Will Mets Have One of Best Outfields in Baseball?
On the first day of spring training, Chris Young let the world know where the Mets stood in terms of their outfield — as quoted by Adam Rubin of ESPN-NY:
“I think we can be one of the best in baseball in the outfield,” the ex-Diamondback said. “You’re talking about guys with a lot of experience out there, a lot of speed, guys with good arms. Hopefully we can get on the good side of our pitchers, and hopefully they’ll love us out there.”
Young also made crystal-clear that his preferred position in the outfield is the center-most.
One thing about spring training is that it’s so full of optimism and hope. Everyone starts out February tied for first place. Fireballing young pitchers are poised to become the next Sandy Koufax. Strapping young hitters are about to win batting titles and homerun crowns. Managers talk about concentrating on “the little things,” such as baserunning and fundamentals. And fifth outfielders who suddenly become starters upon arrival for second-division clubs talk about being part of “one of the best outfields in baseball.” It happens every spring.
Oh, how I hate to be the realist in the room.
Of course, the Mets outfield won’t even be the best in New York, much less “baseball.” Though, it will definitely be “one of” the best outfields in New York — even if you count the ones in Syracuse and Buffalo. Though, the word “best” is subjective, and the phrase “one of” is vague. For all we know, Chris Young meant to say, “one of the best 20 outfields in baseball.”
I hope that’s what he meant, because taking a cursory glance at the outfields in MLB, there are quite a few that — on paper — look a lot more talented than the one expected to show up in Flushing.
Atlanta Braves: Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton, Justin Upton, Jordan Schaefer.
Yeah, B.J. was awful last year — but Chris Young wasn’t much better. So, cancel those two out, and we’re left with Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares vs. Jason Heyward and B.J.’s brother. Which pair would you prefer?
Philadelphia Phillies: Domonic Brown, Marlon Byrd, Ben Revere, John Mayberry, Jr.
OK, this one is close, though it gets tough if you’re one of those Mets fans who thought Byrd was the bomb and will have another career year in 2014.
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton, Chris Yelich, Ben Bogusevic, Marcell Ozuna, Jake Marisnick.
Another close one, if only because we don’t know if 2014 will be the year that young phenoms Yelich, Marisnick, and Ozuna break out. Though, I’ll take Stanton by himself standing in center field over any three guys the Mets can put out there.
That’s just the NL East. How about we take a look at a handful of clubs outside the division …
Cardinals: Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Peter Bourjos, Oscar Taveras.
Bourjos is the weak link. Taveras might not make the big club out of spring training. Still, Craig and Holliday are pretty decent ballplayers.
Rockies: Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer, Drew Stubbs, Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon.
Well, the Rox have a question mark in LF, but Dickerson hit .371 in AAA last year — not too shabby. Stubbs or Blackmon is the backup plan. Even if the Mets’ left fielder(s) is better, there is the matter of matching up to CarGo and Cuddyer.
Brewers: Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Khris Davis, Logan Schafer.
Again, there’s one spot where you might argue the Mets have a better player. And maybe Braun won’t hit so well without PEDs. In which case, maybe the Mets outfield will be better.
Padres: Carlos Quentin, Will Venable, Cameron Maybin, Seth Smith.
Finally! An outfield with more questions than the Mets. Quentin and Maybin have to be healthy, and if they are, chances are good that the Mets’ outfield won’t match up.
I’m not even going to delve into the Adulterated League because this discussion will get more ridiculous. It’s nice that Chris Young is feeling good about his club and his teammates, but there’s a point where one should filter thoughts before they cross the lips, lest they become the butt of a joke.
Maybe I’m wrong — maybe the Mets really could have “one of the best outfields in baseball,” whatever that means. Give me the brutal truth in the comments.