Mets manager Terry Collins has given us a glimpse into how he plans to use his players in 2011.
The Mets are looking forward to finally having a lineup that includes a healthy Jose Reyes, who says he expects to put up MVP-like numbers, Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran. All three are looking to come back from injuries that kept them out for parts of the 2010 season.
According to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, Reyes will bat leadoff with Angel Pagan behind him to maximize the Mets' speed advantage. David Wright, who drove in 103 runs last season, will bat third, followed by Beltran, who still does not know whether he will play center or right field, and Jason Bay, who says he is fully recovered from the concussion that ended his season. Sophomore Ike Davis will bat sixth.
The next two spots in the lineup will be occupied by catcher Josh Thole and whomever wins the competition for second base.
Thole, a left-handed hitter, will split time with Ronny Paulino, a righty. Last season, Thole hit just .143 against lefties, while Paulino hit .358.
Heading into spring training, the Mets' second base job is wide open. Most feel that Luis Castillo, the Mets' second baseman on paper, will be released, but GM Sandy Alderson recently said that Castillo is safe and will be given every opportunity to win the job. Castillo is owed $6 million in 2011.
Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus and Justin Turner will also contend for the second base job during spring training.
One of the most impressive aspects of the Mets' game has always been their speed. Having Reyes and Pagan at the top of the batting order should give the Mets plenty of stolen base and run scoring opportunities. Last season, Reyes and Pagan combined for 67 stolen bases and 163 runs, and that was with Reyes missing 29 games.
As a team, the Mets led the National League with 130 stolen bases last season.
David Wright, who bounced back nicely from a down 2009 season to hit 29 home runs with 103 RBI, should benefit greatly from having two speedy, high OBP guys in front of him. The same can be said for Beltran, Bay and Davis.
More guys on base means more chances to drive them in, which means more runs scored which means, well, you get where I'm going with this.
The Mets have an excellent combination of speed and power in their lineup and if they can stay healthy, this can be one of the best offenses in the National League.
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