A few days ago, I wrote how Curtis Granderson should not be the New York Mets‘ cleanup hitter, and the following day, Terry Collins felt the same way. The problem with that is Collins moved Granderson up to the second spot in the lineup, which arguably makes the batting order even worse.
What does a team want from a hitter slotted in the second spot? They want a guy who can get on base, work the count and accompany the leadoff hitter by moving him into scoring position. Granderson doesn’t do that. In fact, there are a handful of guys who should be in the two-hole instead of Granderson, Daniel Murphy being one. Murphy may not be ideal, but he doesn’t strike out, he puts the ball in play and he has productive outs. Granderson doesn’t do those things. Granderson is striking out 28 percent of the time and he has an on-base percentage of less than .250. In what way will moving him up in the lineup help this team?
So what’s Collins reasoning for making this decision? He states that Granderson has had success in that spot before and he should get more fastballs behind Eric Young Jr. I don’t buy that. According to FanGraphs, he is facing 54.8 percent fastballs, his highest since 2010, so facing fastballs isn’t the problem. He’s just not hitting, and ideally, he should be batting sixth or seventh in the order.
Hopefully when Juan Lagares gets back, Collins will be smart enough to put him in that spot, because although it’s only a small sample size, he has improved at the plate this year. Granderson is hitless in his last three games, and with the Young not exactly off to a hot start, there is no one on base for David Wright and Chris Young. That will continue as long as Granderson is at the top of the lineup because he has a career on-base percentage of .338.
Simply put, Granderson is not a top-of-the-lineup hitter. He belongs in the middle of the lineup where his power can be an advantage. By moving him to the second spot in the batting order, the Mets aren’t utilizing what he does well and they are exposing what he doesn’t.