Previewing Mets Lineups For 2018 Season

After the addition of Todd Frazier, the Mets, at least on the offensive side, appear to be ready to go for the start of Spring Training.

As a result, it is reasonable to be able to project what a potential lineup could look like to start the season and that is exactly what this article is going to dissect.

So here are the lineups:

Lineup vs RHP                                          Lineup vs LHP

  1. Brandon Nimmo    CF                                                  1. Todd Frazier             3B
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera  2B                                                  2. Asdrubal Cabrera   2B
  3. Yoenis Cespedes    LF                                                  3. Yoenis Cespedes     LF
  4. Jay Bruce                 RF                                                  4. Jay Bruce                   RF
  5. Todd Frazier           3B                                                  5. Wilmer Flores           1B
  6. Adrian Gonzalez   1B                                                   6. Travis d’Arnaud       C
  7. Travis d’Arnaud     C                                                    7. Amed Rosario          SS
  8. Amed Rosario        SS                                                   8. Juan Lagares            CF

So the two lineups at the start of the season feature some very different looks. Against right-handers, the Mets are likely to deploy Brandon Nimmo at the top since he gets on base at a very strong clip (.379 OBP in 2017). He is also one of the few players in the lineup with speed which gives him a leg up on everyone else in the lineup.

However, against left-handers, the Mets are likely going to deploy Juan Lagares in center field which complicates the lead-off spot for the team. While it would be ideal to just put Lagares at the top of the order, he only has a mere .297 career OBP which is not ideal for a leadoff hitter and is second lowest in the lineup.

While this likely will not be decided upon until deep into Spring Training, I see Mickey Callaway getting creative and deciding to place the newly acquired Todd Frazier in the lead-off spot. While Frazier lacks speed, he got on base at a high clip last season (.344 overall, .365 with the Yankees).

Frazier obviously is obviously a power hitter (27 homers last season) and would be better suited in the middle of the order, but this would not be the first time the Mets have placed a typical middle-of-the-order hitter at the top as the Mets did the same thing with Curtis Granderson in 2015 and 2016.

The two-through-four hitters in the lineup are pretty set in stone as Cabrera, Cespedes, Bruce have become accustomed to hitting in those spots.

The first base position is expected to be a left/right platoon with little change so Gonzalez will hit sixth against right-handers while Flores will hit in the fifth spot when a southpaw is on the mound.

Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki are likely to have close to an even split early in the season so whichever one of the two is playing on a given day is likely to hit in the sixth or seventh spot in the lineup.

Amed Rosario will be a bottom-of-the-order dweller as he did not overly impress with the bat during August and September to justify moving him up in the order. In the long-run, he is expected to be a cornerstone of the offense, but for now, his .248/.271/.394 slash line makes him a bottom of the order hitter to start the 2018 season.

However, the lineup could change somewhat once Michael Conforto returns from the disabled list, which he is not expected to do until May. Here is what the Mets lineup could look like upon his return:

vs RHP (Conforto)                                      vs LHP (Conforto)

  1. Michael Conforto   CF                                                  1. Michael Conforto    CF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera   2B                                                  2. Asdrubal Cabrera   2B
  3. Yoenis Cespedes     LF                                                  3. Yoenis Cespedes      LF
  4. Jay Bruce                  RF                                                   4. Todd Frazier             3B
  5. Todd Frazier            3B                                                   5. Jay Bruce                   RF
  6. Adrian Gonzalez     1B                                                   6. Wilmer Flores          1B
  7. Travis d’Arnaud       C                                                    7. Travis d’Arnaud       C
  8. Amed Rosario         SS                                                    8. Amed Rosario          SS

Now, Conforto hitting lead-off next season is less than ideal for this team. While Conforto can certainly handle it as evidenced by his .384 OBP last season, the slugger would be better off hitting in the third spot in the lineup as he hit 27 homers last season in only 373 at-bats.

The Mets would be much better off if they were able to place that type of production in the middle of their lineup, where he would be able to drive in 80-100 runs.

With no better options to lead-off, the Mets are left with no choice but to leave Conforto in that spot, though. It is not the worst situation to have as the lead-off hitter is guaranteed to have the most plate appearances on the team in any given game, which should give Conforto ample opportunity to produce.

Regardless of where he hits in the order, the Mets lineup looks a lot better with Conforto in it. Against left-handers, specifically, it allows Frazier to slide down to the fourth spot in the order where he can move ahead of Bruce. In turn, Bruce is sandwiched between Frazier and Flores.

The Mets lineup looks a lot better than I expected it would at the beginning of the offseason. However, this lineup is not what is going to vault this team to the top. This team is and will continue to rely on the pitching to do that.

About Josh Finkelstein 498 Articles
I am a junior at SUNY Cortland majoring in Sport Management. I have been a big Mets fan since 2007 and David Wright has and always will be my favorite player. Follow me on Twitter @JoshFinkMets