Monday, August 31, 2009

How Current Mets Fit Into 2010: Outfielders

Here is day 2 of the segment in which I talk about the future of the players currently on the Mets roster. Subject: Outfielders.

Carlos Beltran - I die a little inside every time the Mets announce that Beltran is still planning to come back this season. With his long history of knee problems, and the Mets 13 games under .500, there is no reason for Beltran not to rest and focus on getting healthy for spring training. He is not in a contract year and has nothing to prove. I hope someone finally gets the clue before it's too late. There is a lot of speculation that his bad knees will preclude a move to the corner outfield, but I believe Beltran will still be ranging the expanses of Citi next spring.

Gary Sheffield - Sheff has been a great comeback story this year, but I see no reason why he would be back in 2010. His power is diminishing and his outfield play is horrendous. I also get the sense that Sheff is not too happy with Jerry Manuel. I hope to see him finish his career on a high note, playing 4th OF and DH for an AL team.

Angel Pagan - Pagan has been nothing short of fantastic. His gap power and speed play perfectly in Citi field, as evidenced by his 7 triples. His fielding ability is average in CF, but he is a plus fielder in the corners (4.5 UZR/150 for his career combining all 3 positions). However, Pagan continues to have injury problems with 2 more DL trips this year. It's easy to see his talent, but he is not a very good baseball player. He makes some very questionable decisions on the basepaths. Pagan is an excellent 4th outfielder, and hopefully he will not be asked to be something more.

Fernando Martinez - F-Mart has some of the best tools of any young player in the league, but has yet to translate that to game situations. He definitely made some impressive plays in the field, but like a lot of young players who are rushed to the majors, he struggles with fundamentals. He also looked absolutely overmatched by major league pitching, and displayed little to none of the power he wows fans and coaches with in batting practice. If this was any team but the Mets, Martinez would start the year in AAA, and maybe even stay there for the duration. But of course this is the Mets we're talking about. I wouldn't be surprised to see him starting in RF next year.

Cory Sullivan - Sully is horrible. If he takes a roster spot away from Nick Evans next year, I just might scream. He'll probably sign a minor league contract somewhere, be it with the Mets or another organization.

Nick Evans - Speaking of Evans, he should definitely stick around. He actually should have been with the Mets for all or most of this season. As one of the few players in this system with power, he would make a nice platoon partner for a lefty 1B (Daniel Murphy?) and 5th OF. He mashes lefties. I'm not sure Evans will ever evolve into a starting caliber player, but he could be great in that role.

Jeremy Reed - I'm not sure if Reed is arbitration eligible this season, and to be honest, I'm still a little hazy on that whole process. From a purely statistical standpoint, Reed should hit the highway. He's a poor man's Endy Chavez. The Mets should have outfielders to make him pretty expendable.

Jeff Francouer - Saving the best for last. I'm not sure there has ever been a more controversial player since Sabermetrics became popular. His numbers look decent on the surface, and he is known for having one of the best outfield arms in baseball. He hustles, looks like he's having fun playing, and is a good locker room influence. But here's the catch: Francouer sucks. He has zero plate discipline and poor range in right field. His wOBA is a woeful .301. His career UZR/150 of 6.5 is entirely because of his arm. Unless he can magically rediscover the power he had in 2006 when he clubbed 29 homers (*cough* steroids), he is nearly worthless as a baseball player. With some speculating he could get $3-5 million in arbitration, there is not a single reason for the Mets to keep him. That said, I fully expect Frenchy to be starting in RF in 2010. Hooray for lowered expectations!

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