Sep 7, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares (12) can
3. New York Mets
The Mets land at number three on our list. They’ve got more talent than the Braves and Phillies, but they’ve also got a few age concerns with Curtis Granderson.
The fact that Granderson’s skill set is starting to slip isn’t a knock on him; it’s just a fact of life. Putting him in right just makes sense for the Mets. It keeps him healthy while still keeping him from devolving into a complete liability.
Granderson’s also still a viable offensive option. He has decent power numbers for a guy his size (he hit 20 HRs last year), and, in spite of the fact that his average has fallen, he’s managed to get on base consistently. He may not have the speed he once had, but Granderson is far from being thrown on the scrap heap.
The Mets’ biggest acquisition of the offseason is Michael Cuddyer, the former Twin and Rockie, who likely will be asked to be a key contributor to the Mets offense. The biggest question will be whether or not Cuddyer’s offensive production will transfer from the thin air of Coors Field to the less hitter-friendly confines of Citi Field. Cuddyer’s never been known for his defensive prowess, so if his bat doesn’t produce, the Mets may wind up with a big case of buyer’s remorse.
Juan Lagares is the Mets’ best outfielder. A solid blend of defensive range and offensive production, Lagares is estimated by FanGraphs for a 3.7 WAR in 2015. He’s the glue that will hold the outfield together.
There are some other options for the Mets in the outfield, like former Phillie John Mayberry and they may turn out to surprise some people. But for now, we’re slotting them third in the division.
Next: Number Two?