Orange and Blue: A Look at the 2009 New York Mets Lineup

Jason Lempert@MetsPride84Correspondent IMay 10, 2009

FLUSHING, NY - APRIL 13: A Mets logo inside the ground is seen on opening day at Citi Field on April 13, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. This is the first regular season MLB game being played at the new venue which replaced Shea Stadium as the Mets home field.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

A lot has been made of the Mets struggles on the mound early in 2009. It's true, they have had some inconsistencies from any pitcher not named Johan.

But they have the best bullpen ERA in the National League, and the second best batting average in the NL coming into action on Sunday. So while they might be having troubles in the rotation, the lineup is certainly picking up the slack.

What I find intriguing about the Mets' lineup is that even if a superstar like Jose Reyes is slumping, another member of the roster will step up and perform.

So let's take a in-depth look at the Mets' lineup—one of the best in the league, in my opinion.

Jose Reyes is struggling to begin the 2009 season. He enters Sunday with a .268 batting average, and only two home runs.  He does have nine steals so far on the year, which is of course his game.  But so far, he has lacked the spark, the energy he usually supplies to the top of the order.

In his career, there has been a trend: As Reyes goes, the Mets go.  For Reyes' career, in team wins, he's hitting .324 with 47 home runs, and a .375 on-base percentage. But in games the Mets lose, the numbers look more like a .240 batting average, 16 homers and a .290 OBP.

He will play half of his games at Citi Field, which is ideal for slap hitters and extra-base hits. So expect Reyes to come around, and nab himself a healthy amount of triples in '09.

Second baseman Luis Castillo began the year hitting in the No. 8 hole, but has since moved to hit second behind Reyes.  Castillo got off to a real hot start, and has continued to put 2008's woes behind him. 

Hitting at a .325 clip, Castillo has re-invented his swing and is swinging at just about anything.  And the amount of effort he puts in at the plate and on the field is absolutely incredible, despite the fact he's playing on knees that are ready to crack at anytime.

Switch-hitting Carlos Beltran has been one of the hottest hitters in all of baseball to begin the season.  He carried a 16-game hitting streak until Tuesday against Philadelphia

He leads the National League in hitting with a .378 batting average.  He's second in the league in hits with 42.  And this is a guy who has typically waited until the summer months to tear things up. This could be a huge season for Beltran.

Slugging first baseman Carlos Delgado got out of the gate hot to begin the 2009 season.  He has since cooled off a bit, but is still managing to put up solid numbers. He's hitting an an even .300, and recently passed Mickey Mantle on the all-time RBI list, with 1,512.

All-Star third baseman David Wright has started to break out of his early-season slump.  He is hitting above .300 and has an on-base percentage of .395.  But he has only hit three homers, and has 33 strikeouts, good for seventh in the league. 

He is starting to show some life, however. Over his last seven games, Wright has nine hits and two of his three home runs.  And his slugging percentage over those seven games?  How about .826?

Left fielder Daniel Murphy has quietly become a very good hitter in this deep lineup. He has had some trials and tribulations out in a challenging left field, but he has not let his defense affect his hitting.  He's batting a crisp .308 with three homers and looks ready to be the hitter the Mets expect him to be.

Ryan Church has had a rather strange season. He had a good April, hitting at .313 with eight RBI.  But his average now sits at .264, thanks to a May batting average of an even .100 so far. 

The Mets are very deep in corner outfielders, with guys like Gary Sheffield, Fernando Tatis, and Jeremy Reed all looking for playing time. If Church continues to struggle, the depth chart in right field may take a new form.

A seemingly unfillable hole was formed when catcher Brian Schneider went on the disabled list on April 17. Ramon Castro was slated to be the starter behind the plate, but Castro is much more productive when he is making a spot start or is able to come off the bench. 

The Mets called up Omir Santos to be Castro's backup, but Santos has really been impressive in his three-week season.  The 28-year old doesn't have eye-popping stats, but he has come through with some clutch hits, and has shown good presence behind the dish.

The Mets do boast a pretty decent bench as well. As a whole, the substitutes for the Mets this year are hitting .293 and a .391 on-base percentage. Guys like Sheffield, Tatis, Reed, Alex Cora, and Castro make up this rather deep bench.

And with Oliver Perez now out of the rotation, the New York Mets appear set to roll through the league with a deep lineup and a much improved bullpen.


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