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Should Beltran Bat Second?

Mike SteffanosMonday, February 13, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

The regular Monday installment of Marty Noble's Mailbag is up on Mets.com. Noble obviously had a ton of mail regarding the batting order. Noble foresees a batting order that looks like the following:

  1. Jose Reyes (S)
  2. Paul Lo Duca (R)
  3. Carlos Beltran (S)
  4. Carlos Delgado(L)
  5. David Wright (R)
  6. Cliff Floyd (L)
  7. Xavier Nady or Victor Diaz (R)
  8. Kaz Matsui (S), Anderson Hernandez (S), Jeff Keppinger (R) or Chris Woodward (R)
  9. Pitcher

A lot of people objected to Lo Duca batting second and Beltran batting third. Some wondered how Lo Duca could bat so high in the order while Cliff batted sixth. I won't try to paraphrase Noble's long, thoughtful answer -- you should read it for yourself.

From my point of view, I think it's only a matter of time before David Wright bats third in the Mets lineup. His combination of batting average and power, and his above-average speed make him perfect for that role. The problem is, however, if you bat Wright third now and move Beltran to second, you're going to wind up with lefties Delgado and Floyd back to back. You hate to make it that easy for the opposing manager if you don't have to.

If you move Delgado to the third slot and bat Wright cleanup with Floyd fifth, you'll have the RF -- which seems almost certain to be Nady right now -- batting sixth. Against a RHP I'm not sure you want to go there with Nady, who hits for some power against righties but a low average. Or you bat Lo Duca sixth, but he offers little power behind Cliff Floyd.

The bottom line here is that I'm not sure Wright grabs the third spot this year. I believe Beltran gets one more shot there, and that's going to make some unhappy. A lot can happen between now and the start of the season; and things can change during the year, too. The plan for Paul Lo Duca includes a generous amount of days off, and we know that Ramon Castro will not back second. Expect Carlos Delgado and Cliff Floyd to receive rest days, too. I have a feeling there will be a difference between the lineup that the Mets use in April and the one they'll use (God willing) in October. Let's wait to see how things shake out a little before we really start arguing.

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