There’s a reason many loved the New York Mets in 2017, and with Yoenis Cespedes back and Michael Conforto third, we’ll finally see it.
You laugh. You point. You chuckle and you torment. You do it all while wondering how in the world your target of negative affection could possibly choose the New York Mets as the 2017 NL Pennant winners.
You may be a fan of the New York Yankees, the 27-time World Champions whose only surprise greater than 29-19 start is Aaron Judge‘s incredible home run barrage. You might be a fan of the defending World Champion Chicago Cubs. Perhaps you’re a long-suffering Chicago White Sox fan (here’s looking at you, Barack Obama).
Whoever you are, you laugh at those who picked the Mets.
Twenty-two and twenty-seven. This is the horrible record of the 2015 NL Pennant winners almost a third into the new campaign. Suffice to say, it’s hardly championship-worthy.
But this is the point of this space of the internet. It’s a space that’ll quickly drop that arm and pointing index finger in a Nelson from the Simpson’s sort of way extremely quickly in a style of embarrassment.
Allow yourself to be fully warned.
Nobody, whether it comes in the form of a fan or media member, should put that final nail in the coffin of a baseball team after a third of a season. It’s simply a nonsensical exercise.
Yoenis Cespedes is due back within the next 7-10 days. This is a guy who not only represents the club’s best hitter, but the face of a franchise that transformed itself at the 2015 MLB trade deadline. When Yo is officially back, suddenly, thanks to the emergence of stud bat swinger Michael Conforto, Collins’s lineup will provide everybody a firm reason for why this team was a hot choice during the spring.
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) May 27, 2017
How can anybody look at that lineup and claim it’s not October-worthy?
Granted, it’s not a perfect lineup. For its positives, it brings many negatives.
Sandy Alderson’s belief in “a base on balls and a blast” has led to such a power-ladened crop. This means the lineup is incredibly streaky and lacks complete balance. Rarely do they play small ball. Rarely can they hit in all situations. And additionally, it leads to a less than stellar defense.
This type of lineup is feast or famine come October during the short series. The reason the 2015 club was so successful came in the form of No. 28.
Daniel Murphy hit .351 with seven home runs and 17 runs batted in during the postseason of 2015. Most will argue the only reason this Mets streaky lineup got through to the World Series was due to the heroics of Murph.
Over the course of 162 games, forget about it. This powerful lineup will feast on lesser pitching. Just look at it. From Cespedes to Conforto, Jay Bruce to Neil Walker, home run studs own the majority of the group.
Realistically, there are at least four 20-plus home run guys with half of that group representing 30-plus power.
A season ago, New York finished fifth in the majors with 218 HR. In 2015, they finished ninth with 177. So far in 2017, the Mets rank 11 with 67. They also come in at No. 9 in the land with 246 total runs.
Those last two marks will only shoot through the roof with Cespedes back and Conforto hitting third.
The sneaky part about hitting Conforto third is that it breaks up the speed. One of the worst parts about this lineup is that speed doesn’t rule. Prior to Reyes, the team had virtually zero legs. If Reyes leads off and Conforto hits third, two guys who can run are in the one and three spots, rather than back-to-back at one and two. Even sneakier would be to hit Cespedes third and Conforto fourth or fifth, but Collins wouldn’t want to pin two lefties back-to-back.
No matter how you slice it, it’s easy to see the talent in this lineup once healthy.
[graphiq id=”addUVNX1AUZ” title=”2017 New York Mets Stat Leaderboard” width=”600″ height=”493″ url=”https://sw.graphiq.com/w/addUVNX1AUZ” frozen=”true”]
Cespedes has only played in 18 games this season and Conforto, who’s been everybody’s favorite Met thus far, has taken off from the leadoff spot. Many would argue to leave Mikey C. in that spot, but, according to Bill James, while the leadoff hitter on average compiles 35 more plate appearances over the course of a season, the No. 3 hitter will collect 92 more chances with men on base.
With Jose Reyes starting to hit, having Conforto there to knock in runs seems like the right method.
We can discuss lineup construction all day long. What New York will really need in order to right the ship is Steven Matz and/or Seth Lugo to bolster the rotation and Alderson to call in the bullpen reinforcements. That’ll be the true ticket, fixing a staff whose total ERA is 4.93, dead last in the majors. But glancing at the lineup once healthy absolutely assures those who though the Mets were playoff-bound in 2017.
In about 10 days, this lineup will be as dangerous as any in the league. It’s step one in fixing the current mess in Flushing.