Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New York Mets Offseason: Projecting the Starting Outfield

Alex Bouraad
Mets Menu Contributor

As you all may know, the New York Mets have an outfield predicament. While they may have young, up-and-coming talent by the names of Matt Den-Dekker and WIlmer Flores, fans are stuck looking at what the outfield should be on Opening Day 2013. 

While some other parts of Mets farm system are very promising, like the pitching prospects, the outfield has a long way to go. If the season started today, the starting outfield would most likely be Mike Baxter in LF, Kirk Nieuwenhuis in CF, and Lucas Duda in RF. 

Let's start with Mike Baxter. Mike Baxter or the hometown kid, will always be known as the man who saved Johan Santana's no-no. Baxter is definitely not the answer for a playoff contending team. While he is a solid fielder, his offense is just not good enough for a playoff contending team. In 89 games last year, he only hit for a .263 AVG with three home runs.

Next is Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Even though he has a crazy last name and his style of play is entertaining to watch, he should not be considered the solution in CF. He is just simply not fast enough and does not have a quick enough first step to patrol a solid center field. This brings up an interesting point, because of Nieuwenhuis deficiencies in the field, will this cause Sandy and Terry to fast track a young prospect by the name of Matt Den-Dekker to the majors in time for opening day?

I believe that this will happen. Matt Den-Dekker has been on the minds of Mets fans for years; a speedy but very steady fielder in center with some pop in his bat. Den Dekker's career fielding percentage is a whopping .988. This guy is the future center fielder of your New York Mets.

Finally, we move on to Lucas Duda. While Duda had a rather disappointing 2012 with the big club. including a visit to Buffalo, he could be a potential mainstay in one of the corner outfield spots. His power numbers have not yet translated to Major League level, with only 15 HRs last year, but I believe that Lucas Duda can and will be a consistent 30-40 HR hitter.

While we never know what lies in the future, I believe that your New York Mets Opening Day outfield will be:  Lucas Duda in RF, Matt Den-Dekker in CF and in LF will be Kirk Nieuwenhuis  to start the season.

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