Every weekday I’ll post an updated power ranking for the Mets outfield. The theory is that the top three would be starters (or share a platoon) and the next two would likely make the roster. An additional five candidates round out the list. (And yes there are really 10 players who might have a shot of playing in the outfield)
1. Collin Cowgill (1)- Collin Hustle continues to impress. He’s got the edge in the leadoff spot, but not by much.
2. Jordany Valdespin (3)- Valdespin continues to pour it on. At the start of camp I thought he’d be sent down for seasoning. Now it looks like he might be an everyday outfielder. He hit a leadoff home run today (playing at second base mind you) so a spot on this roster is almost assured at this point.
3. Marlon Byrd (2)- Byrd’s cooled a little bit, but still looks like he’ll be a capable major league baseball player. He may end up platooning, but the Mets may give him a majority of the starts to begin the season to see what he’s still got left.
4. Lucas Duda (4)- The Duda abides at the four spot. Injuries and inability to hit seem to be fading as the preseason rolls on and Duda has closed the gap to the top three players. He’ll likely move up into the top three sooner rather than later.
5. Mike Baxter (5)- However, the drop-off to this spot is much wider. Baxter is one of the holdovers from last year’s sqaud who is having an abysmal spring in terms of hitting. He’s still enough of a defensive weapon that he should stay on the roster.
6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis (6)- If Matt Den Dekker had had a better weekend, I would have dropped Nieuwenhuis further. But Captain Kirk’s start of the 2012 season is still better than what MDD has shown in potential. However, it still might not be enough to keep Kirk in New York when the season starts.
7. Matt den Decker (7)- As always, the defense is there. He just looks like he needs more seasoning at AAA to get his swing together. It does have the potential, but it hasn’t actually translated consistently enough.
8. Andrew Brown (8)- Brown really needed to come out of the gates swinging and he hasn’t. He’ll likely be the last guy cut out of the outfielders in the bottom half of this list, but he’ll have to do something special.
9. Jaime Hoffman (9)- Hoffman has been given quite a few at bats to show he can be an major league outfielder and so far, has failed to impress. He likely won’t survive the first cut.
10. Justin Turner (-)- Turner’s going to make the roster, so he has a better chance at playing the outfield in the majors than most of the guys in the bottom half of this bracket.
Honorable mention- Cesar Pulleo, Juan Lagares. They’re both still too far away to make an impact. Sometimes a player we deem too far away makes a big jump in Spring Training, but niether of these players did. Didn’t someone say Zach Lutz was going to get some time in the outfield? I think with how well Byrd and Cowgill and Valdespin are playing, it’s just not important to transition Lutz or Turner out there as real solution. Since Turner will be on the opening day roster, they’ll probably still give him some training in the outfield, just in case.