Rounding Out: Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, Jeff McNeil, James McCann
Buck Showalter will have several quality bats to choose from in rounding out his lineup card – and he will need to get creative in determining which order works the best.
The qualities that make Canha and McNeil possible fits higher in the lineup could work to the Mets’ advantage in a world without pitchers hitting. While both would slot in nicely in the sixth or seventh spot, the case could be made for one of them to hit ninth, effectively giving the Mets an extra leadoff hitter upon turning the lineup over. Hypothetically, the Mets could have Canha (or McNeil), Nimmo, and Marte as the three due up in an inning after the eighth hitter makes the final out, giving the Mets three high-average/on-base threats in succession.
Eduardo Escobar profiles as a switch-hitting power bat the Mets can toggle around the bottom of the order, depending on different matchups. The veteran earned his first All-Star nod in 2021 with 28 home runs and 90 runs batted in, spending most of the year with Arizona before being traded to Milwaukee and helping the Brewers win the National League Central division title.
James McCann will likely slot in eighth or ninth in the order in his second season as the primary catcher. It was a struggle at the plate last year for McCann, hitting just .232 with an OPS well below league average (.643). Similar to McNeil, however, he profiles as a potential bounce-back candidate who could dramatically lengthen the lineup if he plays closer to where he was with the Chicago White Sox in 2019-2020 (.276 average across 536 at-bats).
Inevitably, the Mets will have many different lineups throughout the coming season, whether it be dictated injuries, performance, or simply pitching matchups. Nevertheless, there is more depth and flexibility available now than what the team had going into the offseason. With more moves undoubtedly coming once the lockout ends, the Mets should be well positioned to consistently field a competitive starting nine come Opening Day.