans most concerned. Brett Baty did homer in this one. His spring hasn’t been completely abysmal. After last season, however, for him to have a spot as high in the lineup as he does, it shows a lack of serious improvement behind him.

This Mets lineup has the bottom four coming into this year following a season where Harrison Bader’s .232 average is the best of them. For the Opening Day DH to have a spot at the number eight hitter is alarming.

A problem with no easy solution using only the current personnel, only the addition of a hitter like J.D. Martinez to bat fourth and push everyone else down a spot or so could possibly make them look better on the cardstock lineups get written on. It’s a clear and present issue the Mets failed to address this offseason.

The starting rotation received the brunt of the battering this offseason from skeptics. An impressive spring and some have come around to believe that maybe it isn’t as big of an issue even in the absence of Kodai Senga. The offense, tied for the worst batting average at .231 this spring, and stacked in the 26th spot tied with the Atlanta Braves with a .675 OPS, hasn’t shown potency.

It’s only spring training. And still, we know the sliding scale of how good or bad the starting rotation can be. The same for the bullpen. Even the veteran hitters. A whole half of the Mets lineup is in dire need of breakout seasons. This is what could be the difference between success and failure in 2024.