Picking Walk-Up Songs for the Projected New York Mets Starting Lineup
The New York Mets will be using spring training to answer the burning questions regarding their Opening Day roster.
I recently outlined topics that should be on their to-do list. Important decisions need to be made at first base, the outfield, the starting rotation and the bullpen.
In addition to the ensuing position battles, players need to make crucial decisions with regard to what their walk-up songs should be.
It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when a batter hears the same song(s) 300 or more times per season during home games, it becomes an integral part of their identity on the field.
Justin Turner using Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” last year is a great example of that.
The songs chosen for the following position players might not be their style, but they all currently reside in the Billboard Hot 100. Each tune describes either how they may be feeling entering the season, the public perception of them or their apparent stance in the organization.
With not all the starting positions set in Port St. Lucie, there will be some players fighting for jobs. The following three players will be trying to hear their walk-up songs every single night.
Pick: "Sail (Instrumental)" by AWOLNATION
If Lucas Duda wins his position battle with Ike Davis at first base, fans could hear his walk-up music more often than originally expected. This song by AWOLNATION is great, but the beat is what makes it fantastic.
Going with the instrumental is a great way to get a stripped-down version.
Instead of getting distracted by the lyrics, one can just listen to the actual music. Duda needs to keep his focus, especially if he lands in the starting lineup. This is a great tune for him to do that.
Pick: "Hold On We’re Going Home" by Drake
There currently isn’t a starting spot for Wilmer Flores, but he’ll be getting some reps at shortstop this spring. The top prospect expressed his confidence about it to ESPN New York:
Sure. I played there for four years. It's not going to be a new position. I'm sure I can play.
Being developed in New York’s minor league system for six years, this homegrown talent is hoping to stick in the major leagues. He would round out a roster that already has a number of players from the Mets’ farm system.
Pick: "Burn" by Ellie Goulding
Despite the acquisitions of Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, it seemed like Juan Lagares would still be patrolling center field come Opening Day next month. However, it will be an open competition between him and Eric Young Jr. for the last spot in the outfield.
This is a good song for Lagares because if he’s not providing his amazing defense in center, it could potentially burn the Mets later this season.
Eric Young Jr.
Last year: “Forever Young” by Jay-Z
Pick: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
Eric Young Jr. was mostly used as a fourth outfielder with the Colorado Rockies. He broke into the league as a 24-year-old in 2009, hitting .246/.295/.316 in 30 games played.
After posting multiple career highs in 2012, he was hoping for an expanded role entering his age-28 season last year, but he fell out of favor and was designated for assignment by June.
Having an absence of speed at the top of the lineup and opportunity for playing time in the outfield, the Mets traded Collin McHugh for Young, immediately inserting him into the lineup. He went on to win the National League stolen bases crown with 46 steals and was a Gold Glove finalist.
Signing Granderson and Chris Young appeared to have EY Jr. heading back to his old role as a fourth outfielder. However, Terry Collins said his preference is to have him leading off, according to ESPN New York.
Furthermore, the Mets posted a short video on Instagram with Young saying his favorite position to play is leadoff.
Pharrell Williams catches EY Jr.’s feelings perfectly. He must be happy to be playing his favorite position with a chance to play every day.
Last year: “I’m Shipping up to Boston” by The Dropkick Murphys
Pick: “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
Over the past two seasons, no Mets player has been more durable than Daniel Murphy.
The second baseman has played 317 out of a possible 324 games. Terry Collins has used a lot of lineups, but the one constant has been Murphy.
His .319 on-base percentage was its lowest since 2009 (.313), but he posted career highs in games played (161), hits (188), runs (92), home runs (13) and RBI (78).
Murphy is viewed as an awesome fit for the second spot in the lineup. He hits between 30 and 40 doubles a season and can use his legs to get into scoring position for the run producers. He isn’t the fastest runner, but stole 23 bases in 26 attempts last season.
The Dropkick Murphys song has been a staple for him since he debuted in 2008, but “Radioactive” should be one he considers. It’s a song that rocks and can get the party started before the big boppers come to the plate.
Last year: "I Got 5 On It" by Luniz
Pick: "Wake Me Up" by Avicii
It seems that David Wright takes his walk-up songs very seriously. In attending games over the years, I’ve heard times where he has a different song played for each of his at-bats.
Topping his main song from last year will be hard to do. How many players are able to find a song with their number in it?
There’s no question that Wright is loyal to the Mets.
Instead of signing an eight-year, $138 million extension last winter, he could have tested the free-agent market. He probably would have gotten more lucrative offers from numerous teams.
Watching Wright leave the organization would’ve been hard, but understood. The last few years have been painful, especially since the third baseman is in the prime of his career. However, he wanted to be a part of the solution and bring playoff baseball back to Flushing.
The first lines of Avicii’s hit say it all:
Guiding my way through the darkness, guided by a beating heart.
It must be David’s heart that helped him get through the past five losing seasons, yet still wanting to be a part of the Mets.
Last year: "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See (instrumental)" by Busta Rhymes
Pick: "The Man" by Aloe Blacc
Entering the offseason, the Mets wanted to acquire a power-hitting outfielder via free agency or the trade market. Once the dust settled, they brought Curtis Granderson aboard after agreeing to a four-year, $60 million contract.
Collins told ESPN New York what his top priority was this past winter:
No. 1, we've got to find a bat in the middle of the lineup that produces runs. We certainly hoped Ike [Davis] could do it. He had a rough year. He's certainly not done by any means. He's still a young guy. But for us to compete, we've got to make sure we have a guy who we know is going to produce. We've got to protect David. I know that's probably our No. 1 priority right now.
While Granderson wasn’t “the man” when he hit 84 home runs between the 2011 and 2012 seasons with the New York Yankees, that’s exactly what he is with the Mets.
Just in case anyone forgot, having Aloe Blacc’s hit song blast each time he walks to the plate at Citi Field is a great reminder.
Last year: "Start Me Up" by The Rolling Stones
Pick: "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry
Certainly an interesting pick and probably not close to Ike Davis’ taste in music, this song perfectly describes him heading into this season.
Terry Collins penciled him in as the cleanup hitter the past two years, but inconsistent performances haven’t kept him there.
Now that Granderson and Chris Young have been added to the lineup, significant home run power is present, which hasn’t been around for quite some time. The Mets no longer need to depend on Davis as the main source of power production. Moving him out of the cleanup spot should take some pressure off of him.
If he’s able to post something close to the 32 home runs and 90 RBI he hit in 2012, the lineup would become much more lethal.
Davis has the potential, but expecting that from him after hitting .205/.326/.334 with nine home runs and 33 RBI in 103 games played wouldn't be realistic.
This is his opportunity for a “perfect storm,” as Katy Perry says it in her latest hit. It’s time for Davis to get his career back on track. He's truly capable of anything if he performs like he did prior to his ankle injury in 2011.
Last year: "Reppin’ Texas" by C. Stone
Pick: "Timber" by Pitbull ft. Kesha
Coming off a season in which he hit .200/.280/.379 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI in 107 games for the Oakland Athletics, Chris Young has plenty to prove this year.
He’s always been prone to striking out (average of 148 strikeouts per season), but he also boasts four seasons of hitting 20 or more home runs.
New York is giving him a chance to regain his All-Star form from 2010, when he hit .257/.341/.452 with 27 home runs and 91 RBI in 156 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Young knows this is his chance to silence critics and change the trajectory of his career. Entering his age-30 season, the outfielder was quoted by the Mets official Twitter account with some strong words:
I don't think I've ever been more motivated in my career.
Now is the time to show it. Like Pitbull and Kesha say in the above song, it’s about to go down.
Last year: “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
Pick: “The Monster” by Eminem ft. Rhianna
Travis d’Arnaud got a brief taste of the major leagues last season, appearing in 31 games.
He struggled to a .202/.286/.263 line with one home run and 5 RBI. He admitted to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News that he was trying a little too hard to impress:
Anxious would probably be the right word for it. I was just trying to impress everyone. Every time I went up there, I was trying to hit a home run. I was trying to throw my hardest and hit my hardest to prove myself every time I got a chance.
D’Arnaud has been regarded as a top prospect since he was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round of the 2007 MLB draft. MLB.com pinned him as the best catching prospect in baseball heading into this season.
Now a 25-year-old, he’s ready to shed the “prospect” label and become a solid major leaguer. He’s projected to be a monster, and this song by Eminem and Rhianna is a great way to get him focused for his first full season in the big leagues.
Last year: "Na De Na" by Angel Y Khriz
Pick: "Love Me Again" by John Newman
It’s all but a guarantee that Ruben Tejada won’t be using this John Newman song when he walks to the plate, but it can definitely describe some of his current feelings.
Replacing Jose Reyes is an impossible task, but that’s what Tejada had to do in 2012. As a 22-year-old, he performed very well, hitting .289/.333/.351 in 114 games played for New York.
Putting together a season like that at such a young age made people think Tejada’s development could only go up.
That wasn’t the case.
He took a huge step back in 2013, hitting .202/.259/.260 in 57 games in the big leagues. He also spent 60 games in Triple-A with the Las Vegas 51s.
Stephen Drew is still available, but Tejada is currently the leading candidate to be the team’s starting shortstop on March 31. Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger reports that Terry Collins won’t just hand Tejada the job—he needs to earn it back.
He’s been working hard to get his job back. He spent two months at a fitness and nutrition camp in Michigan, and reported early to spring training this year.
His to-do list not only includes becoming the starting shortstop again, but to win back the fans and the organization so they can start loving him again.
Matt's Mets opinions have been featured on MLB Trade Rumors, Yahoo! Sports, MetsBlog, Amazin' Avenue and Mets Merized Online. To keep up with Matt, you can follow him on Twitter.