The Mets have arguably one of the most lethal line-ups in baseball, and at the heart of the line-up, three of the most feared hitters in baseball reside: David Wright, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado. Last year the three combined for 100 Home Runs and close to 400 RBI.
Much has been said about the order of which these three hitters should appear in the line-up. In the second half of 2007 and all of 2008, David Wright hit in the third spot with Beltran and Delgado following as the fourth and fifth spots.
The first half inning for a player's respective team is the only inning in which the players know who will be the first ones at bat. After that, it is anyone's guess who will be batting that half inning. A good hitter can hit anywhere in the line-up and adapt to the role that slot entails.
David Wright is a terrific number three hitter because he gets on base frequently, has good speed, and is very patient at the plate. The Mets were first in the majors last year in the first inning run production, and that was mainly due to Jose Reyes getting on base immediately and David Wright driving him home.
Wright is the typical .300 hitter who does strike out a lot, about 110 times per year, but also walks a lot, on average about 90 times per season. Wright is a slugger, but does hit a significant amount of singles and also doubles, about 40 per year, and takes the extra base when the situation calls, typical small ball play.
Carlos Beltran is a terrific slugger also with good speed, and like Wright is a member of the 30/30 club, but typically does not put up the RBI numbers that Wright and Delgado do, but he does score more runs than they do. So his contribution to the batting order cannot be undervalued.
Carlos Delgado is the third slugger, and that is his main function, to drive the runs home with the long ball. He does not have the small ball numbers, mainly due to his lack of speed and aggression on the bases.
In order for the Mets to be successful in 2009, all three of their sluggers will need to lead the team and put up the majority of run production that we have come to expect.