It’s no surprise that the Mets biggest signing, and perhaps the biggest signing of the MLB offseason, was that of Yoenis Cespedes.
Cespedes gives the Mets a bat to be feared in the middle of the lineup, something that they desperately needed to capitalize on the potentially historically talented and young rotation they possess.
Since the Mets brought up prospect Michael Conforto during last season, he will be playing a majority of his time in left, even with the presence of gold glover Cespedes.
This means that Cespedes will get a large percentage of his playing time in center field, a position that he clearly isn’t as adept at as left field. With this in mind, the Mets would be smart to ease Conforto in against lefties, a continuation of the plan Terry put in place last season. Conforto should get more at bats against lefties than last season, when it was a given that he would sit against a southpaw.
However, resting Conforto against half the lefties the Mets face would open things up to the Mets moving Cespedes into his natural left field position and letting Juan Lagares cover ¾ of the earth in center. This would keep the bats of Yoenis and Curtis Granderson in the lineup while maximizing the outfield defense. And at the same time, it would allow Conforto ample time to grow into the heart-of-the-order bat the Mets envision him becoming down the road.
If the Mets decide to hold on to Alejandro De Aza, he and Lagares will provide the Mets with a very deep outfield bench, with no shortage of possible alignments.
This begs the question of where the Mets outfield ranks among the NL’s best.
Turns out, it’s pretty high up there. Looking at defensive runs saved above average, the Mets outfield ranks second only to the Arizona Diamondbacks. If you look at fielding percentage, they rank only behind St. Louis, Chicago, and the Atlanta Braves.
With a full season of Cespedes and Conforto, paired with the ability of the Mets starters to allow weak contact, look for the outfield defense to improve this season.
Overall, the Mets outfield is very deep and very talented.