Whether the Mets’ starting first baseman in Monday’s opener against the Nationals is Ike Davis, Lucas Duda or Josh Satin is irrelevant — the team’s offense last season was atrocious, and there’s not much to suggest otherwise this year.
After finishing 29th in the league in batting average (.237) in 2013, the Mets replaced Marlon Byrd, who was traded late last season but hit .291, with Curtis Granderson, who has hit a combined .231 the past two seasons. The “Grandy Man,” 33, has every chance to become the next Jason Bay after inking a four-year, $60 million contract this offseason. The Mets also added Chris Young, a career .235 hitter, to the outfield.
In order to reach the 90 wins that general manager Sandy Alderson projects this season, David Wright will need to have a huge season and carry the offense. The captain hasn’t had a 30-home-run season since 2008 and hasn’t driven in 100 runs since 2010, but the potential is still there, health permitting.
The X factor in the Mets lineup is Travis d’Arnaud. The 25-year-old catcher hit just .202 with one home run and five RBIs in 31 games last season after being called up on Aug. 17. Ranked as the No. 6 prospect by MLB.com before last season, d’Arnaud now has to live up to those expectations. He has proved in the minor leagues that he can be a high-average hitter with some pop, but now he has to prove it at this level.
The rest of the Mets offense will offer no surprises this season. Second baseman Daniel Murphy is a consistently solid hitter who will provide a near-.300 batting average and a hit total approaching 200, but the team will get little production from its shortstop and third outfielder.
Shortstop Ruben Tejada, who hit .202 in 2013, isn’t likely to keep his job the entire season. As for the outfield, although Juan Lagares is a great defensive center fielder and Eric Young Jr. led the National League in steals with 46, neither of them can hit.
It looks like it will be another long season in Queens.