Mets Outfield Depth Is Troubling

Right now, the Mets starting outfield is likely Michael ConfortoJuan LagaresBrandon Nimmo. Now, there is every reason to believe that could be a good outfield. Nimmo was the second best hitter in the National League last year, and Conforto returned to his All-Star form at the close of the season. There are reasons to question Lagares’ bat, but when he plays, he is a Gold Glove outfielder.

The Mets have every reason to believe that when they play this trio they are putting a winning team on the field. Their problem is what happens when they don’t play.

Right now, the first man up is Keon Broxton. Over the last two years, Broxton has hit .213/.296/.419 with an 85 OPS+ over the past two years. While he did post excellent 11 DRS in just 134.1 innings last year, he was a -7 DRS in his only full season in center. He does have elite speed, which suggests he can be a plus defender next year, but there is nothing to suggest he can hit at all.

The Mets are also betting on Jeff McNeil in the outfield. Considering his sprint speed and his baseball IQ, there is every reason to believe he can play out there. However, there is a question about whether he can hit like he did last year. Lost in his excellent numbers was the fact McNeil had a 5.6 percent walk rate and a .359 BABIP. Those types of numbers are only sustainable if your name is Ichiro Suzuki.

Now, it should be noted it is perfectly reasonable to expect McNeil to be a quality Major League bench player, and he has shown you can trust him to play long stretches of time. If he is pressed into duty, the Mets and Mets fans should feel comfortable. However, what should bother everyone is the complete lack of depth behind him.

Rajai Davis and Gregor Blanco have not been good Major League players since 2015. The other options include Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis.

With respect to him, the reason why you play him in the outfield is because he has a strong arm, and there really isn’t room for him in the infield. However, it is not a long term or even a short term solution as he is slow footed making his play out there a bad idea. For Mets fans, you may assume this refers to Smith because of what you saw with him last year. It is, but the same statements also apply to Davis.

As for Davis, it should also be noted he has hit .190/.260/.321 in 444 Major League plate appearances. It should be noted that is worse than the .210/.259/.406 in 332 Major League plate appearances which has caused Mets fans to become frustrated with and sour on Smith. Put another way, if you don’t believe in Smith, you should not be believing in Davis, at least not as an outfielder.

After this group, you have to actually consider Tim Tebow. Sadly, that’s not a joke.  Well, it is a joke, but only to the extent where the Mets could actually be in a position to be forced to consider him.

When you are discussing players like Byrd and Blanco, and when Tebow even enters the discussion, it is clear the Mets outfield depth is completely lacking. Sure, we can believe in McNeil while liking Broxton’s defense, but in the end, the Mets don’t have enough depth across the outfield.

This all needs to be considered when Brodie Van Wagenen says the outfield isn’t a priority. When actually analyzing the options, you see just how wrong he is, and it’s another reason why the Mets need to puruse Bryce Harper or even A.J. Pollock. At this point, the Mets should also be looking at Adam Jones, Joc Pederson, or Ben Zobrist.

Really, just anything because what’s in place is not going to cut it.

21 thoughts on “Mets Outfield Depth Is Troubling”

  1. LongTimeFan1 says:

    MetsDaddy. The outfield depth isn’t all that troubling. You might not like who comprises it, but there’s plenty options.

    It seems to me you have an agenda which leads you to over exaggerate and over dramatize..

    And clearly, in light of our previous disagreement over JD Davis vs. Wilmer Flores you make a point of slamming him in this article relying on your concocted comparison to the overweight Dominic Smith which you also previously did. This time though you went for the dramatic build up.

    Moreover, you claim Davis is too slow for the outfield, yet you recommend the Mets should consider trading for Joc Pederson or Ben Zobrist. Or signing Adam Jones.

    You also falsely/erroneously claim that Davis has 444 big league appearances instead of his actual 181.

    Quote: As for Davis, it should also be noted he has hit .190/.260/.321 in 444 Major League plate appearances.”

    Not only do you bash Davis whose put up really good minor league stats, you also bash McNeil just for the sake of doing so claiming it’s bad because McNeil isn’t likely to hit like he did last season unless he’s Ichiro. So you’re saying if McNeil hits .310 instead of .329, with an OBP of .370 instead of .381, that’s bad?

    Furthermore, you claim that Marlon Byrd is back with the Mets.

    Quote: “Marlon Byrd and Gregor Blanco have not been good Major League players since 2015.” And “When you are discussing players like Byrd and Blanco.”

    You suggest signing the injury prone AJ Pollack – which BTW, won’t resolve the depth problem you cite unless you expect the Mets to carry 6 outfielders on the 25 with a 4 or 5-man bench or that the Mets can trade Lagares for major league ready outfield prospects.

    You omit the additions of Rymer Liriano, a former consensus Top 100 Prospect who has spring training invite.

    You omit that Cespedes might return this season.

    You omit that TJ Rivera and Dilson Herrera can also be used in an outfield corner in an emergency or in utility role So too Dario Pizzano.

    You over-exaggerate the importance of Tim Tebow.. His defense is so horrible, he’s unlikely to get a meaningful call up replacing someone on the 25 before every other option is exhausted – which is highly unlikely. But, in the event that the Mets outfield is devastated by injury, the Mets can make a trade during the season or sign free agent.

    Lastly, BVW may not be done adding players. Yesterday, Callaway hinted more may be on the way.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      If you’re arguing Liriano, Rivera, and Herrera, you’ve conceded the point.

  2. Bob says:

    Broxton was a 20-20 guy in just over 400 AB in 2017. That is 30-30 over a full season. Not many players put up 30-30 seasons

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Broxton did go 20/20 with a terrible .299 OBP. You cannot play with a sub .300 OBP. It’s a nonstarter.

  3. Gothamist says:

    Great topic…..

    I know of the drop offs, the lack of a bat against lefties but I thought a one year deal with Markakis was very tempting. I hated playing against him.
    He even might have turned down the Mets. Well, that is my wishful thinking that they agreeed with me and pursued him. I saw no one else mention Markakis.

    Do you really ask McNeil to become an instant outfielder?

    Well, signing Pollack and having a trade in mind for McNeil all along was not the plan.
    The writing was on the wall in LA with the trade with the Reds and Pederson out their for the taking.

    If POLLACK ACCEPTED FOUR YEARS — I would be disappointed that he was not here yet with these injuries in long term deals: Wright, Cespesdes, Lagares even four years for fragile Pollack was a no for the Wilpons.

    The first stat I look at for an outfielder are assists.
    Would you want Jay Bruce throwing home in the World Series?
    We did not want Duda throwing home nor Murph sprinting in for a grounder against KC in 2016.
    Now that the infield bats has added a year older Rosario, Cano and Lowrie, then add Ramos I would drool if I knew Juanny would go injury free in 2019.
    Sure, Dom’s .210 does not leave me elated if that projects for a full timer yet who wins a WS with cumulative outfield assists way below average?
    In fact, as a GM in a rebuild I would not only preach defense as I would hope to draft great position players but I would acquire as many great arms for the outfield as possible and that is the one tool I had great difficulty giving up in Kelenic deal.

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