Here’s a day-to-day power ranking for our Mets outfield candidates. Theoretically the top three would start, but that might not work out quite right position wise.
1. Collin Cowgill – So this trade is starting to look a little better. It’s looking more and more like Cowgill might be the quality of a third starting outfielder on most teams. On this team he’s our best option, but for most teams he’d be a quality starter.
2. Marlon Byrd – And this scrap heap signing looks like it may also turn into something decent. Byrd looks like Cowgill. A solid third outfielder for a good team. However, that still is one slot lower than where I’ve put him here. And who knows where this goes over the long haul.
3. Jordany Valdespin – I was hesitant at first to list him here, as you’ll see soon in my POS series. While third means he’d probably start. I have Valdespin being a bench player. He’d get more starts than most bench players, but he wouldn’t be handed a starting job at one position.
4. Lucas Duda – He’s looked rough so far this spring, so the funk at the end of last year, may not be in the past. Still he’s got the most upside of any other outfielder. So I figure they’ll let him try to work out the funk before tossing him aside.
5. Mike Baxter – Baxter was solid last year, but it looks like he’ll fall to where he projects. A fourth or fifth outfielder. If we continue to have players perform better than expected he may be out of a job.
6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis – Injuries have kept him from proving that the end of last year, and not the beginning, was the fluke. So far in a scant few at bats he’s looked terrible. There still time to rebound, but if camp broke today, I wouldn’t take him on the roster.
7. Matt Den Dekker – In fact, MDD, as he’s affectionately called, might stand a better chance of making the roster than Nieuwenhuis at this point. Kirk has the edge over MDD only because he’s got some major league time and has shown some success. Otherwise I’d say they’re in a dead heat for a final cut.
8. Andrew Brown – Byrd has just about eliminated Brown’s chances of making the roster. I thought Brown might muscle his way in before Byrd was thrown in the mix, but there’s just not a place for him. If Brown starts ripping home runs every other at bat he’ll move up this ranking. Otherwise, Las Vegas baby.
9. Jamie Hoffman – This list is 10 players long cause that’s a nice round number. If you appear here, you’re barely a starter at AAA, much less for the Mets, and that’s saying something. I heard something about Terry Collins or someone liking Hoffman, but that’s probably changed by now.
10. Jaun Lagares – He’s here because Cesar Puello has that whole PED thing going on, so Lagares at least has a clearer head in spring training. Otherwise, niether is going to last until final cuts this spring.
Honorable mention- Puello, Justin Turner. Turner got his first playing time in the outfield. To call him an outfielder would be wrong. He’ll likely never be a starter, however, he carries a bat that’s good enough that he could steal time out there at some point, maybe even evolving into a platoon player.