Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bad Outfield? What Bad Outfield?

Mike Baxter and Lucas Duda were supposed to be part of a lousy Mets outfield.  Take that, non-believers!

Prior to the start of the season, the biggest weakness for the Mets was not in the bullpen, but in the outfield.  Lucas Duda was the only player assured of an everyday job in the outfield just one year after his inconsistent play in the field and at the plate got him demoted to the minors.

But less than two weeks into the season, the various outfielders jockeying for playing time have collectively surpassed the low expectations set for them.  Six players have played in the outfield for the Mets through the season's first 11 contests.  Of those six, all but Kirk Nieuwenhuis have played in at least eight games.  Below are those five players' hitting statistics in 2013:

  • Lucas Duda (10 games):  .276 average, .655 slugging percentage, 6 runs, 6 RBI, 5 XBH
  • Marlon Byrd (10 games):  .270 average, .432 slugging percentage, 5 runs, 7 RBI, 3 XBH
  • Mike Baxter (9 games):  .294 average, .455 on-base percentage, 5 runs
  • Jordany Valdespin (9 games):  .381 average, .458 on-base percentage, 6 runs, 2 SB
  • Collin Cowgill (8 games):  .407 slugging percentage, 4 runs, 6 RBI, 3 XBH

Collectively, the five main outfielders for the Mets have hit .263 with five doubles, two triples, six homers, 20 RBIs, 26 runs scored and three stolen bases through the team's first 11 games.  The fearsome fivesome has also combined to post a .368 on-base percentage and .466 slugging percentage during the Mets' 7-4 start.

There are no Upton brothers in the Mets outfield this season, nor is there a disgruntled Miami Marlin, but there might not need to be.  With the surprising production the team has gotten from Duda, Byrd, Baxter, Valdespin and Cowgill, the Mets have been doing just fine with their jigsaw puzzle outfield.

Perhaps the Mets will need to add a piece here or there to fix whatever problems they encounter during the season.  But as of right now, the outfield is not in need of repairs.  Who would have thought that just two weeks ago?

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