A Possible Lineup?

Opening Day is around the corner, and New York Mets’ fans have a great deal of optimism for this coming season! And, why not? It’s been a long, arduous road for Mets’ fans, but for the first time, in a long time, we have a solid roster.

Undoubtedly, the starting rotation will receive a great deal of attention, and, yes, they certainly deserve the kudos. Although great pitching beats great hitting, our lineup strategy should focus on each hitter’s proven results, and not a fantasy-minded lineup. Based on last year’s (split) stats, here’s a lineup that is based on how each player performed, in that specific batting position.

At Bats Batting Average Home Runs Runs Batted In Slugging Pct. On-Base Pct.
Granderson 546 0.260 26 64 0.463 0.360
Walker 198 0.293 7 26 0.475 0.344
Wright 3 0.333 0 0 0.333 0.500
Cespedes 80 0.313 4 11 0.500 0.353
Duda 73 0.288 10 20 0.795 0.373
Cabrera 133 0.293 6 18 0.504 0.364
d’Arnaud 61 0.311 2 12 0.541 0.382
Conforto 12 0.333 2 4 0.833 0.429

A couple of points:

  1. I certainly believe Conforto is well on his way to becoming a really, really good hitter. However, in my opinion, keeping him in the 8th spot will only further develop his approach at the plate (i.e. the 9th spot offers zero protection, so patience is key).
  2. Front loading Grandy, Wright, Cespedes, and Duda at the top of the order isn’t the smartest approach, considering Duda’s proven tendency to go on prolonged streaks, albeit cold or hot. Plus, Duda is actually a better 5th hole batter than cleanup hitter.
  3. In addition, Yoenis is a better cleanup hitter, and, given his contract, that’s where he should bat.
  4. El Capitan has proven time and time again that he is a patient hitter. Wright’s approach to hitting is second to none, on this team. Since time immemorial, a team’s best overall hitter is the 3rd batter. Why fight conventional wisdom?
  5. Since Cabrera and Walker are switch hitters, stretching the lineup will force opposing starting pitchers, especially the great ones who seem to find a groove, to constantly deal with alternating hitters. I think such a lineup strategy, i.e. alternating your hitters as mush as possible, is often overlooked.

I’m sure there are several more configurations, and no lineup remains fixed throughout the season, but perhaps an evidence-based approach to crafting a lineup isn’t such a bad idea.