Juan Lagares is due to come back any day now from his hamstring injury that sidelined him for a couple weeks, and now the New York Mets have a bit of a problem. While they don’t have any great outfielders, they have a few good ones. But they can’t play all of them, so what do the Mets do?
Well one thing is for sure, and that is that the idea of a platoon or outfield rotation should be thrown out the window. Terry Collins recently made comments about a platoon to get everyone their at-bats, but Collins isn’t there to make everyone happy. This isn’t Little League. He is paid to win games, and he needs to find the most capable outfielders on the team. They not only have to be good in the field, but they need to be able to hit. That is why Eric Young Jr. needs to be a bench player.
Young Jr. is currently batting .215 with an on-base percentage of .315, but he also has 28 strikeouts, which isn’t ideal for a leadoff hitter. I understand that he brings a different aspect to the game once he is on base, but at the moment, he is getting on base less than a third of the time; and looking at his career averages, those won’t change that much.
The Mets’ starting outfield needs to be Chris Young, Curtis Granderson and Lagares. Not only do they provide above-average defense, but they are the best hitting options that they have. Before Lagares pulled his hamstring, he was batting .314 and looked like a much-improved hitter from last season. Young provides power that Young Jr. cannot, and Granderson is just too good of a player not to turn it around.
The Mets tried a platoon with their first base position for the past couple years, and it crushed the confidence of both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. Trying it in the outfield could easily have the same effect.
Collins needs to find his best lineup and stick with it. He just needs to focus on winning games.