Grading the Mets: Outfield

An article by posted on April 3, 2009

The Mets outfield has some question marks going into the season – but it should have the depth to be solid all year.  Other then Jeremy Reed replacing Endy Chavez, it will look similar to the end of the last year.  Although it has some questions, the pieces fit together nicely to give it depth should anyone not live up to expectations. 

In left field, Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis figure to split time – with the plans being for Murphy to get most of the playing time.  Murphy came up last year, and instantly started producing (.313, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 131 AB).  His major league production was better than his minor league record – so it will be interesting to see how he develops in his sophomore season.  If he falters, the reigning Comeback Player of the Year Fernando Tatis will hope to pick up where he left off before getting injured at the end of last year (.292, 11 HR, 47 RBI).  Coming out of nowhere, there are some questions on whether he can do it again.  Fortunately, the combination of the two give the Mets another path if either doesn’t fulfill their projected roles this season.

There are no questions about center field.  Carlos Beltran had another solid year at the plate (.284, 27 HR, 112 RBI, 25 SB) – and only missed one game all year.  His defense will also never come into question, as he won his third straight Gold Glove last year.

Right field has one main question, and that is the health of Ryan Church.  Church hopes to play more this year, as two concussions limited him to 90 games last year.  When in the lineup, he was productive (.276, 12 HR, 49 RBI), and was solid in the outfield.  If Church can’t stay healthy, look for Tatis to spend a good amount of time in right.

Jeremy Reed, Marlon Anderson, and Nick Evans will get any remaining playing time.  Jeremy Reed is capable of playing all three outfield positions, and is solid at the plate (.269, 2 HR, 31 RBI, 2 SB).  Marlon Anderson will primarily be used as a pinch hitter this year, although he didn’t exactly thrive in that role last year (.210, 1 HR, 10 RBI).  He doesn’t have as much versatility as he once had – mainly limited to left field, first base, and pinch hitting.  I expect at some point this year, Nick Evans will force Anderson off the roster.  He is younger, has more upside, and is right-handed.  He received 109 at bats last year, and showed he could hit major league pitching (.257, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 10 doubles).

If the Mets are in a position to make the playoffs most of the year, it is doubtful we will see Fernando Martinez called up.  Angel Pagan, Cory Sullivan, or Bobby Kielty will get called up if anyone goes awry during any part of the season.  If it is a tight race around the trading deadline, I think its possible that Martinez could be a candidate to get traded for a starting pitcher.

Overall Grade: B-

Projected Statistics:

Daniel Murphy: .265, 8 HR, 61 RBI
Fernando Tatis: .284, 10 HR, 44 RBI
Carlos Beltran: .277, 30 HR, 107 RBI, 27 SB
Ryan Church: .279, 17 HR, 81 RBI
Jeremy Reed: .244, 2 HR, 26 RBI, 10 SB
Marlon Anderson: .243, 2 HR, 12 RBI
Nick Evans: .251, 5 HR, 32 RBI

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