1) Nimmo cf
2) Lindor ss
3) Alonso DH
4) Baez 2B
5) McNeil lf
6) Bryant RF
7) Smith 1B/LF
8) McCann catcher
9) Baty 3B
clicking the player’s name above takes you to their baseball-reference page
Brandon Nimmo, CF
Nimmo really stepped up his play in 2021. If his slash line of .285/.417/.390 wasn’t impressive enough, he’s gotten on base in games half of time leading off the game. That’s value right there. Nimmo has also stepped up his game on defense (+4 DRS this season), making him one of the best centerfielders in baseball in 2021. I would like to see Nimmo being a little more aggressive in hitters counts, and up that slugging/OPS a bit. He certainly has the ability to hit the ball into both gaps.
2) Fransisco Lindor, shortstop
The New York Mets signed Lindor to a $341 million contract for 10 years, making him the face of the franchise for the next decade. He’s also displayed tremendous leadership and a team first attitude all season. Will 2022 be the year mets fans fall in love with Mr. Smiles?
3) Pete Alonso DH/1B
Alonso won the Homerun derby for the second straight time, marking him as one of the premier sluggers in the game. If the Polar Bear gets on base a bit more, he could turn into an MVP candidate. Mets need more Freedie Freeman and less Dave Kingman from their big first baseman
4) Dominic Smith 1B/LF
With the new CBA on the horizon, the DH should become a full time deal in the National League. A move back to 1B- Smith’s natural position- seems likely. Though Smith did hold his own in left in 2021
5) Kris Bryant 3B/RF
Kris Bryant has made sense for the Mets for 2-3 years now. Out of the free agents available, he looks like the best right handed hitter out there. This is something the Mets have needed for the last few seasons. Bryant could start the season at 3B, and move to the outfield if needed- say for example when the Mets feel Bret Baty is MLB ready.
6) Javier Baez 2B
Billionaire owner Steve Cohen finally puts his money where his mouth is, and he does it twice at 2B. For starters, he eats the remaining salary of Robinson Cano, and buys him out. With Cano gone, Cohen opens the wallet again and signs the free swinging Javi Baez.
7) Jeff McNeil
The free agent class of outfielders is not strong. I can see the Mets making a play for Nick Castellanos or Tommy Pham. Both also provide that veteran leadership the Mets desperately need. But there is always a place in the lineup for McNeil’s bat skills. His position flexible and his ability to hit anywhere in the lineup are are very valuable.
8) James McCann catcher
McCann signed a 4 year deal prior to the 2021 season. Mets top prospect Francisco Alvarez is young and still a couple of years away. If things go well for the Mets, Alverez is a September call up, and does well enough to split time with McCann during the 2023 season.
9) Brett Baty
Having a rookie at 3B gives the Mets financial freedom to sign players like Bryant and Baez, while giving them room to add pitching. He’s projected as a middle of the lineup, 30 home run hitter. Batting Baty 9th is a great way to introduce him to the big leagues. Signing Bryant is a great backup plan.
This of course means JD Davis is no longer with the Mets. They could look to trade him for either MLB pitching, or minor league depth.
Team chemistry was a big factor for the Mets for the last few season. They are a group that stands by each other. Bryant and Baez won a championship together in Chicago.
Baez is great friends with several Mets players. Adding these two former Cubs players could provide that winning leadership the Mets surely missed in 2021.
Stay tuned for part two when we go over the Mets pitching options