Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is It Time to Bat Carlos Beltran Second?

The Mets have a bunch of holes they need to fill to make a run to the playoffs. We all know we need a corner outfielder, some relief pitching, but one issue we also need to deal with is who's batting #2 in the order.

Luis Castillo, at one time, was the perfect #2 hitter in the lineup. I think we all realize those days are over. Argenis Reyes is a nice fit for a few games, but not a guy you want hitting there in a pennant race in September. Ryan Church started off the season in that spot, but has since been moved to more of a power position as a #5 hitter.

So I ask the question, is it time for Carlos Beltran to bat second? I think it might be.

Carlos Delgado has gotten new contacts, found the fountain youth, or finally bought Fred McGriff's intructional baseball tapes and turned his season around. He's actually batting cleanup now which is almost impossible to think about, but if his performance continues to remain strong he's a legitimate cleanup hitter.

We all know Reyes will leadoff, and we don't want to move David Wright from the 3 spot. Now Beltran has been batting 5th the last few games, but I think that's too far down in the order for him. Plus if the Mets pickup a corner outfielder and if Church returns to the lineup either of those options will probably bat 5th.

Beltran could be the perfect #2 hitter for the Mets. He's got power. He's got speed. Whether you like it or not, he can lay down a bunt. If Beltran is batting second, he's an experienced enough hitter to take some pitches to allow Reyes a chance to steal a base. He also draws a ton of walks. Not to mention he's a doubles machine which could allow for some early RBI chances if Reyes is on first base and has the ability to score from there.

Also, Beltran should see a lot more fastballs in that position, especially if Reyes is on base, and he won't be pitched around to get to David Wright. Plus it would give Beltran more opportunities to steal a base, which I think he doesn't do nearly as much as he should.

If memory serves correctly I believe Beltran batted second for the Astros in their playoff run a few years back when Beltran looked like Roy Hobbs from The Natural.

Beltran is not a guy who gets affected by being moved around in the lineup so I think it's worth testing out. I'm confident that his OBP and RBI numbers would see a spike if he moved up in the order. A first four lineup of Reyes, Beltran, Wright, and a hot Delgado is a pitcher's nightmare, and it gives the Mets a better chance to ge those much needed early runs.

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