As the Mets' 2020 season comes more into focus, it's only natural to start thinking about how the everyday lineup will look under new manager Luis Rojas.
And that lineup intrigue starts right at the top.
Perhaps Jeff McNeil, who was in play for the NL batting title last season, is the perfect choice. SNY's John Harper recently spoke to scouts about whether or not McNeil will be an on-base machine again or whether he could see an uptick in power numbers.
Or maybe Brandon Nimmo is the right man for the Mets' leadoff spot. The left-handed hitting outfielder has started 106 games as the Mets' leadoff hitter over his career, by far the most time he's seen anywhere in the order. He also has a career OBP of .387, so even with a career average of just .254, he's still done a great job at getting on base over his first four years.
But when asked on Tuesday's Mets Hot Stove where he thinks he fits best in the starting nine, Nimmo said it doesn't make much of difference to him.
"I've hit leadoff a lot of my life and a lot of my pro career, so I do have some experience there from the past few years, but for me, I feel like I fit with that in my approach, that I'm going to see a few pitches and that I'm going to get on base, but honestly, I don't really care too much where I'm at in the lineup," said Nimmo. "We have a deep lineup. We don't really have any evident holes, so wherever I hit, I'm going to have the opportunity to drive people in or get in base for someone to drive me in."
Plate discipline is something that Nimmo believes came with him to the big leagues in 2016, but once pitchers starting adjusting to his patient approach, it was up to him to adjust again.
"I might have been a little more patient when I was coming in, and then in 2018 I got a little more aggressive on things, and then people starting pitching a little more tentatively around me at the end, and I had to learn again how to be selective," said Nimmo. "I honestly think it's a cat and mouse game …"
The Mets are certainly hoping that whoever their leadoff hitter is this season, whether it's Nimmo or McNeil or maybe even someone else, that they'll be able to set the table in front of the big bats like Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, and J.D. Davis.
The biggest key for Nimmo in 2020 figures to be his health. The 26-year-old played just 69 games last season due to a lingering neck issue.
But Nimmo said his health is in a good place, and he's looking forward to being on the field with his teammates in spring training.
"Everything's going well. My neck has been doing really well this offseason," said Nimmo. "I came down here partly because of that, so that I could work with the trainers and everything to make sure that I was ready to go for spring training. It feels very good. My body feels good. Obviously, it's just the first few days, but just going off of that, I'm already in a better position than I was last year. So, I'm very excited about what this year has to hold for us."
"My goal is to be ready for every game that they call my number, and I definitely can play 150 games and be a center fielder. But whenever they call my number, that's my goal this season, is to be available. So whether it's Jake or whether it's me, I don't care as long as we're winning. I'm going to try to be ready and playing centerfield, and that' where they have me at now and working, but I can definitely do that and I feel like I'm more than capable."