Let’s have a little fun and see if we can predict the opening day batting order for the Mets. The scheduled opener is in Washington on March 28. We’ll make a few assumptions, including that neither of injured infielders Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie will be ready for opening day. The other assumption, which is a lock barring unforeseen circumstance, is that Max Scherzer will be the starter for the Nats in that game.
1…Brandon Nimmo, CF. Nimmo has been laid low most of ST so far, but when he’s right he showed in 2018 he is an on base machine who can drive the ball as well. He was in the leadoff spot frequently last year and thrived, so we’ll put him in that spot for the opener.
2…Amed Rosario, SS. Rosario came into his own at bat in the latter part of 2018, and he’s been sizzling so far this Spring putting up a slash line of .462/.533/.846, admittedly in a small sample of 13 AB. He was mostly placed toward the bottom of the order last year, but he’s been hitting for average and power and he brings excellent speed to the top part of the batting order. Rosario was struck in the hand by a pitch in Monday’s game, fortunately x-rays were negative.
3…Robinson Cano, 2b. He brings sterling credentials from the AL in his first year with the Mets. He has not yet shown power in ST but his career body of work shows he can still slug. Even before the injuries to the other infielders he was a sure-fire bet to be starting at second to open the season.
4…Michael Conforto, RF. The sweet-swinging left handed batter has had a good spring, and he finished up last year on a high note. He gets on base, and he has excellent power.
5…J.D. Davis, 3b. The ex-Astro has been hitting like the highly ranked prospect he once was supposed to be. Considering the top two on the depth chart at third (Lowrie and Frazier) are probably not going to be available for awhile, we’ll stick the versatile Davis at the hot corner.
6…Dominic Smith, 1b. First base may eventually be the home of power-hitting prospect Pete Alonso, but it seems likely he’ll start the year at Syracuse because of the time of service rules and the need to improve his defense. Smith has been otherworldly so far this spring, with a .500/.565/.700 line in 20 AB. Smith is a left handed hitter, and he’s the best defensive first baseman on the whole 40 man roster. If the rest of his ST is anything like his start he has earned a starting berth for the opener.
7…Jeff McNeil, LF. The versatile McNeil has had a slow start this spring, but he had a fine rookie season in 2018. He is more of a natural infielder, but the Mets have been playing him in the outfield since there is a logjam of infielders, at least when Lowrie and Frazier return. That being said, it would be no surprise if McNeill and Davis flipped positions with Davis in the outfield and McNeil at third on opening day.
8…Devin Mesoraco, C. Barring injury, Wilson Ramos will do the bulk of the catching this year for the Mets. However, Jacob deGrom has been named the opening day starter, and he has expressed several times that he likes pitching to Mesoraco. So it makes sense to start Mesoraco on opening day, but over the season Ramos should end up playing 130-140 games barring injury.
9…Jacob deGrom, P. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner will start the opener, to the surprise of no one.
The Mets have a lot of depth this year and we will likely see many different lineups over the course of the season, but this one outlined here would make sense for opening day against the tough Max Scherzer.