What does the New York Mets outfield alignment look like on Opening Day 2022? I think most of us figure Starling Marte plays center field. The corner spots would include Mark Canha and Brandon Nimmo in some capacity.
Throughout their careers, all three of these outfielders have done their outfield duties in more than one spot. Each has experience in center field, a great position of need the club has been on the hunt for the last several offseasons.
However it is the Mets decide to align it, they have an opportunity to simply go with whatever is working at the moment.
The Mets gave themselves more options in the outfield at all three positions
Nimmo was far better in center field than I think anyone figured he would be last season. It was actually only his second season with a positive WAR on defense which says a lot because he has also played the corners plenty since debuting in 2016.
His reputation coming into the 2021 season was that he was left fielder or right fielder (take your pick) thrust into playing center field because the Mets had no better options. About every defensive statistic you can look at points toward Nimmo having figured out the position.
The Mets weren’t about to fall into that trap of trusting him too much. It’s part of the reason why they brought Marte to town. A two-time Gold Glove winner as a left fielder, he was much closer to average as a center fielder last season.
Canha is also worth consideration as a center fielder, probably only in times of need. He has played there more than he has right field, posting mostly below-average numbers on that side of the ball. Like Nimmo and even Marte, he’s a much better fit in a corner spot.
These three outfielders give the Mets automatic depth
In the past, we’ve seen the Mets get themselves into trouble with a lack of outfield depth. It has been a theme just about every recent season. Last year was no exception.
With three guys capable of playing all three outfield positions, they’ve created security. Any of the three can play center field and not embarrass themselves. The corner spots are easier to plug in. From the current roster, left field could be filled by J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, or Dominic Smith. McNeil has also played some right field and I’m sure the other two could be serviceable there if they find themselves stuck in Arizona with a short roster and no redeye flights to bail them out immediately.
Injuries will happen. What the Mets were able to accomplish with their outfield additions, they’ve ensured the panic button at any single spot won’t get pressured prematurely.