Mets May Need To Add Three Starting Outfielders For 2013
Right now the Mets outfield situation is a disaster. Who would have thought that not one single player would solidify himself this season as a starter for 2013. Just about everyone we have thrown out there has left something to be desired. There is still time for that to change, but time is running out quickly.
The Amazin: Where would we be without Scott Hairston? He is so scary good against lefties that he bats cleanup for us against them. Scott has arguably been the best signing by Sandy Alderson in the two years since he arrived. However, he is basically a one trick pony and is mostly a dead pull hitter. As the season has gone along he has started to go the other way more, and has recently been driving the ball to right field. Hairston is a guaranteed keeper for 2013 if the price is right. But even Alderson acknowledged last week that Hairston may have priced himself out of the Mets plans for 2013. Sadly, Hariston is really not a starter and is much better suited to thrive off the bench.
The Good: Kirk Nieuwenhuis did a great job for the first few months. He put on a nice display offensively showing both home run and gap power, not to mention batting for a nice average. His defense was outstanding and he showed he may even be better than Torres in center. After a while the league began to catch up to him and he appeared overmatched at the plate. It eventually led to a demotion to Triple-A to work things out. Now things are up in the air about whether he can contribute consistently at this level or if he will just be another bench option.
Andres Torres has been solid, but not spectacular defensively. But offensively, Torres has been spotty. He has not been the threat on the bases we had hoped for, totaling just 10 steals and 37 runs scored on the season. Torres was initially brought in to be a table-setter at the top of the order, but instead he only bats there on occasion. That said, Torres has been on kind of a tear of late, batting .323 in the last 30 days and .345 in the last ten games with an .873 OPS. He has been a force against left-handed pitching and has a slash of .304/.427/.441 in 124 plate appearances against them this season.
The Average: Lucas Duda did not hit like he did last season. His power numbers came in spurts, and his defense was…..well……we won’t go there. He tried to learn the outfield at the Major League level and that has proven to be a difficult task for him. He still has a very good shot to earn a spot next season, but he needs to improve drastically on the defensive side. His offense also left much to be desired. He showed flashes of what we hoped he would be, but for the most part was very inconsistent. He had extended slumps and long power outages. His bat needed to make up for his poor defense, but that was far from what happened. The Dude Abides in the minors for now.
The Horrific: Jason Bay has lost his way. He can’t make consistent contact, he seems scared at the plate, and teams are now walking players to get to him. Even when he hits the ball on the barrel it dies at the warning track and lands in the outfielder’s glove. In 149 plate appearances, Bay is batting .154/.248/.245, and he has a .696 career OPS with the Mets since signing his $66 million dollar deal.
The Wild Card: Jordany Valdespin has the most dynamic skill set of any Major League ready player we have on our 40-man roster. He came up as an infielder, but with Murphy and Tejada raking it appears his future may be in the outfield. He has the skills to play out there and with nobody set to man a particular spot in 2013, he basically has his pick of where he wants to play. All he has to do it hit and play a decent outfield and he should be a shoe in as a starter in 2013. If he takes a nose dive offensively in the second then we are in big trouble.
We still have two months left to go, so hopefully some of these players can rebound a bit to show the Mets brass that they should still be considered for a spot on the 2013 roster. Someone needs to step up, because it will be really difficult to bring in three starters from the outside.
Thoughts from Joe D.
We are in dire straits when it comes to the outfield. Two of our potential options for 2013, Lucas Duda and Jordany Valdespin are not even outfielders by trade. While the athletically gifted Valdespin has a chance to evolve into an average centerfielder, let’s not ignore the fact he’s batting .260 with a .288 OBP and is hitting .172 in his last ten games. Lets also not ignore the fact that Torres will be 35 next season, or that Hairston probably wont be back. Jason Bay? As long as he’s still here, you have to count him in for 2013. He makes more than Castillo and Perez combined and cutting him won’t be as easy as it was cutting them two. There was supposed to be the money saved from not bringing back Reyes… Where did that money go? I haven’t seen it, have you? Nobody is on the way in the minors. Den Dekker might be a September callup in 2013. Wilmer Flores is still bouncing around all over the infield and the thought of him as a potential left fielder and replacement for Jason Bay hasn’t even crossed their mind yet. The outfield is a mess right now.
About the Author: Dan Valis
I am a staff writer for Mets Merized Online. I am a Mets team analyst with a focus on the minor league system, as well as the major league club. I am a lifelong New Yorker who was born and raised to be a Mets fan. The ups and downs of being a Mets fan is what makes following this team so much fun, but at times so frustrating. You can follow me on Twitter @BgAppleMetsTalk.
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