Mets Must Develop Consistency In Batting Order

Constructing a major league batting order is a tricky enough task for a manager in the best of times, let alone with the limited and non-productive options in front of Terry Collins.

It was good to see Daniel Murphy back at leadoff Monday against Cincinnati, but somewhat surprised at first to see Rick Ankiel at second. Then again, Murphy won’t be doing a lot of stealing, so there’s not much of a need for him to work the count.

Then again, working the count might not be such a bad idea if it helps Ankiel get a better pitch and cuts down on his strikeouts. You also have to wonder if having a hot David Wright behind him will have pitchers challenge him by throwing more fastballs inside the zone, which theoretically is the theory of hitters protecting each other in the batting order.

Murphy is on a 14-for-28 tear over his last seven games and Ankiel has two homers since the Mets picked him up last week, so there’s life at the top of the order. Wright has also been swinging a hot bat.

Moving Lucas Duda to cleanup and dropping Ike Davis to sixth seems the best option, although I would drop Davis lower – to Triple-A Las Vegas. But, if he stays, let him stick at seventh. Sixth can be a RBI spot in the order, so why keep Davis there when he’s not producing? Until Davis shows he can produce, and he erroneously has said he needs to hit on this level and not in the minor leagues.

What Davis doesn’t get is this isn’t about the majors vs. the minors, but for him addressing his mechanics and approach. Staying in the majors won’t shake him of his bad habits and approach. That will take diligent work in the minors.

Assuming a full season for Ankiel, from him at second, and including Wright, Duda, Marlon Byrd, Davis and John Buck, the Mets have six straight hitters on pace for over 100 strikeouts. Five Mets who normally start are hitting lower than .240. Overall, the Mets have scored three or fewer runs in 10 of their last 13 games and 15 of their last 22.

In spring training Collins said he wanted consistency in the batting order, but realistically hasn’t had many options. One thing he could do is keep Ruben Tejada eighth, which is prudent considering his .219 average.

Collins has waffled before, but if there’s no replacement for Davis – and general manager Sandy Alderson said that is not imminent – here’s hoping he sticks with this indefinitely.There might be minor tweaking depending on specific match-ups and working others into the lineup, but overall hopefully nothing dramatic.

Look at it this way, there’s nothing working with all the juggling. The Mets have used seven different hitters batting leadoff, fifth and eighth; eight number six hitters; and 11 at seventh.

There’s nothing stable there, and that must change.

As usual, your comments are always welcome and I will attempt to answer them. Please follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

One thought on “Mets Must Develop Consistency In Batting Order

  1. How do you have stability when only 4 players hit north of 250? Ike should bat last, after the pitcher. Certainly when Matt pitches. He is an infinitely better hitter. Ike should be in the minors, but he is not so he needs to bat as low as you can place him

    How does he bat 4th? He can’t hit the ball let alone hit homers or doubles for rbi’s.

    This is the team Sandy built.

    We have a rookie as an ace and no #2, but a number 3 and a bunch of 4/5 and minor leaguers. Our pen is a mess and we have no MLB OF, no bench and no depth.

    This is what we get for $90 million. This is why I said 100 losses and unfortunately it looks like I may be right.

    David has been good. Dan is doing fine. Ike is in the toilet. Ruben is having problems and they keep way too many OF in the hope that they can find 3 who can play.

    I was hoping that Duda had figured it out. He was doing well until they hit him 4th. Maybe that put pressure on him, maybe he just could not maintain his early success. But the team has problems and it will take more than one year to become respectable.

    Right now we have 4 players I would want to keep from a 25 man roster
    David Wright
    Bobby Parnell
    Dan Murphy
    Matt Harvey

    That is it. Maybe Buck. A huge disappointment is Ruben who played very well last year.