Let's get excited for a new year and some new hope! So let's trim our Keith mustache, get out Gary's wig, and say "Aloha" for Ron as we get set for another great year of Mets baseball!
This is my swing at the lineup for our 2010 Metsies. I think that this lineup offers the Mets the best chance to provide some phenomenal offensive statistics in 2010. If only Jerry would see it my way...
So Jerry Manuel says he may hit Jose third in the order? This is one fan who says, "No way, Jose." Reyes is the best lead-off hitter in the NL, and before he got hurt, his OBP numbers had been improving year by year.
There is no way that you can move one of your best hitters with 100-stolen-bases potential into the three hole. It's a ridiculous move that smacks of desperation—and the year hasn't even started! No, the better route is to let Jose slide back into his role as team catalyst and let the man bat as often as possible—by hitting him leadoff.
While Castillo was a black hole in 2009, finishing the season as literally the worst defensive second baseman in the game, he proved he could still hit singles whenever he needed to. Offensively, Castillo is the prototypical No. 2 hitter. The only problem is, he can't be asked to ever hit for extra bases. I am pretty sure I noticed opposing teams moving the OF in for him last year.
Beltran is possibly the most underrated superstar in the game today. What makes this so stunning is that he plays in the biggest media market in America—and people still underestimate his value to the Mets.
I must say that I struggled here, trying to decide whether to hit David Wright at three or Beltran, but I went with Beltran because he has more experience hitting out of the three hole than Wright does.
Both players offer 30-HR power, 30-stolen-base speed, and the ability to hit .300. I don't think you can go wrong with either of them in the three spot.
I know, I know...David Wright is not a cleanup hitter. Well, I think this Mets team can buck the trend of putting their most prodigious power in the cleanup spot.
I do add this caveat, however: If Wright's 30-HR power does not materialize again, I would drop him into the five spot. That being said, I think it's important to get your best hitters as many at-bats as possible, and I think Wright is a better all around hitter than Jason Bay. I wouldn't get angry, though, if Bay ends up hitting cleanup and Wright hits in the five hole.
I hope the big guy is ready for the limelight. Much is expected of the power-hitting left fielder, and his most important job will be to make sure Beltran and Wright see some good pitches. Bay has 40-plus-HR power, and he is going to love the short porch in LF at Citi.
It will be interesting to see if Jerry decides that Bay is better suited for cleanup duty in this Mets lineup.
Against right-handed pitching, I would let Murphy hit in the six spot between Bay and Francouer. He has the potential to be a very good hitter, and with those two bats bracketing him, he could see some good pitches.
I also like him breaking up the right-handed-heavy back half of the lineup. I think Murphy will surprise some people this year, and I expect a line that looks something like this: .300 AVG, 15 HR, 80 RBI. I think we will see Murphy develop into a slick fielding defender, as his UZR rank pointed to in 2009.
One of the reasons—other than my insane fandom—that I am optimistic about the Mets in 2009 is the fact that Frenchy could feasibly be hitting in the seven or eight spot in our lineup. While Francouer may have patience problems at the dish, he can be a fearsome hitter—and a guy who can swing the bat as well as he can at the bottom of your lineup means that your offense should be pretty good. Plus, the man has a cannon on his arm.
The recent acquisition of Rod Barajas makes me feel a little better about our club. Adding him to the team means that Josh Thole can become more seasoned behind the plate with a full season of AAA in 2010— and it means that the questionable defense of Omir Santos is replaced by the ++ defense of Barajas.
There are other positives to Barajas too. In 2009, he hit 19 HR and drove in 71 RBI—there is no way that Santos could dream of providing that kind of production for us.
That also means that we have dangerous offensive producers hitting first through eighth in the lineup now—and we should be able to go blow for blow with any offense in the National League.
Now all we need is for our pitchers to produce!