Tomorrow pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie, Florida, to officially kick off the Mets’ 2014 spring training. Which got me to thinking; what will the Mets’ lineup look like on Opening Day vs the Nationals? Here is what I predict Terry Collins will put on his lineup card March 31st at Citi Field:
1) Stephen Drew, SS. 2013 stats (Boston Red Sox): .253 BA, .333 OBP 13 HR 67 RBI. Although not a member of the Mets, I think it is a matter of time before GM Sandy Alderson and Drew work out a deal to have the 30 year old shortstop in Queens. He would be a welcomed addition to a team in need of a legitimate everyday SS. He is not your prototypical lead-off man, but with last years .333 OBP he would be the Mets best option for the role on Opening day.
2) Daniel Murphy, 2B. 2013 stats: .286/.333 13 HR 78 RBI. Murph is a fan favorite in Flushing and a very solid number two hitter. He des not possess the speed you look for in a top of the lineup but has become a much better base-runner in recent years than he was earlier in his career. Last year he set a career high in home runs, 13, and stolen bases with 23.
3) David Wright, 3B. 2013 stats: .307/.390, .904 OPS, 18 HR, 58 RBI. The Mets captain was only able to play 112 games last year but still had decent production numbers. A staple in the middle of the Mets lineup for the better part of a decade, Wright will have to remain healthy all season if the Mets want to compete for playoff contention.
4) Curtis Granderson, RF. 2013 stats (New York Yankees): .229/.317/.723 7 HR, 15 RBI. The Mets new cleanup man will have to shake off the wrist injuries that lead to him playing only 61 games last year to return to his form in previous seasons. Grandy has hit 20 or more homers six time in his 10 years in the Majors, arguably the best power bat the Mets have had in the lineup since Carlos Beltran was traded in 2011.
5) Chris Young, LF. 2013 stats (Oakland Athletics): .200/.280/.659, 12 HR, 40 RBI. The Mets are looking for Young to bounce back from two down seasons to become the player he was in 2010 and 2011, years in which he hit 20+ homers in Oakland. Alderson took a risk giving him $7.5 million this off season, the Mets will need that gamble to pay off.
6) Ike Davis, 1B. 2013 stats: .205/.326/.661, 9 HR, 33 RBI. Ike will win the starting first base job over Lucas Duda in spring training because as bad as Davis has been in recent years he is still better than Lucas Duda. If the 27 year old Davis can become the player Mets fans thought he was going to be after his rookie season this lineup gets a whole lot scarier, if he continues to struggle the team will as well.
7) Travis d’Arnaud, C. 2013 stats: .202/.286, 1 HR, 5 RBI. Lauded as a offensive catching prospect it is safe to say that d’Arnaud disappointed at the plate in his first 31 games as a pro. The Mets will need the 25 year old to take a major step at the plate this year.
8) Juan Lagares, CF. 2013 stats: .242/.281/.633, 4 HR, 34 RBI. In his 121 games as a rookie in 2013 Lagares showed himself to be a premier defensive center fielder. he will have to do the same going forward to find himself in the line-up consistently this year with the additions of Chris Young and Granderson. I think he gets the nod on Opening Day if he continues to be competent with the bat during spring training. Otherwise Eric Young Jr. will be inserted in his place (and the lead-off spot, ruining my projection).
9) Jon Niese, P. With Matt Harvery sidelined for the entire season I think Terry Collins will opt to give the home grown Niese the ball for the opener over the newly acquired Bartolo Colon and second year player Zack Wheeler.