Projecting Mets' 2014 Batting Order
As the Mets' offseason continues, the team currently looks better than it did a few months ago.
In the past few seasons, the Mets' pitching staff has been better generally speaking than the lineup. As a result, one of the Mets' biggest tasks for this offseason was making upgrades at certain positions. Those upgrades have now happened in the outfield, but certain areas of the infield are still in question going forward.
Nonetheless, if the 2014 season were to begin today, here is what the Mets' lineup would most likely consist of.
Statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference.
1. LF Curtis Granderson
With the Mets having signed Granderson to a four-year, $60 million contract, he will most likely be the Mets' new leadoff hitter.
Granderson hit 41 home runs in 2011 and 43 in 2012, which makes him by far one of the Mets' biggest power threats, but he also has speed that the Mets do not have much of, aside from Eric Young Jr., who may begin the 2014 season on the bench.
Due to his speed and the Mets' need for a good leadoff hitter, Granderson is a good bet to lead off. He will probably play left field, due to Juan Lagares' amazing range in center field.
2. 2B Daniel Murphy
Unless he happens to get traded, which could still possibly happen, Daniel Murphy will very likely reprise his role as the Mets' second baseman and second hitter in the lineup.
Murphy hit .286 with 13 home runs and 78 RBI last season, the latter two of which were career highs. He also led the Mets with 188 hits, 92 runs scored and 38 doubles. He should be able to provide similar or better numbers for the Mets going forward, while his defense at second base continues to improve.
3. 3B David Wright
At his usual spot, third in the order would be David Wright at third base. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.
Wright had an injury-plagued season in 2013, with a .307 average, 18 home runs and 58 RBI. Hopefully, he will be able to stay healthy in 2014 and put together another great season.
4. 1B Ike Davis/Lucas Duda
It looks pretty much inevitable that the Mets will be trading one of Ike Davis or Lucas Duda this offseason. Regardless of who gets moved, the Mets will have a left-handed hitting slugger at first base in 2014.
Davis batted just .205 this past season, with nine home runs and 33 RBI in 317 at-bats. Davis raised his 2012 .308 OBP to .326, thanks to a higher walk rate, but his slugging percentage fell from .462 to .334.
Davis got off to a very slow start and eventually was demoted in June for nearly a month. He hit slightly better after coming back, but in late August, he suffered a season-ending oblique injury. Davis hit 32 home runs and drove in 90 RBI in 2012, which were both career highs for him.
Duda meanwhile batted .223 with 15 home runs and 33 RBI in 318 at-bats. He was the starting left fielder until he got injured in June and was replaced by Eric Young Jr. in left field for the rest of the season. When Duda eventually returned in late August, it was as a first baseman. Originally, he was on the bench, but after Ike Davis got hurt, Duda took over at first base for the rest of the season.
While Davis may be the more accomplished player of the two, his 2014 salary will probably be higher than that of Duda. Trading Davis would then give the Mets more payroll flexibility for future trades and signings. Nothing is for certain yet, but if Davis and Duda are both with the Mets by the time spring training begins, it would be a big surprise.
Josh Satin could possibly platoon at first base against left-handed pitching. He hit .279 with three home runs and 17 RBI in 190 at-bats in 2013.
5. C Travis D'Arnaud
The Mets should give their young rookie catcher Travis d'Arnaud every opportunity and at least try him as the fifth hitter in the lineup, despite struggling in his brief call-up last season. d'Arnaud batted just .202 with one home run, five RBI, a .286 OBP and a .263 slugging percentage. d'Arnaud accumulated only 99 at-bats though, which will make him eligible to be a rookie in 2014.
d'Arnaud should hopefully be able to put together a very good rookie season and tap into the power he has. With the starting catching position his to lose, d'Arnaud should be able to put together 20+ home runs and 80+ RBI this season to start out what could be a long and productive career. If he can put together those kinds of numbers, he could certainly be in the running for NL Rookie of the Year.
6. RF Chris Young
The Mets' other notable offensive move was when they signed outfielder Chris Young to a one-year $7.25 million contract.
Young hit just .200 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI last season in 335 at-bats. It's not known right now if Young will be the everyday starting right fielder or just a platoon hitter. It's quite possible that he could be in a platoon in right field with the younger left-handed Matt den Dekker.
den Dekker is a very good defensive outfielder, but his bat is not as far developed. It will be interesting to see if the Mets have den Dekker on the Opening Day roster or starting the season in the minor leagues. This will likely have a big effect on how much playing time Young will end up getting.
If Travis d'Arnaud struggles early on in the season, Young could be moved up to the fifth spot in the lineup, but if all goes well, Young is a good fit in the sixth spot.
7. CF Juan Lagares
Center fielder Juan Lagares will most likely be the Mets' seventh hitter in the lineup unless they happen to find a better upgrade at shortstop. For now, though, Lagares slots in at seventh.
In 2013, Lagares batted .242, with just a .281 OBP, but he hit better as the season went on. Defensively though, Lagares played very well and showed Gold Glove potential. Lagares had a .983 fielding percentage with 15 assists and just five errors all season in 116 games. This is why he will almost certainly remain in center field over Granderson and Young.
If Lagares can continue to provide reliable defense in center field and becomes a better and more patient hitter at the plate, he would definitely help make the Mets into a better team.
8. SS Ruben Tejada
Ruben Tejada may not end up being the starting shortstop for the Mets on Opening Day, but if the season were to start today, he would very likely be the starting shortstop. As arguably the weakest hitter in the lineup, it only makes sense for Tejada to bat eighth.
Tejada batted .202 with 10 RBI in 208 at-bats in 2013. He missed a good chunk of the season with a quadriceps injury. All in all, it was a completely lost season for Tejada and he will probably have to earn his starting job back. This of course depends on whether the Mets end up signing a free agent like Stephen Drew or trade for a better shortstop. If the Mets happen to do any of this, it would almost certainly send Tejada to the bench and would possibly alter the Mets' lineup depending on who the addition would be.