Projecting the New York Mets’ 2014 Opening Day Lineup
Projecting the New York Mets' 2014 Opening Day Lineup
Now that we’re officially in 2014 and the start of spring training is less than two months away, it seems like the right time to start projecting rosters and lineups for the upcoming baseball season. The New York Mets have done a lot of moving and shaking this winter, so their roster looks much different than it did last year. And so will their lineup as we try to predict what their opening Day lineup will look like roughly three months before the season starts.
Of course, there are still a few weeks left in the offseason, so there is still time for Sandy Alderson and company to make some moves even though it’s unlikely that anything will happen between now and the start of spring training that will shake up the roster in a major way. However, there is bound to be some competition for some spots in spring training that will make it hard to project who will be in the lineup on opening day. That's especially true in the Mets’ outfield where there appear to be four candidates for three spots, so that could be the toughest position to project. Of course, injuries could also pop up in spring training that could change things as well.
Nevertheless, this is the first unofficial attempt at projecting the Mets lineup for opening day of the 2014 season. Here are the nine players that Terry Collins will likely send out onto the field on opening day as the Mets begin their 2014 season.
1. Eric Young Jr., Left Field
Young Jr. gets the start at the expense of Juan Lagares who is the odd man out in the outfield. Lagares isn’t the problem; the issue is that the Mets don’t have a leadoff hitter outside of Young Jr., so Terry Collins has no choice but to start him at the expense of Lagares and his brilliant defense. Ruben Tejada can’t be trusted after last season, and Daniel Murphy doesn’t walk enough. Sadly those are the best options the Mets have for the leadoff spot outside of Young Jr. which means he gets the nod in left field and in the leadoff spot.
2. Daniel Murphy, Second Base
The Mets have entertained the idea of trading Murphy, but the price they want for him is too high so he ends up back at second base and back in the two hole. Murphy is hoping to hit for more power this season, but more than anything the Mets just need some consistency from him. He’s been prone to extended slumps which the Mets can’t afford if they’re going to compete this season.
3. David Wright, Third Base
Barring injury, Wright should occupy the third spot in the lineup and play third base just about every game this season. He’s the most important player in the lineup, and the Mets hope they have enough help around him.
4. Curtis Granderson, Right Field
The Mets solidified their outfield when they signed Granderson, and now he has the privilege of hitting cleanup for the Mets. He’s getting older, he’s coming off a wrist injury from last season, and the fence at Citi Field is a little further away than what he’s used to, but the Mets need Granderson to provide some home run power for them. That's especially the case since he’s hitting behind David Wright and the Mets have few other options for the cleanup spot.
5. Chris Young, Center Field
With Juan Lagares out, Young is the best center fielder the Mets have, and he bats fifth because Terry Collins wants to go right-left-right-left through the middle of the order. He’s coming off a bad season, but Young has plenty of pop and the Mets need him to rebound in 2014.
6. Lucas Duda, First Base
The Mets will likely end up trading Ike Davis and keeping Duda to play first base, although he’ll likely end up platooning with either Josh Satin or Wilmer Flores this season. So if the Mets face a lefty on opening day, Duda may be left out of the starting lineup. However, Duda should still get a majority of the playing time at first base, for better or worse.
7. Travis d'Arnaud, Catcher
The Mets are hoping that d’Arnaud will start to grow into the offensive player he’s expected to become after struggling a bit last September following his big league debut. If d’Arnaud plays well, he could be a huge part of the Mets’ lineup this year, but Terry Collins will bat him down in the order to help keep the pressure off of him -- at least until he gets going.
8. Ruben Tejada, Shortstop
Unless the Mets find a way to land Stephen Drew or trade for another shortstop, Tejada will be the guy. And until he proves that he can be a regular contributor offensively, he’ll be in the eight spot of the lineup.
9. Jon Niese, Pitcher
If Matt Harvey were healthy he would be the opening day starter, but without Harvey available, Niese is the most likely choice to get the ball on opening day as he started the season opener last year as well. Bartolo Colon could be an option after the season he had last year, but with Niese being one of the longest tenured members of the Mets, he’ll likely get the nod over Colon and be the one Terry Collins sends to the mound on opening day.
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