While the Mets have until Sunday to set their official lineup, it seems to me that we know who will or will not make the starting lineup for the 2008 Mets.
Here are my projections for what the lineup might look like on opening day next week against the Florida Marlins.
1. Jose Reyes - SS
2. Luis Castillo - 2B
3. David Wright - 3B
4. Carlos Beltran - CF
5. Carlos Delgado - 1B
6. Ryan Church - RF
7. Angel Pagan- LF
8. Brian Schneider - C
9. Johan Santana - P
Of course the name that sticks out is Angel Pagan. The guy deserves a shot to play in Alou's absence. I've heard Moises Alou say that he plans on being back in April, but I would not bet on it.
Endy Chavez could be an option there and I actually think that he and Pagan will platoon for the first few weeks of the season.
To me the biggest question mark is Delgado in the 5 hole. Once you get to Delgado the Mets lineup strength looks like the second half of a bell curve, steep decline in power & plate presence. Church is a question mark, Pagan is a replacement, Schneider we don't expect much productivity from.
So Delgado is the linchpin for the lineup. If he can be successful, Beltran will see better pitches and pitchers will start walking Delgado to get to Church which hopefully puts multiple runners on base and pressuring the pitcher to get out of the inning.
I like our lineup today but it will be a whole lot better once Moises Alou returns to that 5 spot.