Mets 2021 Optimal Lineup
As fans, we are always so critical of the manger about the lineup. Of course, we know managers don’t really set the lineup anymore, and more to the point, there are just so many moving pieces when setting a lineup. While overlooked, there really is a human element at play, which fans are never quite aware.
When it comes to the Mets, there are so many different options on how to set this lineup. For starters, there are four elite lead-off hitters. There are seven middle of the lineup caliber bats. Luis Rojas and the Mets front office have to balance egos as well as how to get the most out of all of their hitters. Taking all of that into account, the 2021 Mets lineup should be:, 3B
- Jeff McNeil, 3B
- Brandon Nimmo, CF
- Francisco Lindor, SS
- Michael Conforto, RF
- Pete Alonso, 1B
- Dominic Smith, LF
- James McCann, C
- Luis Guillorme, 2B
The caveat here is this is obviously not going to be the lineup. After all, early indications from Spring Training are Nimmo will hit lead-off, and the Mets are going to give J.D. Davis the bulk of the playing time at third despite his being incapable of playing the position.
The reason to bat McNeil lead-off is two-fold. First and foremost, McNeil is at his best batting lead-off. As previously detailed, McNeil is an aggressive hitter at the plate, and he is terrific hitting fastballs. Notably, pitchers throw a fastball to start the game over 99% of the time. That gives McNeil an advantage, and it allows him to get an ideal pitch to swing and put in play. Worst case, pitchers adapt, throw something else, and then fall out of rhythm.
That gives Nimmo the opportunity to be a second lead-off hitter. After the pitcher had to deal with McNeil jumping all over him, Nimmo can then work the deep counts he always does. As an aside, a healthy Nimmo is the Mets best hitter, and at least statistically, a team’s best hitter should bat second in the lineup.
What’s interesting is while your best hitter should bat second, your second best hitter should bat fourth. Some of this is counter-intuitive because we’ve done baseball a certain way for more than a century. Keeping that in mind, the Mets second best hitter is arguably Conforto.
wRC+ since 2017
Smith 116 https://t.co/KIyBzWH9it
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) February 21, 2021
Conforto has the longer and better track record. Like Nimmo and Lindor, he’s also shown the ability to hit without the juiced ball. That’s not an indictment of the younger hitters who have only played with the juiced ball. It’s just a fact.
That means Conforto should bat cleanup. Who should bat third is an interesting debate. Given his stature as a superstar and his being a switch hitter, Lindor slots in well here.
Batting Lindor third, also allows the Mets to begin the L-R alternating through the bottom of the lineup. That gives the Mets the most lethal 5-6 hitters in all of baseball and gives them the deepest lineup in all of baseball.
That leads us to Guillorme eighth. Fact is, he’s Gold Glove caliber at second. With the ground ball heavy pitching staff the Mets have, he definitively needs to be in the lineup over Davis. It should also be noted Guillorme has been improving significantly offensively while Davis is a ground ball machine.
Of course, certain players may feel better or more comfortable in different spots. The Mets may also want to change it up when there is a left-handed pitcher on the mound. That said, at least on paper, this is the optimal Mets lineup.