There’s no debating that the New York Mets’ outfield has been one of the team’s biggest problem areas over the last several years, as they’ve struggled to put together a productive trio of players on a regular basis. However, with the Mets officially signing their first-round pick Michael Conforto, it’s possible that they have their outfield of the future in the organization. It may only be a matter of time until the Mets have an outfield of young and productive players.
In center field, the future is already here for the Mets in Juan Lagares. Last season, Lagares showed that he has the ability to be a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder, and despite a pair of injuries, Lagares has been one of the Mets’ most productive hitters when he’s been on the field this season. Assuming the injuries don’t become a common occurrence for Lagares, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be the Mets’ everyday center fielder for many years to come.
In right field, despite a four-year commitment to Curtis Granderson, the Mets’ right fielder of the future could very well be Brandon Nimmo. With a fast start to the 2014 season, Nimmo has started to prove critics wrong and turn himself into quality prospect who could be capable of reaching the big leagues as early as 2015. Nimmo may be able stick in center field long-term, but the defensive brilliance of Lagares will push him to a corner; and while playing in right field puts more pressure on him to hit for power, Nimmo has shown signs this season of growing into a player who can hit the ball over the fence on a regular basis.
Drafting Conforto could be the final piece of the Mets’ outfield puzzle. Defensively, he should be limited to left field, but the presence of Lagares and Nimmo should more than make up for any lacking in that department from Conforto. More importantly, Conforto should provide the power that the Mets covet and have been lacking for the past several seasons. Although he was just drafted, Conforto has a chance to move quickly through the Mets’ system and could arrive in the majors shortly after Nimmo.
It may take until 2016 to get this trio of outfielders together in the big leagues, and it may take a little longer to get them clicking on all cylinders. But with Lagares showing that he can be the Mets’ center fielder of the future, Nimmo having a breakout season and the Mets drafting Conforto with their first-round pick, the Mets may finally have a set of players they can project as their outfield of the future; and the day when all three are in the big leagues together can’t come soon enough.