The Mets starting lineup with Brandon Nimmo out needs some work

The Mets starting lineups without Brandon Nimmo raise some questions.
Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets
Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Brandon Nimmo didn’t start on Thursday or Friday for the New York Mets due to an illness. A dramatic late entrance to walk it off like he did on the previous Sunday wasn’t in the cards although they managed to pick up a win before the lineup went completely absent on Friday in their 8-0 loss.

Nimmo has been virtually locked in as the team’s leadoff hitter for several years now. Even with the presence of Starling Marte, Jeff McNeil, and even Francisco Lindor who spent years in Cleveland batting first, Nimmo has been an immovable force at the top. In his absence, the Mets have opted to go with Tyrone Taylor in the leadoff spot.

As a big fan of Taylor’s, I was rooting hard for him to excel in the elevated role. It was somewhat of a curious choice, though. And going 0 for 9 in back-to-back games tells us he probably isn’t the best option to hit first for the Mets.

Can the Mets give Harrison Bader a little more respect in the lineup?

For as much as I like Taylor, I’m not much of a fan of Harrison Bader or at least the contract they gave him. That’s a lot of money for a guy who’s often hurt and doesn’t hit for much power at all.

However, Bader has been one of the most reliable hitters in the lineup at least in terms of finding an empty spot on the field to place a hit. The .321 OBP isn’t one of the best on the team and his inability to draw a walk throughout his career doesn’t exactly scream for him to get an opportunity to bat first. Many of those same shortcomings apply to Taylor whose .277 OBP this year is far worse than what the Mets have gotten out of Bader.

Getting upset about who has the best chance to make 5 outs in a game for the Mets during the absence of Nimmo isn’t the problem. More so, it’s how the team recently shook up the lineup only to then go with the tame choice of Taylor in the top slot.

To try and get Pete Alonso out of his malaise, Carlos Mendoza actually moved him up. Why not, at least while they don’t have Nimmo, try the same with Lindor at the top?

This could be a matter of taking things one step at a time. Moving Lindor to the top and keeping Alonso in the two-hole hastens their back-to-back appearances in the order they’re most familiar with. In which case, we can understand it.

The probable prefered leadoff hitter backup option for the Mets is a limited player

But why not go bold? Well, they probably will if Nimmo misses another game against a righty. DJ Stewart led off last Sunday against the Atlanta Braves. His 2 for 3 performance with a walk was ideal for a leadoff hitter. Only because they were up against a lefty on Friday was he out of the starting lineup.

There’s still an icky feeling whenever a player like Stewart gets the nod to bat leadoff. He’s not prototypical. He’s built like a middle of the order hitter. Fortunately for him, he has stuck around and been one of the more productive Mets hitters. Drawing 19 walks versus 18 strikeouts, he is finding ways to get on base and cause panic without even swinging a bat. His 19 walks already tops the 15 he had in twice as many plate appearances last season. Is this guy for real?

Against lefties, it’s a little more complicated of a choice. Starling Marte is one of the club’s coldest hitters, but with a .278/.350/.444 slash line versus lefties, he has been one of the best. Taylor, on the other hand, is batting just .200/.200/.229 versus southpaws this year.

So exactly what is going into the lineup thought process in the absence of Nimmo?