You know what this Mets team could really use? A leadoff hitter. Our three in-house options – Jose Reyes, Curtis Granderson, and Juan Lagares – have been woefully ineffective thus far this season. At the time of this writing, all three are batting well under .200 with Granderson leading this hopeless trifecta with an OBP of .205.
Ideally, your leadoff hitter has an OBP over .350 and can steal bases. Currently, only a handful of such players exist and, unfortunately, none of them wears a blue and orange uniform. While there is no modern day Rickey Henderson or Tim Raines, there are players like A.J. Pollock, Charlie Blackmon, Adam Eaton, Dexter Fowler, Dee Gordon, and Jean Segura. Curiously, the last four names on that last all changed uniforms in recent seasons without so much as a sniff from the Mets front office.
Two years ago, Granderson proved himself a worthy leadoff hitter and last year, he was at least serviceable, before giving way to Reyes at midseason, who helped spark the team. Through the first 20 games, these two and Lagares have been nothing short of awful. To Terry Collins‘ credit, he’s at least temporarily moved on from this hapless trio, opting to give Michael Conforto a shot at the top of the order. That may work in the short-term, but the hope is that Conforto can slide down in the order to help clear the bases and leave the table setting to someone else.
A look at the backs of their baseball cards tells you that at least one of these three struggling veterans should find their swing before long. Granderson and Reyes own career OBPs of .339 and.337, respectively. Granderson is a notoriously slow starter and Reyes may be distracted dealing with personal issues. Regardless of excuses, neither deserves to bat leadoff again until they start hitting and getting on base consistently. Until then, neither should even be playing regularly. Once Wilmer Flores and Lucas Duda come off the disabled list, the Mets will have enough depth to afford to only play Granderson, Reyes, and Lagares sporadically until they get on track. In the meantime, Conforto should continue leading off.
Obviously, this is only a short term solution. By mid-season, if these guys haven’t turned it around, we may be looking at a new player atop the order – be it Amed Rosario or perhaps one of the above mentioned players via trade.