Leadoff Hitter Remains A Nagging Question

Of all the Mets’ off-season questions, the matter of their leadoff hitter is one of the most intriguing. That is especially if their intent is to fill it from within.

With no budding Lou Brock or Rickey Henderson in their farm system, their best hope is on their current 40-man roster. I say that because there’s no real answer in the free-agent market and they are reluctant to trade their young pitching.

The primary in-house candidates are Eric Young, Juan Lagares, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. All have something they could bring to the table, but all have issues to the negative.

Young, Lagares and Nieuwenhuis have speed, but also rather low on-base percentages and a penchant for striking out too much.

Of the group, Murphy is the best hitter, but for a relatively weak lineup he’s better suited for a run-producing slot in the middle of the order. Also, Murphy’s on-base percentage, at .332, isn’t as lofty as one might think.

If Murphy is still here – a substantial question – he should be hitting between second and sixth.

As for Young, there’s an excellent chance it will be a moot point and not be brought back.

Last winter, manager Terry Collins toyed with the idea of experimenting with Tejada. The catch here is Tejada needs a position to play and that means starting ahead of Wilmer Flores, which isn’t a given.

Mets’ 11 different leadoff hitters ranked last in the majors with a .235 average and paltry a .308 on-base percentage. If they want to change that, they’ll have to hope for a breakout season from the names suggested or be willing to spend.

14 thoughts on “Leadoff Hitter Remains A Nagging Question

  1. What about den Dekker? Ever since he stopped swinging for the fences he’s shown the offensive numbers to fit the bill. He was also the centerfielder of the future before a spring training 2013 injury opened the door for Lagares.

    • Bill: I like den Dekker, too. Yes, he improved. How good he could be depends on what kind of opportunity the Mets give him. He needs more than a week or two. They gave Lagares a chance. Why not den Dekker? I would rather have given him the at-bats Chris Young took.-JD

  2. Dyes. This is a big question.

    The bottom line is lack of talent and lack of hitters.

    I have been beating the drum for a few years now that we need to have hitters on the team and nit chase the bashes.

    Ruben can’t lead off. As you mention he may not start, more importantly he can’t hit.

    Juan would be a project at lead off. He needs to learn how to run and he needs to prove his 280 avg was not a fluke.

    One player you didn’t mention is den Dekker. He knows how to run but needs to prove he belongs. Can he hit at this level? He can certainly catch it.

  3. Gary Cohen, suggested to bring back Jose Reyes ? Still owed $60 mil. I think, so the money would be an issue. My question, is there any player who the Mets could go and get to fill that void ?

    • I also think we should bring back Reyes. SS & lead off, done.
      Personally, I think Jose has more left in the tank than David and getting Jose off the astro turf would help him.

      • Not a fan of Jose for the money.
        Not a fan of Dave for the money.

        I do know David doesn’t take plays off
        I do know Jose takes plays off.

        Both are hr happy which hurts Jose more.

      • Hawk: Getting Reyes off the turf would help, but there were too many breakdowns when he was here – and after he left – that makes him a gamble. Plus, the Mets don’t want to pay him what’s left on the contract. He’s not coming here.-JD

  4. I really like denDekker. He came on at the end of the year and deserves a good look as the MLB options are so poor in free agency. Making him the third guy, gives the Mets the best defensive outfield in the NL.

    • Tug: I like den Dekker, too. I would have rather the Mets given him 2014 to show what he can do instead of wasting their time with Chris Young.-JD