When the New York Mets pledged a four-year contract and $60 million to Curtis Granderson this past offseason, they envisioned him being a middle-of-the-order hitter who would drive in a lot of runs, preferably providing protection for David Wright which is something he’s rarely had over the last several years. However, after struggling through all of April, Granderson has been shuffled throughout the order looking for a permanent spot while the Mets strive for lineup stability. Oddly enough, both parties seem to have found what they’re looking for with Granderson hitting in the leadoff spot.
Granderson has rarely been a leadoff hitter throughout his major league career, but he’s had such a great propensity for drawing walks this season that he’s been able to get on base at a high rate, which is what the Mets are looking for from their leadoff hitter. While Granderson isn’t much of a stolen base threat, with just six successful steals in eight attempts this season, he’s fast enough and a good enough base runner to go from first base to third base on singles and score from first base on most doubles. This is a great asset to have with Daniel Murphy and Wright hitting behind him.
The Mets have a couple of other options for the leadoff spot in Eric Young Jr. and Juan Lagares, but neither is as good of an option as Granderson is right now. Young Jr. is the best pure leadoff hitter the Mets have on their roster, but he is not an everyday player. When he has been in the lineup he’s been hitting 9th, giving the Mets the best of both worlds as it allows Young Jr. to act as a second leadoff hitter while giving Granderson and the hitters behind him more opportunities to drive in runs. Meanwhile, Lagares is playing nearly every day, but he has not found a groove following his return from the DL
It’s certainly not the way the Mets drew it up when they signed Granderson, but unless they make a trade for someone from outside the organization, Granderson is the best option they have in the leadoff spot. For the time being, keeping him there and giving the lineup some continuity is preferable to Young Jr. hitting leadoff every third day. The results have been good, as the Mets have started to play better with Granderson in the leadoff spot and it appears to be working. Until it stops working, that’s the way the Mets’ lineup should stay.