Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is Luis Castillo the Key to the Mets Lineup?

We know what to expect from Reyes, Wright & Beltran. If they don't produce, the team is in a world of hurt. We even know what to expect, for the most part, from Carlos Delgado. If he doesn't produce...again, world of hurt.

So who is the key to the Mets lineup in order for them to get over the proverbial "hump?" Sadly, it might be Luis Castillo.

I've heard some say Ryan Church, which is a decent argument. If he continues to hit well and we see the same type of produciton we saw last April/May last this entire season, Church gives you a nice RBI bat in the middle of the lineup to compliment Delgado.

I don't think the key is Church because we've got a potentially adequate bat behind him in Gary Sheffield. If Church doesn't produce, Sheffield may very well step in and improve on Church's production.

I don't think it's Daniel Murphy because he's a young player sandwiched between Reyes & Wright. He's not the key when you have two MVP candidates acting as bookends for him in the batting order.

Here's why I think it might be Luis Castillo. Castillo bats 8th (as he should), but the bottom of the Mets lineup is painful. If Church struggles you potentially have automatic outs in the 6-9 spots in the order. Even if Church is on his game Schneider, Castillo and the pitcher's spot are as easy an out as you'll find in the NL East.

But if Castillo can get going, it could lead to more run production and the ability of the Mets to turn over the lineup more often so their big bats can get more chances for production. If Castillo shows he can start to get on base and draw walks, I'd even move him to the 9 spot. Pull a little Tony LaRussa.

If Castillo proves to be the same guy as last year the Mets have some serious decisions to make. The bottom of the order is abominable. Do you move Murphy down there just to break it up a bit? Do you cut ties with Castillo and bring up a minor leaguer?

So many questions, very little answers at this point in the season. I'm willing to give Castillo until May to start to show me some rays of hope that he might be an asset to the ballclub. If not, we're looking at 3 guaranteed outs at the bottom of the order.

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