Mets Opening Day batting order prediction

New-York-Mets-Logo-VectorOpening Day for the Mets is not until April 3rd when the Braves venture into Citi Field, but I’m going to be bold and make a long range prediction of what the Met batting order will look like that day. Barring injury, Atlanta will assuredly start their ace, right hander Julio Teheran, so there will be an inclination toward left handed batters where feasible.

Lead off.. Center fielder Curtis Granderson. He has batted lead off before, especially in 2015, he has a good eye at the plate, and he bats from the left side. If the Mets are ahead late in a close one, Juan Lagares will replace him in the field.

Second.. Second baseman Neil Walker. The switch-hitter had better stats from the right side last year, but he still put up a .266/.333/.433 slash line batting left.

Third… Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. Batting third seems like his natural place, and he hit 25 of his 31 homers against right handers in 2015.

Cleanup…Right fielder Jay Bruce. This choice may be controversial, considering his poor finish last year with the Mets. He did hit 33 homers for the year, and he is a left handed batter.

Fifth… Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. He, like Walker, is a switch-hitter who does better against lefties, but is productive from the left side of the plate as well. Also like Walker, he has good power for a middle infielder.

Sixth… First baseman Lucas Duda. The left handed batter is coming off a miserable, injury plagued 2016. If he’s back to his old form in spring training, he could be batting higher in the order.

Seventh… Third baseman David Wright. For opening day, Terry Collins will want Wright in the lineup, how productive he will be for the season with his injury history remains to be decided.

Eighth.. Catcher Rene Rivera. He won’t be the starter most pf the time, but he’s good at throwing out runners, and more importantly the guy who’s going to be on the mound to start the opener likes pitching to him.

Ninth… Pitcher Noah Syndergaard. Collins has already said Syndergaard will be on the mound for the opener, and he richly deserves the honor.

Note that of the first six batters five either bat left handed or are switch-hitters. The one right handed batter in the top or middle part of the order is Cespedes, who hits both right handers and lefties pretty well.

17 comments for “Mets Opening Day batting order prediction

  1. David Groveman
    February 8, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Not bad thoughts but my version is slightly different.

    1. Curtis Granderson, CF
    2. David Wright, 3B
    3. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
    4. Jay Bruce/Michael Conforto, RF
    5. Neil Walker, 2B
    6. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
    7. Lucas Duda, 1B
    8. Travis d’Arnaud, C

    This changes greatly if Wright is not healthy because Reyes is obviously the leadoff hitter we’d use.

    • John Fox
      February 8, 2017 at 10:22 am

      David I know Terry Collins likes to bat Wright second, but against a tough right hander like Teheran seventh spot in the order seemed like a more appropriate placing. And yes if Reyes is in the line up he is the choice for lead off.

  2. February 8, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Most likely lineup:

    1. Grandy
    2. Wright
    3. Cespedes
    4. Duda
    5. Walker
    6. Bruce
    7. A-Cab
    8. TdA

    FWIW, I called this lineup back in November.

  3. Jimmy P
    February 8, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I would like to think that Travis d’Arnaud will instill enough confidence this ST to be behind the plate when Syndergaard pitches.

    I hope that it won’t be a strict personal catcher thing with Rivera.

    But until I see some evidence in support of that, we know how TC has managed this in the recent past. Nor do I disagree with it, given Travis’s dismal offensive performance last season.

    I’m just hoping 2017 will be different.

    I don’t really believe in making out Opening Day lineups in early February.

  4. Zozo
    February 8, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Reyes CF
    Cabrera SS
    cespedes LF
    Walker 2nd
    Bruce RF
    Duda 1st
    Wright 3rd
    Weiters C

    • Jimmy P
      February 8, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      Let’s talk for a minute how absurd it would be to have Jose Reyes in CF when the Mets already have Juan Lagares on the roster.

      Let’s pretend that Jose could reach a competent level in CF. That’s a huge jump, btw, and unlikely. But let’s pretend.

      Last year Jose crushed LHP and fared poorly against RHP (OPS below .700).

      So if a RHP is on the mound, there’s no reason on earth to try to squeeze Jose into that spot. Just go with Granderson.

      If there’s a LHP on the mound, start former gold-glover Lagares in CF.

      It’s a fantasy to think that Jose can, at this point of his career, become a part-time outfielder (and a 3B and backup SS). His bat does not make up for the defensive shortcomings, especially against RHP.

      He’s not a CFer and he fills no need.

      • TexasGusCC
        February 8, 2017 at 10:58 pm

        Very well put.

  5. JC
    February 8, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Grandy- CF
    Cabrera- SS / Best in this spot last year
    Bruce- RF / Get him some fastballs in front of Ces
    Ces- LF
    Duda- 1B / Protect Ces
    Walker- 2B
    Wright- 3B
    Rivera- C
    Noah- P

  6. Metsense
    February 8, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    John, TC will probably bat Wright 2nd, Walker 5th and Cabrera 7th
    Myself, I would have Cabrera 2nd, Walker 5th, followed by Wright, Duda and Rivera.
    Lets Go Mets!

    • John Fox
      February 8, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Metsense, it was practically a coin toss for me concerning Cabrera and Walker and the two and five slots, their stats against right handers were very similar last year. Walker had a little higher OBP, that’s why I batted him second and Cabera 5th.

  7. DaMetsman in Washington State
    February 8, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    I’ll just say this… if the Mets go into the season with Bruce and Grandy on the roster and not Conforto and/or Nimmo, they are making a huge mistake and stifling the development of several young and promising players (including Lagares and TJ Rivera, who can play some OF). Sure, they might lose 10 HRs, but will gain defense, speed, base hits and give experience to the four platooning OFs. Likely that they will move Bruce before the end of spring training when a power hitting OF on another team goes down to injury.

    They also should create a strict platoon at 1B with Duda and Flores. As far as Reyes, Collins has to find a way to give him two games a week at 3B and one at SS and 2B. But where does that leave TJ Rivera? This guy rakes and gave no indication that big league arms are going to negatively impact his stroke. Let Rivera at least platoon in RF with Conforto.

    To restate the obvious, the Mets help themselves when they let young bats like Rivera, Flores, Conforto, Nimmo and Lagares platoon at the very least. How do they benefit with Bruce and Grandy (who is a exemplary guy and competent ballplayer, but he has no future with the Mets)?

    One more point… Wright is no longer a top-of-the-order hitter. He used to steal 15-25 bags and take the extra base. He also struck out less. The Captain should hit 6th, probably sandwiched between Duda/Flores and Walker.

    Best order:
    Nimmo/Lagares, CF (Reyes whenever he starts)
    Cabrera, SS
    Cespedes, LF
    Duda/Flores, 1B
    Wright, 3B
    Walker, 2B

    The platoon of Conforto/Rivera can easily be swapped with Walker.

    If Collins can utilize platoons like Casey Stengel, Gil Hodges and Davey Johnson were so adept at and move these players as indicated above, all 13 everyday guys can get plenty of PAs and stay sharp. No one will rot on the pine as has been the case in recent past. But that will mean moving the two excess OFs even if it is for a couple of B prospects.

  8. Chris F
    February 8, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Alderson made it clear that Conforto will not be on the shuttle this year, and unless they make a trade for Bruce in the OF, he will be in AAA this season.

    see the 4:20 mark onward

  9. Name
    February 9, 2017 at 1:52 am

    Granny leading off:

    2014: 235 PA, .289 OBP
    2015: 636 PA, .360 OBP (why did we think he could succeed here after his horrific 2014 experiment?)
    2016: 369 PA, .317 OBP

    Going back even further, he had ~10 games leading off in 2012 and 2013, and he was bad in those years. Didn’t lead off in 2010 or 2011, but he was a full time leadoff in 2009 and he had a subpar .319 OBP. You have to go all the way back to 2008 to find another good year in leadoff.

    It’s clear that we got super lucky in 2015 and pulled a leadoff hitter out of a hat, but this guy has shown that he isn’t suited to be a leadoff guy for the vast majority of his career.

    I’d rather see Wright at leadoff over Granny, but i know that won’t happen.

    • Jimmy P
      February 9, 2017 at 9:58 am

      The reality is the Mets don’t have very good tablesetters. I like Walker in the 2-spot, personally, but we’re just dealing with square pegs and round holes.

      My big hope with Wright is that for some reason pitchers continue to work him carefully — as if he were a dangerous hitter — and continue to walk him at an absurd pace.

      I thought one of the keys to the 2015 WS was that KC just went after him. No free passes. His one big hit was a result of the CF playing (appropriately) shallow.

      But given this odd assortment of offensive talent, I guess I’d go with Granderson Wright at 1-2.

      I think this Mets team has 3-4 hitters best suited for the #7 spot.

      And I’ve said it before, but I think TDA is supremely wrong in the #8 spot, given his approach. He’s not a thinking hitter, he’s reactive; he flows and likes to swing the bat. That spot works against his strengths. Now I realize that given his performance last season, the 8-spot is the place in the order he’s earned. But ideally, if he’s back to being the hitter that he’s shown (glimpses of) in the past, then I’d love to see that guy up with runners on and some protection.

      Not that it will happen.

      David Wright should probably bat 8th. A good spot for a looker. A good spot for a thoughtful type hitter, though I don’t think any of this really matters. It just strikes me as a very odd & ill-fitting assemblage of pieces. There are few clear or correct answers. So might as well just stick ’em anywhere.

      • TexasGusCC
        February 10, 2017 at 2:34 am

        Disagree Jim with your last sentence, but indeed it is the Mets approach. Preferably, your 8th hitter should take walks and have a little speed. Wright would be perfect, but he is “David Wright” and you don’t pay $20MM to your 8 hitter. Cabrera is the next best choice. Lagares if he played against righties would be ideal.

  10. Charles E
    February 13, 2017 at 9:39 am

    There is something to me that is obvious that I think everyone is forgetting. Asdrubal Cabrera thrived, and I mean, thrived, batting second. Why would you want to move him further down in the line-up in 2017? This makes no sense.

    Additionally, you can not bat David Wright in the front of the line-up anymore. He’s not the hitter, not the player, he used to be. It’s time to do what’s best for the team and bat him lower in the line-up. I think batting lower in the line-up would also take pressure off of Wright.

    Also, I see no reason to bat Neil Walker lower. He’s more of a contact hitter than most of the other batters. You put all the guys you know that can get on base ahead of the power hitters. I also think batting Walker behind Cabrera will take away any advantage of relief pitchers later in the game.

    Lastly, I have not looked at the metrics but I believe Lucas Duda will get on base (besides hitting home runs) more often than Jay Bruce. Hence, I have Duda batting ahead of Bruce with Wright being the righty that splits the two lefties.

    Hence, here’s my line-up opening day:

    1. Curtis Granderson, CF
    2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
    3. Neil Walker, 2B
    4. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
    5. Lucas Duda, 1B
    6. David Wright, 3B
    7. Jay Bruce, RF
    8. Travis d’Arnaud, C

    If all or most of these guys are clicking, this will be one of the most dangerous line-ups in the majors. This would be my opening day line-up, and this is without Reyes or it.

    If Wright can’t go, then most of the batting order changes:

    1. Jose Reyes, 3B
    2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
    3. Neil Walker, 2B
    4. Lucas Duda, 1B
    5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
    6. Jay Bruce, RF
    7. Travis d’Arnaud, C
    8. Curtis Granderson, CF

    This is ideal for left-right-left-right strategy. Granderson has proved he can thrive further down in the batting order. If Cespedes makes a fuss about batting 5th, then I would switch him in the batter order with Walker.

    • TexasGusCC
      February 13, 2017 at 10:57 am

      I like your thinking, but:
      – Cabrera probably benefited from being in front of Cespedes and batting in front of Walker isn’t the same. Don’t forget, Cabrera was doing poorly until Cespedes canes back in early August.
      – Batting Cespedes #5 under any circumstances is a mistake. Your best hitter hits #3. He’s the best hitter. Walker is not a #3 hitter. Sorry.

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