We are a handful of hours away from first pitch in Kansas City and the Mets first lineup of the season is in.
Matt Harvey will toe the rubber in the first start of his 2nd season removed from Tommy John Surgery. Many are predicting Harvey to have a Cy Young type season and I can’t disagree. The further away from the surgery he moves and the more the restraints are lifted, the more dangerous he becomes. Yes, Syndergaard and deGrom may rival him in terms of stuff, but mental makeup keeps him the Mets unquestionable ace of this staff.
Now to the lineup:
Leading off, no surprise, is Curtis Granderson. While he would potentially be more valuable lower in the lineup, there is no arguing with him as the leadoff man after his production in that spot last season. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Wright will bat second and this is the best spot for him. He has protection from Cespedes and Duda and Granderson will his high on base percentage will likely give him lots of hittable pitches. How many games he can make it onto the field is another story, and a topic in and of itself.
Hitting third is Yoenis Cepsedes, who many did not expect to see back in orange and blue come this season. While he was a better than expected rental that carried this team on his back to the playoffs last year, it was all but a foregone conclusion that he was gone to the highest bidder. That the Mets competed with the highest bidders and retains him shows that the Madoff nonsense is finally behind us and that this ownership group has rededicated themselves to a winning ball club.
Lucas “The DH” Duda bats cleanup and will sure be entering this 2 game series in KC with a chip on his shoulder. Hopefully he can harness that into some over the fence production. While i feel he would be better suited in the 3 hole and being protected by Yoenis, after last season, I should no longer second guess Terry Collins and his decision making when it comes to getting the most out of his players.
New second baseman and switch hitting Neil Walker bats 5th and in his walk year, should put up solid numbers in all categories. At the very worst, he is still an upgrade in the field over Murphy and will be an equivalent to Murphy at the plate. Besides, you know we have all grown tired of the “Oh no he Muprh’d another one” statements that would occur 2-3 times a game. Good luck Nats fans!
Batting sixth, at DH, is a budding star in Michael Conforto. While I am sure he won’t be given the chance to show his star abilities every day, because the Mets love their lineup tinkering and matchups, Conforto will show us why he skipped triple A last year and why he belongs in this outfield for the next decade.
Our new short stop and another switch hitter bats seventh. Assurable Cabrera is probably the best bat we have had at short since Reyes left and his solid glove will be nice after the carousel we have seen their the last few years. While no longer above average defensively, he makes all the routine plays and has decent pop for the position.
d’Arnaud, desperately needing a full healthy season, will bat 8th and looks to provide some pop from the bottom of a suddenly very deep lineup. d’artaud’s offensive abilities have rarely been questioned, but his durability and defense have risen as huge question marks the last few seasons. With so much more protection and length in this lineup this season, maybe some protection will take pressure off Travis and allow him to live up to his potential.
Batting ninth and playing center field is Juan Lagares. Lagares came into camp in the best shape of his career and is back to feeling fully healthy after a down year last year. While he may not get a lot of starts, his glove will force him in the lineup at least late in most games and if his bat continues to develop, getting him additional at bats will surely be a nice problem to have.
While I won’t be breaking down the lineups each and every game, this is game 1 of the season and I could not be more excited. Last season, the Mets came up a few games short and with this pitching staff, there is no reason to believe they can’t make it back and finish the job this season, especially with how weak the National League is.