Batting average isn’t the same statistic it used to be. Like RBI used to be a quintessential measure for a player’s run-production, batting average helped cover the less powerful players. OBP has taken over batting average as a point of reference. Nevertheless, there’s a batting title race each year and the New York Mets are usually out of it.
Only in 2011 when Jose Reyes hit .337 has a Mets player come away with the league’s highest batting average. They haven’t come close again in recent seasons. Often, even those .300+ years have come from guys who missed too much time to qualify with the appropriate number of at-bats.
The 2022 Mets will at least have their own internal batting title battle. The competition looks pretty wide open.
Who will be the 2022 Mets batting title champion?
Jeff McNeil is coming off of a bad year but with three straight .300+ seasons on his resume prior to 2021, he should be a guy in contention. He’s an easy choice to go with because hitting for average is the most above-average thing he tends to do.
Starling Marte is another name to consider. He has hit .289 in his 10-year career which is actually only 10 points lower than the .299 McNeil rests at entering this season. Last season, Marte hit .310 for the Miami Marlins and Oakland Athletics. A prototypical top-of-the-order guy, he’s someone who should easily be able to hit for one of the highest averages on the Mets.
Another good candidate is Brandon Nimmo. In case you missed it, the last two seasons for him have included averages of .280 and then .292. The issue he’ll run into is playing enough games to qualify. Easily the favorite to lead the team in OBP, will we get another solid batting average performance out of him?
Those three are favorites. What about some dark horse candidates?
If Dominic Smith can find his swing again, look for him to earn back more playing time and hit around .300. The same can be said of J.D. Davis although I tend to believe he’ll have a tougher time getting into the lineup than Smith.
Let’s also not forget about Francisco Lindor. Although his days for hitting for a high average seem to have passed in favor of more power, perhaps he can surprise us.
Then there’s always Pete Alonso. He’d be able to lead the team in batting average simply because no one else stays healthy long enough. By default, maybe the Polar Bear wins a Mets Triple Crown.