Our 2021 New York Mets opening lineup

George Springer (R) CF
Jeff McNeil (L) 2B

Marcell Ozuna (r) LF
Robinson Cano (L) DH
Pete Alonso (R) 1B
Michael Conforto (L) RF
JD Davis (R) 3B
Catcher???
Andres Gimenez (L) SS

George Springer – center field (2021- age 31 season)

Spring had another solid season (.265/.359/.540; OPS .899, OPS+ 140) for the Houston Astros in 2021. The Mets should sign the University of Connecticut grad to both fill their much needed hole in center and as a solid right handed bat.

2020 NY Mets team splits

Verse right hand pitching:

.280/.350/.475 OPS .824

Verse left hand pitching

.253/.341/.420 OPS .761

Right hand batters verse left hand pitchers:

.250/.334/.416 OPS .750

As one of the top free agents, Springer should command a deal between 3 to 5 years. For Steven Cohen’s New York Mets, this isn’t a problem though. We can see Springer manning center for the 2021 season, then shifting to right field for 2022 if Micheal Conforto leaves for free agency. 

Jeff McNeil – 2B/LF
(2021- age 29 season)

Jeff McNeil’s legend continues to grow. His (.311/.383/.454 and OPS .836) 2020 season started slow but he finished strong. We expect McNeil to start at second base, but he should see action in left field as well.

Marcell Ozuna – Left Field 
(2021 age 30 season)

Marcel Ozuna gives the Mets another ligament right handed bat in the outfield. His .338/.431/.636 and OPS 1.067, OPS+ 175 for 2020 should put him in the NL MVP discussion.

Related: The New York Mets homegrown roster for 2020

Robinson Cano – DH/2B
(2021 age 38 season)

Cano’s strong finish in 2019 carried over into 2020. Cano had solid numbers (.316/.352/.545, OPS .896; OPS+ 144) over all, and it looks like he still is a threat at the plate. The Mets could easily flip Cano and Conforto in this lineup.

Pete Alonso – first base 
(2021 age 26 season)

The sophomore slump hit Alonso hard in the shortened 2020 mlb season. His .817 OPS along with his 16 homeruns are all encouraging signs. We expect a strong 2021 season from the rookie homerun champ.

Michael Conforto – Right field 
(2021 age 28 season)

Conforto had a stellar 2020 season (.321/.412/.515; OPS .927; OPS+ 156). 2021 is also the last season of team control for Conforto. So we could see even more of a boost in his play, as he heads into free agency. Look for George Springer to replace Conforto in right in 2022.

JD Davis – third base
(2021 age 28 season)

After a surprising good (.3017/.369/.527; OPS .895; OPS+ 137) first year with the Mets, JD Davis was a bit of a disappointment in 2020. His numbers against lefties (.239/.378/.403, OPS .781) is quite concerning. He also struggled on defense this season. 

JD Davis needs to pick it up for the 2021 season if the Mets are going to be successful. Many fans are already calling for the Mets to trade for Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies. 

Batting 8th in our fantasy lineup is the catcher. There’s a lot to talk about here, so we will come back to this here. We know many fans want JT Realmuto. He’s the top free agent, and the Phillies won’t let him go easily. Realmuto is also entering his age 30 season, and catchers typically don’t age well. 

This is an area that needs its own article.

Andres Gimenez– short stop (2021 age 22 season)

Gimenez had a fine rookie season (.263/.333/.398 OPS .732 OPS+ 102) and has unseated Amed Rosario as the Mets starting short stop. 

Gimenez wasn’t really expected to play much (or at all this season). But when Rosario struggled again to start the season, Gimenez stepped in and immediately looked like he belonged. The position is his to start 2021.

Notable players not in the lineup:

Brandon Nimmo– outfield 
(2021 age 28 season)

Brandon Nimmo (and his career .390 OBP and career 133 wRC+) is a valuable asset. His defense is a bit suspect in center. 

I can see the Mets entertaining trade offers for him this offseason. He has 2 years left of club control, which could make him a valuable asset. It would have to be a significant offer though.

We still see Nimmo getting significant playing time, both in LF and CF. He could return to CF full time in 2021, if Conforto leaves for free agency.

Amed Rosario – short stop
(2021 age 25 season)

Amed Rosario is young, athletic, has three year of team control, and a lot of potential. This are all reasons why a team will trade for him right now. These are also things where the value gets less, the longer the Mets wait.

The time to trade Amed Rosario is now.

Certainly, no one is trading for what he is currently doing on the field. He still looks over matched at times by big league pitching. His baseball instincts and his range at short stop are almost nonexistent. The Mets also have Gimenez, Mauricio and Newton all at various levels of the minor league system. 

Dominic Smith – first base; outfield (2021 age 26 season)

In the short 2020 season, Dom Smith was the best offensive player on the New York Mets. He is a man without a position though, and the Mets could get a substantial return on him via a trade. Pete Alonso has first base cover, and the Mets don’t need another left hand hitting, poor defender in the outfield.

Related:More Mets mismanagement: The case of Amed Rosario and Dom Smith

The trade proposal is more due to roster construction, than it is not wanting Smith on the team. The team will just fit better, without having to move players around, just to accommodate Smith. 

The New York Mets have done a great job of growing their core of position players. Now that Steve Cohen- and his money- are a part of the Mets, watch for them the be very active this offseason. 

Here’s to an Amazin’ 2021!!
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