With Yoenis Cespedes slated to be the New York Mets opening day center fielder, Wil Myers provides a warning for Mets fans.
I know what you are thinking: “What the heck does Wil Myers have to do with the New York Mets?”
More than you would think at first glance.
Wil Myers taught New York Mets’ fans a lesson before they even knew they needed to be taught. In 2015, following the acquisitions of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and the aforementioned Wil Myers, the San Diego Padres rolled out an opening day lineup with all three guys in the starting lineup. Given the limitations of both Kemp and Upton, Myers got the “privilege” of playing center field, given his age and overall athleticism by comparison to the other two.
Fast forward a few months and that experiment ended in horrible disaster. While his injury wasn’t necessarily a good thing for the Padres, it did keep the team from putting him out in center field every day.
In the past, Myers was a decently average right fielder. In center, he was really a defensive abomination, with only Hanley Ramirez looking more lost in an outfield position.
Just look at this:
To be fair to Myers, he did make that catch. However, at best he looked completely lost in center field in 2015. Even when making plays, his routes were atrocious and he just lacked the instincts that have become so common among everyday center fielders. So this brings us back to the New York Mets and 2016.
Going into 2016, the Mets will be playing a similar experiment with Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, and Curtis Granderson. Out of those three, it seems almost a done deal that Cespedes will be the Wil Myers in this scenario. Going out to play center field when he has no real business doing so.
Now to be fair to Myers, he had absolutely zero experience in center field going into last season. Cespedes at least has some experience in center field from the second half of 2015 before he is thrust into a full time role there in 2016.
I know what Mets fans are going to say. “Yoenis Cespedes is a better defender than Wil Myers.” That may be true, at least ever so slightly, but a lot of that hinges on his throwing arm, which is clearly better than Myers’. Even so, Cespedes looked just as lost in center field as Myers did last season. Here’s a few clips to show that point.
While the second one was a tough play to make, the first one was more clearly a case of Cespedes just being lazy with the glove. An occurrence that becomes all too common the more you watch Cespedes play the outfield. While the throwing arm still plays well in center field, this laziness, and the silly mistakes that are a product of it, are magnified greatly in center.
Cespedes is not a bad fielder. However, he has had some issues in the field with laziness in the outfield and making poor decisions in the field. As a center fielder, he must cut down on those poor decisions, or he will fail miserably.
The Mets have already learned this lesson, whether they know it or not. Last year the Padres tried a similar experiment with Wil Myers in center field. The experiment failed completely, and Myers is now slated to be the Padres opening day 1st baseman by the look of things. Now obviously Cespedes does not have a move to first in his immediate future, but it seems that he will face the same situation that faced Wil Myers. For a team with World Series aspirations, the way of Wil Myers in center field is really not the way to go.