After Sandy Alderson’s addition of a power bat, Terry Collins must look inward for another New York Mets leadoff man.
For the next 10 days or so, Terry Collins will be without his leadoff man, Jose Reyes. A week ago, the assumption would have been that Curtis Granderson would become the regular leadoff man. However, the recent acquisition of Jay Bruce is most likely going to result in a lot of pine riding for the 35-year-old outfielder.
Most nights, for the time being, the Mets manager will be without a natural leadoff hitter, leaving us to wonder who will fill the role?
One candidate to fill the hole is Michael Conforto. Despite a recent slump, Conforto has proven in his young professional career he can get on base at a high clip, a trait all leadoff hitters must possess.
In the minors, Conforto had a .386 OBP as opposed to a .318 OBP since making it to the show. He is not the fastest guy but compared to many of his teammates, he has good speed.
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Having great speed, however, has not mattered to Terry Collins while choosing a leadoff man, as seen with Curtis Granderson and Alejandro De Aza often filling the role. Hitting in that spot would allow for Conforto to get the most at bats on the team every night, and the more at-bats for a young hitter the better.
Conforto would also be hitting ahead of the Mets big sluggers, all but guaranteeing better pitches to hit. The only glaring downsides to the 23-year-old sliding into the leadoff spot is that the Mets want him hitting where he can drive in runs.
As seen from Curtis Granderson’s 29 RBI’s, those opportunities are hard to come by.
James Loney is far from an ideal option as a leadoff hitter. However, he possesses the on-base capabilities to do so. Loney has a .336 OBP this season, the second highest on the Mets behind only Yoenis Cespedes. Loney also has remarkably only struck out 26 times in 197 at-bats as a Met.
The stats back up the idea that Loney is more than capable of setting the table for the Mets’ big bats. Unlike Conforto, however, Loney is slow; very slow.
Terry Collins may be willing to put a player in that position who isn’t fast, but will he go as far to start games with someone who is undeniably slow?
The only remaining regular who makes any sense as the Mets leadoff hitter is the new starting shortstop, Matt Reynolds.
Reynolds is a young player who has not already been molded into a certain role in the Mets lineup. The youngster has a solid bat, and solid speed, which could allow him to be successful at the top of the order.
The issue with thrusting a young hitter up in the lineup, as seen with Conforto, is that the big league pitchers figure them out making it hard for a young hitter to respond. Then again, Terry only will need Reynolds to step up for the next week or so, so he may be able to get by without being exposed.