New York Mets 2019 Season Preview: Outfield

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The Mets offseason was centered around adding depth. They picked up a ton of infield versatility, and made some moves for outfield pieces. They currently have Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo locked into two of the three spots. At the moment, Jeff McNeil appears to be the favorite for the final spot, with Juan Lagares and Keon Broxton on the outside looking in. This is definitely something to keep an eye on in camp this year, but for now, let’s take a look at some of the storylines around the Mets outfield in 2019.

The Dynamic Duo

As mentioned above, two outfield spots are already locked up by Conforto and Nimmo. The young sluggers enjoyed solid seasons last year, and are vital pieces to the Mets offense.

Nimmo is a phenomenal table setter atop the Mets lineup. He not only has excellent plate discipline, but he also showed a bit of a power stroke last year. He hit 17 home runs and 28 doubles, and posted a .404 on-base percentage and 150 OPS+ last season. The Happiest Man in Baseball will continue to serve as the spark plug of this Mets offense.

Conforto struggles early on last season, but finally showed his true colors towards the end of the year. He finished with 25 doubles and 28 home runs, both of which were career highs. The slugger is determined to bounce back, and show the second half wasn’t a fluke. This will be the year he goes back to establishing himself as one of the top young outfielders in the game.

The McNeil Experiment

This offseason the Mets added a ton of infielders. As a result this spring, the Mets will be moving utility man Jeff McNeil to the outfield. He will receive reps in both of the corner spots, but mainly left.

McNeil didn’t have much experience in the outfield in the minors, but he did spend some time there back in college. He certainly has the drive and skill set to handle the switch. Though it will definitely be something to watch in camp.

Upon receiving the call to the big leagues, McNeil hit .329/.381/.471 with eleven doubles, six triples, three home runs, seven stolen bases, and 19 RBI’s in 63 games. According to Statcast, his contact percentage was nearly eight percentage points above league-average.

The Mets need to do whatever they can to get his bat into the lineup as much as possible. Much like Nimmo, McNeil is a table setter. When he was called up last season, the Mets offense improved drastically. This team needs his contact first approach element in the lineup.

Keon Broxton Breakthrough

One of the interesting moves the Mets made this offseason was acquiring outfielder Keon Broxton from the Brewers. Broxton is a young defensive center fielder win a ton of speed.

Though Broxton hasn’t received much of a chance at the big League level, the biggest knock in his game is his offensive abilities. Broxton has a ton of pop, but tends to swing and miss a lot. In fact, he has struck out at a clip of 37 percent during his big league career.

I think that Broxton could be a nice little piece for the Mets if he makes some adjustments at the plate. He could play his way into a spot in the outfield rotation against left handed pitching. For his career against southpaws, Broxton has a 116 OPS+ and .790 OPS.

The upside is certainly there, he just needs to cut down the punch outs. No matter what, Broxton is certainly going to be a fun player to watch in the Big Apple.

Last Word

The Mets outfield is rather interesting. The potential is certainly there, though some would argue they are a piece away. I would like to see them go after a cheap veteran piece like outfielder and former Van Wagenen client Adam Jones.

Although, an outfield of McNeil, Conforto, Nimmo could certainly be very fun to watch. Both Lagares and Broxton are also Gold Glove caliber center fielders. Due to this, I think the Mets outfield is going to be much improved defensively this season. This will help out the pitchers a ton this season.

Let’s also not forget that Yoenis Cespedes could potentially be added to this mix at some point this season.

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