I thought about the first three spots in the Mets lineup. While the two and three holes seem locked by Daniel Murphy and David Wright respectively, the leadoff spot has been somewhat of a revolving door. Here is the list of starts in the leadoff spot with Murphy and Wright at No. 2 and 3:
*One of Cowgill’s starts had Justin Turner subbing into the two hole for Murphy
Statistics tell us that Cowgill and El Dramático are the frontrunners to bat at the top of lineup. Here are their lines this season:
- Cowgill: .205/.205/.385 – 6 Runs – 8 RBI – 2 HR – 0 SB – 0 BB – 10 K
- Valdespin: .306/.359/.389 – 8 Runs – 2 RBI – 0 HR – 2 SB – 2 BB – 6 K
These are the combined stats of the first three batters when each player bats leadoff with Murphy and Wright behind them:
- Cowgill: .243/.300/.378 – 14 Runs – 10 RBI – 2 HR – 6 BB – 11 K
- Valdespin: .375/.444/.597 – 19 Runs – 17 RBI – 3 HR – 9 BB – 9 K
Conventional wisdom suggests that the Mets should start Valdespin more at the top of the lineup. The Mets’ record with each player would suggest otherwise:
- Cowgill – 4-3
- Valdespin – 2-4
It’s worth noting that the one game Baxter batted leadoff in, which resulted in a 7-3 win against Miami, Cowgill hit his second home run of the season. He also went 3-6 in the last game he started, which was an 8-9, extra-inning loss to Colorado.
What do all these stats mean? It’s hard to tell since they’re so counterintuitive. Valdespin has obviously been the better player so far, but the Mets win more often when Cowgill is in the lineup. This could just be coincidence, but it adds credence to my theory that these two should be starting together every day.
I’ve been a Valdespin guy since the first intrasquad game. I don’t think there’s any surprise there, but I’m willing to admit that the Mets have played better so far overall with Cowgill. I still think Valdespin is a better leadoff candidate because of his speed, but there should be a way to get Cowgill into the lineup too.
Valdespin would make a better centerfielder with his superior speed and improved defensive skills, but I’m convinced he can play any of the outfield positions given enough reps. Cowgill is more of a centerfielder so I would put him there for a majority of games. Valdespin can shift to center when Cowgill has the day off if need be. Marlon Byrd can be the backup rightfielder, Nieuwenhuis can be the backup centerfielder and either Lucas Duda or Baxter can start in left field with the other as backup.
What do you think about the outfield so far?