Curtis Granderson has switched to the good side and signed with the Mets. Because of this, Eric Young Jr. is likely losing his starting job in the Mets' outfield. That means he loses his starting job batting 1st in the Mets lineup, which now opens up a gaping whole at the top of the lineup...again.
EYJ was the Mets' leadoff hitter since the Mets traded for him on June 18th of last season, and the difference in the team was noticeable from the day he came. He added a dimension to this team that was not there, and before he came along, the Mets had used 10 different lead-off hitters in the span on 2 1/2 months. That's a formula that helped them to a 27-40 record. After he came, the Mets played to a much better 47-48 record. Albeit, that's not a great record, and there were other factors that impacted the Mets successes as well, but the improvement was obvious. It's also obvious how important a consistent lead-off hitter is to a ball club overall. And that's something the Mets now apparently don't have.
Now obviously, the offseason isn't over. The Mets could go out and acquire a lead-off hitter tomorrow, and this Fan Post would be irrelevant. But if the season started today, the Mets would not have a lead-off hitter. Thankfully, the season doesn't start today. So let's explore the in-house options to see exactly what we potentially have right now batting 1st.
Eric Young Jr.
- Pros: Obviously, EYJ is the best lead-off hitter on this team. He's one of the fastest guys in the MLB and can almost definitely get into scoring position for the heart of the lineup, if he gets on base.
- Cons: "If he gets on base" is the key. His OBP really isn't anything to write home about, and of course there's the obvious problem that I've already mentioned. Unless one of the outfielders struggles, or someone gets hurt, it looks like he'll have a bench role to start this season.
- Pros: Juan batted 1st a few games last year for the Mets. He has decent speed.
- Cons: A guy with a .242 BA and .282 OBP with 20 walks in almost 400 at bats is not your prototypical lead-off hitter. We'll stick to marveling his defensive mastery.
- Pros: I mean, he can run okay.
- Cons: His primary role will be cleaning up. With his diminished speed and strikeout rate, he shouldn't be anywhere near leading off.
- Pros: Since 2011, he has 196 at bats leading off for the Diamondbacks and A's. He has the speed to bat at the top of the lineup.
- Cons: His OBP. In those 196 at bats, he had just a .278 OBP. And with his power, low average, and high strikeout rates, he'd obviously best be suited in the #5 or #6 spots.
- Pros: He will always hit for a good average.
- Cons: He lacks the speed, on base percentage, and discipline. He did lead-off a couple of games last season, but that was when the 1 hole was a complete crap-shoot and hopeless. Not the guy you want to start a season as your lead-off guy.
- Pros: He compiled 338 at bats in the lead-off position in 2012. In those at bats, he hit .293 with a .334 OBP.
- Cons: Everything that's happened since then.
Yeah, not even gonna waste your time.
Lucas Duda, Ike Davis, Josh Satin, or Travis d'Arnaud
Obviously, there's not much to choose from here. There isn't a clear-cut answer here by any means, and it looks like it would be a 2012-like situation where Terry would literally just throw crap at the wall based on match-ups and see what sticks. Here's to hoping Sandy can get us a shortstop who Terry can bat 1st with a sliver of confidence in them.