Mets will have a crowded leadoff spot for the future

The New York Mets are currently worried about somehow scratching their way into the 2019 NL Wildcard game. Should they make it, this would be considered one of their most miraculous runs to reach the playoffs. Should they not, it still will not be seen as a completely lost season for the team. It is the first time since 2016 where September baseball and the Mets can actually be used together when a discussion of relevancy comes to mind. That, and it was a complete season for Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and J.D. Davis, a trio that the Mets should look to build around.

While they are all offensive dynamos, both Alonso and Davis are more of the middle of the lineup type sluggers. So, out of the trio, it seems like easy math that McNeil should be the leadoff hitter for years to come. Not so fast. Lost for most of the season, but back on the scene with the same gigantic grin and speedy home run dash, Brandon Nimmo has rapidly put his name back into the conversation to be remembered for the leadoff position in the batting order. He has been electric since returning to the lineup, stroking a .297 batting average to go with an OPS of 1.183. This kind of electricity has Nimmo back in the leadoff spot, just like last season.

The third horse in this race for the leadoff spot is Amed Rosario, who was long thought to be the leadoff hitter of the future as he was coming up through the Mets minor league system. In 172 plate appearances in the leadoff position this season, Rosario has displayed a .297 average and a .784 OPS. The only position in the lineup where both of those numbers is the eighth spot. Each individual hitter brings something different to the table when they come in to leadoff a game.

For Jeff McNeil, you can expect him to take hacks. You can especially expect him to take hacks on the first pitch, which has become a staple of his. Although his average has not hovered in the .330’s like it was early in the season, McNeil has now established a new level to his game at the plate: Power. The reason that McNeil started to gain attention in the minor leagues was because of his power stroke. That stroke somewhat evaporated when he reached the majors, until recently. A cool stat to exemplify his recent power? According to a tweet from @tpgMets, Alonso has 21 home runs and 51 RBIs in his last 300 plate appearances. In his last 300 plate appearances, McNeil has 19 home runs and the same number of RBIs.

While not as much of a power threat, Nimmo brings a more traditional feel to the leadoff position. He is a patient hitter, who takes a great number of walks. Perhaps this is why manager Mickey Callaway has opted to put Nimmo in front of McNeil so far. The strategy to put someone on base before a dynamic hitter like McNeil, and then eventually Alonso, makes sense.

As for Rosario, he is the least likely to get the leadoff spot, especially if he is battling McNeil and Nimmo. While he has been electric at the plate this season and shown that he has matured offensively, he still does not have the tools like McNeil and Nimmo. He doesn’t have a power bat, nor does he walk a ton. However, in a pinch, Rosario would not be a bad option to start the game off with.

In all, the Mets are blessed with a good problem. They have three players that they could put in the leadoff spot, and depending on who the Mets are facing, they might each see some time there next season.

8 comments for “Mets will have a crowded leadoff spot for the future

  1. NYM6986
    September 21, 2019 at 8:56 am

    It’s a great problem to have. Missing from this opinion piece is conforto who is having a good season and is another block to build around. It’s been a good season even with the likelihood that we will fall short of the playoffs.

  2. BVac
    September 21, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Mets lineups in the past have had good on base guys and other times good sluggers, but it is rare to see both. With this lineup still so young it is exciting to see what’s in store for next year! I also love the Nimmo McNeil Alonso start to the lineup with Conforto and Davis to follow.

  3. Hobie
    September 21, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Let’s say Cespdes & Dom Smith are healthy beginning 2020. How do you rotate them with Conforto, Davis & Nimmo in the OF? (I’m assuming McNeil will be the regular 3B).

    Could be another “nice problem.”

    • Chris F
      September 21, 2019 at 11:11 am

      Ces has an unmoveable contract. Smith is a crap outfielder. Any person that sits so he can be in LF would be gross malfeasance. Hes a bench guy for Alonso, and the best news would be if he were traded for a needed piece.

  4. Chris F
    September 21, 2019 at 11:16 am

    I dont understand this. Why on earth would this be a competition for 1 spot in the order. Someone needs to bat second, and Rosario can be all over. Its not like this is some sort of internal competition to bat first.

  5. John Fox
    September 21, 2019 at 11:16 am

    Nimmo should be the normal leadoff hitter unless he is in a deep slump. High OBP and decent basepath speed makes for a leadoff man.

  6. TexasGusCC
    September 22, 2019 at 1:03 am

    Rosario would be my #1, McNeil #2, Nimmo #3… fill it in afterwards with Cespedes, Davis, Conforto, Alonso, Cano, Lowrie, Ramos, whomever…

    Reason I want Rosario on top is he has the least power of the three and he is still developing. By having Nimmo in front of the big bats, it means that the highest possible percentage of these guys hitting with a runner on base is Nimmo. If about 20% of the solo shots could become two run shots, that is a nice bump in runs. Plus, Nimmo has the most power of the three to drive them in.

    Too, I fear Conforto will be dealt. He has the most value and the anti-Midas wants to win a championship like Dracula wants to win a blood vessel. Conforto will be traded for two bullpen pieces or something stupid like that. That will also clean up some of the log jam while “opening up right field for McNeil”. Then, he can have his clients Cespedes, Lowrie, and Cano be regulars.

  7. September 22, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    I have always been a right-left-right (or left-right-left) kinda guy. So my lineup would be Nimmo-Alonso-McNeil-JDD-Forto-Ramos-Cano-Rosie. That’s a nice long, balanced lineup.

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