July 21, 2024

Who gets more playing time, and who should spend less time between the lines?

The 2024 New York Mets have a history of employing their full roster. It’s not such a bad idea. Not everyone can be the Atlanta Braves, whose players are almost always available. We may be seeing the consequences of that as players on their roster deal with injuries and season-long slumps.

The Mets play better as a team when platoons are used or starters have off days. It has helped keep numerous injury-prone athletes healthy, and it may even have contributed to some players’ increased production.

In either event, the Mets have proved that they are willing to deploy every player if necessary. Based on previous performances, we can identify one player who deserves more time on the field, another who should play less, and a third who the team should consider demoting.

The Mets don’t need to sit Harrison Bader as much as they do

Mets' turnaround from 0-5 start coincides with Bader's emergence from  season-opening slump | AP News

 

Despite being the Mets’ starting center fielder, Harrison Bader frequently finds himself on the bench. It is understood why. The Mets should proceed with caution given his history of injuries.

However, in recent weeks, the remaining outfielders have failed to earn a spot in the starting lineup. It may even be argued that Bader would benefit from more regular at-bats. It cannot be easy to become hot and then sit the next day.

Tyrone Taylor is proven to be no more than a backup outfielder. While he is excellent for what he has to give, there are only a few situations in which he should be preferred over Bader. Both batters are right-handed, so there isn’t much of a platoon to consider.

Bader has been one of the team’s most consistent hitters, batting.271 on the season. Despite being regarded as a player who hits lefties better than righties, he has a.300 hitting average in 140 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers compared to.224 against southpaws.

As a Baderhater turned Baderliever, this guy deserves every opportunity to patrol center field for the Mets. He only needs one day off per week to be fresh.

The Mets should sit Jeff McNeil more regularly in favor of Jose Iglesias

Mets News: Mets sign Jeff McNeil to four-year extension - Amazin' Avenue

 

Jeff McNeil received the message. When the Mets called up Jose Iglesias and started him against a slew of lefty starters, it was evident they had run out of patience with the longtime second baseman and 2022 National League hitting champion. Unfortunately, even with righties on the mound, McNeil’s offense continues to be a nightmare.

A rigorous platoon may not be necessary, but it is difficult to ignore how well Iglesias has performed for the Mets in his limited opportunities. If the Mets are serious about winning, resting McNeil against left-handed starting pitchers seems like a requirement. The crunch time has arrived. Feelings will have to be harmed.

A hitless day in Tuesday’s come-from-behind triumph, with Iglesias pinch hitting for him (and drawing a walk in his plate appearance), indicated that McNeil’s days of being replaced in the lineup are far from gone. Iglesias’ playing time has decreased since his initial few days with the squad, in part due to the right-handed pitchers they’ve faced. McNeil’s hitting average has dipped to.220, and it is not due to the pitcher’s handedness.

Days off for McNeil with a righty on the mound could become increasingly common. His backup’s batting average is nearly twice as good.

The Mets should consider DJ Stewart alternatives

DJ Stewart proving his worth with Mets after struggling as a former  first-round pick – New York Daily News

 

DJ Stewart doesn’t shine as brilliantly anymore. Stewart has little use now that J.D. Martinez has taken over as the primary DH. Notably, he’s a good fit in right field once a week to relieve Starling Marte’s legs.

Stewart was extremely valuable during the period when the Mets were missing Francisco Alvarez. Alvarez’s return eliminated one more logical option for the team to ask Stewart for huge hits, since he could pinch bat for any of the three catchers they used during that gloomy era. Instead, he’ll sit on the bench and wait for his few opportunities to start. How much will this damage his game?

After going from New York to Texas, Carlos Mendoza selected Stewart to face the defending champions on Monday. He launched his sixth home run of the season on a night that proved to be a game-changer for anyone who stepped up to the bat. Still, it shouldn’t improve the Mets’ perception of Stewart, whose limitations should prompt them to investigate other minor league alternatives.

Stewart, like Iglesias, received a pinch-hitting opportunity in Tuesday’s game but was later pinch hit for. He is a far more helpful variant than Daniel Vogelbach since he can play the field. However, batting averages below the Mendoza Line are difficult to justify. There is no rush to replace Stewart because of his value as a superior left-handed hitter. The Mets should be cautious when evaluating alternatives, especially if the player provides something radically different.

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