While the Mets look for a power bat at the trade deadline, they can take action now to strengthen the team. Here’s some food for thought…
One of these days, the Mets offense and starting pitching is bound to click on the same day, enabling the team to run off a streak that gains meaningful ground on the Braves. Yesterday’s ten runs illustrates the frustration, a sum good enough to win two games, but not enough to win yesterday as the Colorado Rockies scored eleven.
Since Opening Day, the Mets have acknowledged the need for at least one more power bat in their lineup to support what looks to be a memorable campaign underway for Pete Alonso, the current major league leader in home runs.
The mantra from the Mets further maintains the need to wait for the trade deadline at the end of July when teams are ready and eager to strengthen their roster, as opposed to now when teams are still evaluating the talent they have, and scouting the competition for help.
Mets: Make The Move To Plan B
The trouble with the Mets thinking, though, is the schedule adds 50 or so more games played and nearly two months more in the season with the status quo in place. Ergo, why wait when there are improvements to the team the Mets can make today, while still looking for help when the trade season is underway.
First, Ronny Mauricio has proven all he can in the minor leagues and he should be called up to play second base immediately. Mauricio has transcended the competition while playing at Triple-A Syracuse, producing gaudy and consistent numbers (.346 BA, .389 OBA, .576 SLG, .965 OPS – with seven home runs and 33 RBI in 50 games).
This type of production is consistent with the numbers Mauricio has put up as he’s made his way through the Mets farm system.
At most fans will say, though, whoa, not so fast – are you sure you want four rookies in your starting lineup on a regular basis? Quick answer? Absolutely, yes!
Or, at least, let me put it this way. I’d rather see Brett Baty, Francisco Alvarez, Mark Vientos, and Ronny Mauricio in the Mets lineup today and every day, rather than Mark Canha, Tommy Pham, Eduardo Escobar, and Daniel Vogelbach.
Baty and Alvarez (especially) are already making their presence known in the Mets lineup, while Vientos is just beginning to gather enough playing time as the DH to make himself a force as well. Adding Mauricio’s offensive ability puts the icing on the proverbial cake.
It’s About More Than The Numbers
Moreover, there are the intangibles to consider, that is, the things we can’t see with “the numbers”. Already, the rookies are being tagged as the Baby Mets, a signal to all fans the future is now, and it’s been worth waiting for.
Together, the four rookies almost form a team within a team. They share a common experience as they attempt to adapt to the major league lifestyle. The bonding continues as veteran Mets players step up to educate and ease the rookies into the clubhouse.
To illustrate, Anthony DiComo, the Mets beat writer for MLB reports that:
When Saturday’s game against the Guardians was postponed due to rain, the Mets found themselves with an unexpected block of free time. Francisco Lindor went shopping and threw a pizza party for his family. Buck Showalter put in eight hours of office work at Citi Field. Francisco Alvarez? He texted Brett Baty and Mark Vientos and invited them over for lasagna.
Something small, but oh so necessary to complete the journey from the minor leagues to The Show.
With the the arrival of four relatively new faces, Mets manager Buck Showalter is presented with an opportunity to tweak the Mets lineup.
With Mauricio slated to play second base, Jeff McNeil is forced to be an everyday outfielder. For any other player, this might cause unrest, but with McNeil, the consummate team player, it’s just another day at the office. Besides, McNeil has already split twenty games this year between left and right field.
Mets: A Chance To Blend Rookies With Veterans
Showalter has, and should also use, the arrival of Mauricio to tweak the Mets batting order. Francisco Lindor, who measures up in run production but falls short as a .225 hitter with a .295 OBA should be moved out of the number two slot, and into the five or six hole behind Pete Alonso.
This follows the steady and growing trend to utilize one of the team’s best natural hitters to hit behind the leadoff batter. Corey Seager (Texas), Dante Bichette (Toronto ), Brian Reynolds (Pittsburgh), Aaron Judge (Yankees), Alex Verdugo (Boston), and Freddie Freeman (Dodgers) are all used this way, and in each case the overall lineup is improved with more base hits and higher on base averages.
So, here’s what the Mets lineup can look like:
Not too shabby, huh? Be sure to note, too, that this lineup includes only two players (McNeil and Marte) thirty years of age or older, catapulting the Mets into being one of the youngest teams in the majors.
To boot, there is nothing precluding GM Billy Eppier from making a trade to bring in another bat when the trade season gets closer.
But with the presence of the lineup above, the Mets might better be focused on looking for a starting pitcher with verifiable creds, as well a lefty or two for the bullpen.
The Mets need a makeover, and it can happen now. Too many games have passed waiting for Vogelbach to take the bat off his shoulders to swing at a pitch, or for Mark Canha to reach even the bottom of the hype he received when he joined the team.
Trade ’em, release ’em – whatever – but give the Mets an early preview of the fruits produced by their farm system – and at the same time – hope that Steve Cohen and Billy Eppier can switch their focus from offense to pitching to produce the same results in two or three years that we are seeing with the quartet of rookies crashing the Mets lineup today.