Are the 2014 Mets a Better Team on Paper? (Right Fielders)


     We have clearly improved at the C, SS, and CF positions even though the players are the same and expect the same lackluster production at 1B, and the same solid production at 2B and 3B. As we stated before, LF looks like its a real wild card since we still have no idea who's going to be starting. Lets move on to the last positional spot of RF.

(***Note this takes into account the team as it is today. Steamer Projections are extrapolated out to 162 games for the starter only.)

Players: Marlon Byrd, Mike Baxter, Andrew Brown, Juan Lagares, Jordany Valdespin, Matt Den Dekker, Kirk Nieuwenheis, Rick Ankiel
Stats: .250 AVG/.308 OBP/.428 SLG, 23 HR, 92 RBI, 9 SB, 31 2B, 7 3B,  49 BB, 182 K
(18th in MLB OPS)

     Despite many claiming that the Mets could possibly have the worst OF in all of baseball in 2013, RF was surprisely stable considered the players we went into spring training with. This was all thanks to the immortal Marlon Byrd. After serving a suspension for a positive banned substance test, Byrd was left for dead but the team gave him a chance to showcase that he could still be the solidly average player he was for the Cubs and Rangers.
     Byrd rewarding the Mets faith by hitting .285 with 21 HR and 71 RBI while playing slightly above defense. In addition he was traded to the Pittburgh Pirates in August and netted two Top-15 prospects on a 1 1/2 month rental. Sadly though, after Byrd left the RF position tanked offensively with Andrew Brown taking most of the ABs there and dragging the overall RF stats down.

Starter: Curtis Granderson
Steamer Projections: .228 AVG/.320 OBP/.429 SLG, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 14 SB, 78 BB, 192 K

     OK here's another one that I don't agree with STEAMER on but their logic is sound. Despite Granderson having an injury filled 2013 and hitting only .229, his BABIP was still a solid .302. However it's well known that Granderson modified his swing from his Detroit days to make excellent use of the short RF porch in Yankee Stadium. This resulted in much higher K rates and larger power numbers as a Yankee.
     If he returns to his approach used during his Detroit days then its not inconceivable to see him hit the .260 AVG with 23 HR that he regularly topped in his 4 years as a Tiger. While he is a smart player who should be able to easily make this adjustment, if he is unable to, then the increased power and OBP rates at the plate will still be a welcome addition albeit it'll only match the crazy comeback year Byrd produced.
     Just remember though, Granderson's value is more than just the stats he puts up. His power threat is going to make pitchers think twice about putting a runner in front of him so look for Wright to get more pitches to hit and/or the #5 hitter to get more opportunities to hit with Granderson on base.

Verdict: Push with upside if he is able to kick the Yankee habit.

Mack - Okay, I told you under the centerfield post in this series that Juan Lagares was going to tank this year and eventually lose his job to Curtis Granderson. I hope I am wrong, but I need another year to believe in Lagares. I consider 2013 beginners defensive luck.

Still, if I am wrong, Granderson will play right. And, if I am right, Cesar Puello will eventually be promoted and he'll push Granderson over to center.

Either way he will have to work every day to produce the 23 HRs, and 92 RBIs produced at this position last year.

But it's not that simple.  The addition of RP Vic Black must also be remembered here.

No, I like this move and, based on the fact that Marlon Byrd was the star of this team last year, I still project moderate growth at RF.

(Did everything I just say make any sense?)


Reese Kaplan said...

If, as we assume, Wilmer Flores plays 1B exclusively in AAA, then Ike Davis will be on a very short lease if he has a typical Ike Davis start to the season. That would likely result in a major upgrade over what we had the past two years there. Remember, it's about RBIs, not whether they are produced with 32 long balls. Hell, Tommy Herr once had over 100 RBIs and was single digits in home runs. You wouldn't want him on the team?

I am at the polar opposite when it comes to Juan Lagares. I think the defense is a given based upon what we saw last year. I feel his offense has been underrated as he posted good numbers in the minors and tore up the winter leagues before getting hurt. I don't think .275 is out of reach at all. If he can produce that with 10 HRs and GG level defense, he's got a job for a long, long time.

Mack Ade said...

Reese -

There can only be so many players that defense and a bating average around .250 is good enough.

Lagares...Tejada... who's next?

That Adam Smith said...

I agree with Reese. I think that Lagares is the real deal in CF - even if his defensive stats aren't as through-the-roof as they were last season. I also thought that Lagares flashed a bat with some upside - and he did hit just about everywhere in the minors. I want that kid patrolling CF for me until he proves that he doesn't belong.

Mack's Mets © 2012