The New York Mets have had recent success without Yoenis Cespedes, as the starters have went deep into games. But Yo’ needs to be there.
During the New York Mets last three wins over the Atlanta Braves, the starters have went deep, and the lineup has been opportunistic — the winning formula that team management envisioned for this 25-man roster at the dawn of the 2017 season.
What’s even more surprising is the fact that the latter two wins of those three came without star left fielder Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup, as manager Terry Collins has reiterated over again that he just isn’t healthy enough yet to start every day.
So while many will point to Cespedes’ grand slam that he hit in his last at-bat in the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader as a sign that the Mets need him, they’ve shown that when a starter goes deep, they can handle themselves without the $110 million man at the plate.
Jay Bruce has been the guy for the Mets throughout the 2017 campaign thus far, as the southpaw has hit .258 with 16 home runs and 43 RBIs mostly out of the home Cespedes has carved for himself in Queens — the three-hole.
Michael Conforto has carried his breakout season through more than two months now, solidifying for himself a central spot in the Mets’ order with a .293 average, 1.004 OPS, 14 home runs and 36 RBIs so far this year.
But even with the offensive power the Mets Ces-less lineup produced while he was on the DL, Yo’ provides a level of importance to his fellow hitters that not a lot of other guys in the majors can claim they do.
The Metropolitans possess an around .100 point higher win percentage when the Cuban slugger is a part of the order compared to when he’s out — that’s old, known news now, though.
From a non-statistical and completely common-sense point of view, the addition of Cespedes to the Mets lineup simply provides an incredible amount of deepening to the squad’s power, as well as gives protection to other hitters who may not need that, but would largely benefit from it — like Bruce did with Joey Votto in Cincinnati.
Theoretically — and that’s all one can do when dealing with Terry Collins — the Mets could afford to put Conforto in a more RBI-spot in the order with Cespedes back on a daily basis, giving the junior left fielder a serious shot to show what he can do.
But the bigger effect would undoubtedly be on Bruce, as he would presumably be moved to the clean-up spot, a position in the order much more suited to Bruce’s all-or-nothing style at the plate.
As has been evidenced by his nine extremely successful seasons as a Red, Bruce thrives batting behind a big bat, just as he did with Votto, giving him the ability to be the “1b” hitter in the lineup, rather than the center of attention that he has been so far in 2017.
Obviously then, this deepening of the order would make the Mets pretty formidable throughout the 1-9 spots.
That, paired with the returns of Steven Matz and Seth Lugo to the rotation, along with the recent improved performances from Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Robert Gsellman, the Mets could be in line for a reversal of their seasonal hopes in the coming weeks.