The New York Mets Opening Day starting lineup is mostly set for 2020, but, today, we predict the batting order as well.
The New York Mets did not experience a lot of turnover in the lineup this offseason. They only added one bat on a major league deal, Jake Marisnick, a man who isn’t going to be anything more than a fourth outfielder.
The starters are mostly set in stone. The only real question is, “How will new New York Mets’ manager Luis Rojas construct the batting order?
Today, ESNY provides its 2020 Opening Day prediction on the matter at hand.
1. Brandon Nimmo
Brandon Nimmo’s high on-base percentage is too good to not place at the leadoff spot. Jeff McNeil excelled in this spot last year, but he can hit anywhere in the lineup.
With Nimmo at the top of the lineup, the Mets are guaranteed a base runner around 40% of the time. Getting a baserunner on in front of the middle of the order is a necessity. Nobody does that better than Nimmo.
2. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
He may not be healthy, but if he is, he’ll be out there on Opening Day. His defense and his elite bat carry too much potential to keep him in the dugout.
Cespedes is at his best in the two-hole. He gets the most of that slot due to his power and his on-base ability. Nimmo gets people on base and Cespedes gets people into scoring position. That’s the best-case scenario for the Mets.
3. Jeff McNeil, 3B
Jeff McNeil in the three-hole just makes sense. He’s the Mets’ best all-around hitter. He can hit for power, contact, situational hitting or get on-base. Whatever the situation calls for, McNeil can deliver.
That skill set is most appreciated out of the three-hole. McNeil’s versatility would come in handy with runners on base. With Nimmo and Cespedes in front of him, McNeil should have a runner on most times he steps up to the plate.
Don’t be surprised if Jeff McNeil ends up in the MVP conversation with more RBI opportunities.
4. Pete Alonso,1B
Pete Alonso’s power and RBI numbers work best in the four-hole. He lacks the elite on-base ability and contact ability that the three hitters in front of him have. That’s why he’s pushed further down the lineup.
On the other hand, nobody else has Alonso’s power. So, putting Alonso in the fourth spot allows him the biggest RBI potential with his power.
The fourth spot maximizes Alonso’s strength and allows for his weaknesses to play. Pete is elite at what he does, but only that. He could change that narrative in 2020, but until he does, hitting cleanup is for the best.
5. Michael Conforto, RF
Michael Conforto is the Mets’ second-best pure hitter, behind McNeil. His strikeout rate is good, his power is above-average, and his contact ability is good. There is no real big weakness in his overall game.
He does struggle against left-handed pitchers, but that can be worked around. His offensive potential is too high to have him hitting any lower than fifth.
6. Wilson Ramos, C
Wilson Ramos is in the lineup for his bat. He doesn’t have a ton of power, but his contact ability is elite. He had the Mets longest hitting streak in 2019. His 26-game hit streak was the organization’s longest since 2016.
He has his sores offensively, but his situational hitting is very good. He can provide an offensive jolt in the middle or bottom of the lineup.
Ramos can’t carry the offense, but he’s a solid piece that can keep the lineup moving. That has value in today’s game.
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
Robinson Cano needs to prove he can still hit to hit higher in the lineup. The Mets offense is too good to have a veteran with something to prove to hit higher than seventh.
The power and contact ability is still there, as showcased over the second half a year ago. However, that offensive ability wasn’t there in the first half of last season.
Cano needs to prove he’s the guy from the second half to hit higher. He may need to hit better just to keep his job with J.D. Davis on the bench.
8. Jacob deGrom, P
Jacob deGrom is going to be the Opening Day pitcher. Hitting eighth isn’t about him; it’s about the analytics. Having a player hit ninth is analytically better due to the on-base percentages.
From an offensive standpoint, the Mets had one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball. They may not provide a ton of offense, but they provide more than most.
9. Amed Rosario, SS
Amed Rosario fills out a familiar spot. He’s hit in the eighth and ninth holes most of his career. He fills the need for speed at the bottom of the lineup and his on-base skills limit his offensive potential.
However, his power and speed are valuable at the bottom of the order. It provides a new dimension to the lineup and leaves no weak spot for opposing teams to exploit.
Honorable mention: J.D. Davis, LF/3B
J.D. Davis doesn’t have a spot in the Opening Day lineup if Cespedes is healthy. He’ll be waiting for his opportunity, whether that means an injury or underperformance.
He’ll get an opportunity at some point during the season. It just might not be on Opening Day.