Hot-hitting Curtis Granderson gets the short stick in OF rotation

For most of the year, injuries have kept the Mets from having to make too many tough decisions on how to handle who starts in the outfield. And while currently there is an outfielder on the disabled list, Juan Lagares was clearly lower on the pecking order than the other four players. So, Terry Collins now has to decide whom to sit among his other four guys each and every day. Who should keep Brandon Nimmo company on the bench? Let’s look at how everyone is doing, listing them in alphabetical order:

Jay Bruce – 279 PA, .278/.341/.556
His overall numbers for the year are very strong and Bruce right now is in the middle of a hot streak. He’s batting .407 with a 1.233 OPS in his last 13 games, during which he has 6 HR. It’s hard to imagine putting him on the bench right now, even for just a day. He’s even doing better versus LHP, who were dominating him early in the season. Since May 10, Bruce is batting .273 versus southpaws.

Yoenis Cespedes – 100 PA, .322/.400/.667
There was very little chance that Cespedes wasn’t going to play once he returned from the DL. And if there was the slightest doubt, he quickly put those to bed, batting .458 in the eight games since his return. The plan was to ease him back in, including an off day Sunday in the series finale against Washington. But as hot as he’s been, and as badly as the Mets need a win today, it won’t surprise anyone if Cespedes is playing again today.

Michael Conforto – 244 PA, .284/.402/.567
The odd man out to start the year, Conforto absolutely raked once he was given a shot. Through games of May 24, he had a 1.149 OPS. But in his last 20 games, covering 86 PA, Conforto has a .174/.337/.290 line. Strikeouts have been a problem, as he has a 26.7 K% in this stretch. He also has had back problems in this time, as he missed two games and made brief appearances in two others. Conforto is just 1-9 during the Nationals series.

Curtis Granderson – 238 PA, .212/.303/.399
Stop me if you’ve heard this before but Granderson got off to a horrible start this year, with only the injury to Cespedes keeping him in the lineup. Through games of May 2, Granderson had a woeful .386 OPS. But in his last 141 PA, he has a .280/.390/.542 mark with a .318 BABIP. He’s showing great patience at the plate, with a 14.9 BB% and he’s hitting the ball for good power, with a .242 ISO in this stretch.

So far, Granderson has been the one to draw the short stick. He’s had just two starts in the last six games. For what it’s worth, he’s 3-6 with a HR and four runs scored in those two starts.

Most people would classify this as a good problem to have. And most people would do exactly what Collins has done, having Granderson on the bench when the others have been able to go. In a way, Collins is almost in a no-win situation here. If he rides the hot hand in Granderson, he’ll get crucified for sitting Conforto. Shoot, he caught a lot of grief pinch-hitting for him when the other team brought in a lefty. And the pinch-hitter was Cespedes.

Collins has his work cut out for him trying to find at-bats for one of his hottest hitters. It will be interesting to see if Granderson is in the lineup today. As noted earlier, the plan was to rest Cespedes Sunday but smart money would have him starting the game in left field. If Granderson doesn’t start today, Collins will have to figure out a plan to get him more action in the next series against the Dodgers.

It’s too bad the Mets don’t have a string of games coming up in AL parks where they could use the DH. Although if that was the case, it would be hard to argue using anyone in that spot besides Wilmer Flores. Hey, there’s an idea – maybe we can have Granderson take ground balls at third base. Flores is probably the only guy on the team that we can say without a doubt that Granderson has the better arm.

11 comments for “Hot-hitting Curtis Granderson gets the short stick in OF rotation

  1. Jimmy P
    June 18, 2017 at 9:52 am

    I think Flores has a better arm that Granderson. That throw from 3B is a very tough one and a merely average arm does not get it done.

    I could be wrong, but it’s not clear to me that Granderson has an infielder’s arm.

    • June 18, 2017 at 10:03 am

      I’d be more worried about Granny getting hit in the face with a ball.

      • JImmy P
        June 18, 2017 at 11:14 am

        Well, obviously, I didn’t take the idea of Granderson at 3B seriously.

        I just questioned your assumption that Curtis obviously had a stronger arm than Wilmer. I believe your are wrong about that.

        • June 18, 2017 at 11:38 am

          I’m glad you didn’t take it seriously as it was certainly meant in a joking manner.

          Granny doesn’t have the arm strength to make the throw from RF to 3B. But the throw from 3B to 1B is less than half that distance. If Granny could field the position, which I maintain would be the biggest problem, his throws would be significantly better than what we’ve seen from Flores. In doing what he has to do to put enough mustard on his throws, Flores loses all accuracy.

          There’s a reason the Mets absolutely refused to even consider playing Flores in the OF. And given that they played Duda out there for 234 games – we know it’s not foot speed.

      • Chris F
        June 18, 2017 at 12:17 pm

        Ha!!! LOL Brian.

  2. TexasGusCC
    June 18, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Brian, great points. We need to extend the rotation to Duda, since Bruce can stand-in at first base. I was just thinking yesterday that Granny hasn’t played much and he was actually producing. Made me wonder if trading Bruce now would be the best move. His value probably won’t get any higher and we know he’s a first half player.

    Duda’s last 33 plate appearances: .071 batting average. If he rests Duda a bit more, the. It gives the bench a power hitter for this late game blowouts to hit a homerun.

  3. Eraff
    June 18, 2017 at 10:51 am

    The problem is Wilmer’s Plodding feet…not his arm. He cannot get his feet in position to make throws…same result.

    Curtis has a shot arm…not an Infielder’s Arm

    • JImmy P
      June 18, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Players like, say, Mike Bordick, can overcome a below-average arm with great footwork, quick release, and accuracy.

      Poor Wilmer doesn’t have any of those qualities.

      In baseball, there are a couple of spots you might try to hide a weak arm. But no one would imagine that 3B was one of those positions.

      • Chris F
        June 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm

        Exactly. As much as I direct venom his way, its really more an expression of my disdain for Alderson and Collins for placing the team in a position where he is the “best” option out there. I feel bad that he is asked to perform a function he cannot do.

        Unfortunately I think he also lacks baseball instincts outside of swinging a bat. I noticed his positioning around the 1B bag the other day when he started there. He does not come to the ball on the stretch. He cannot stretch much. His feet are out of position to optimize plays coming to him. I just dont think he is much of a player in the field.

  4. Chris F
    June 18, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Feet, arm, instinct…its all of the above. Even on big bounce grounders against slow runnerswhere he can shuffle to get the footwork as he wants it, he still does not have the arm, mind you at MLB level, to make the throw.

  5. Metsense
    June 18, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Curtis Granderson is a gamer and good team mate. In 2016, among qualifying NL right fielders, he was 2nd in wRC+ (114) and 3rd in fWAR (2.6). He had a miserable start in 2017 but has come on and is moving forward toward his 2016 results. Unfortunately for Granderson he should not get the playing time at the expense of the slumping Conforto. Conforto is the future, “we got to get him going”, and at the end of the year the Mets need to see his full body of work to evaluate him to see if he is a cornerstone of the franchise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: