Jerry Manuel is thinking about giving Luis Castillo the opportunity to hit in the leadoff position and moving Jose Reyes down to the third spot in the lineup. It is not written in stone by any stretch but it does show that Jerry Manuel is serious about changing things around from the previous two seasons that both ended in bitter disappointment.
Jose Reyes is one of the fastest runners in the Major Leagues and when he gets on base, things happen, mostly for the good, but he does get a little too aggressive and loses focus sometimes and this results in him getting picked off either 1st or 2nd base. Luis Castillo used to hit second for the Florida Marlins so they are hoping to get him started by giving him the leadoff spot even though he has yet to prove that he can play on a consistent basis for the course of the season.
By moving Reyes down and moving Castillo up, it does affect the flow and order of the 3-4-5 combination of Wright-Beltran-Delgado because both Wright and Beltran are fast runners and can be used effectively at the top of the order, even though Wright is rumored to be experiencing leg and running problems so far this spring, even though officially he does not need to be working out at Port St Lucie until Wednesday, and Beltran has had both legs operated on, they are both good runners.
They are both expected to participate in the upcoming World Baseball Classic so it will be interesting to see how things develop in the next two weeks. Delgado does not have good speed so it affects him the least, but I am pretty sure that he would not want a fast runner behind him on the bases.
Time will tell how the lineup will materialize, but it is a proven fact that when David Wright hits in the top three spots, first inning run production will occur with far more regularity than if he does not hit until the fourth or fifth spots.
Last season the Mets were first in the Majors with first inning runs, mainly due to Wright hitting third all season compared to 2007 when he did not start hitting third until the All-Star break. Having the early lead does help the starting pitcher relax with at least a one or two run cushion. The offense did not step up in situations last year, but the bullpen was the main culprit in the Mets not making the postseason.