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New York Mets: Who should be the left fielder when play resumes, Cespedes or Davis?

Because of concerns regarding the coronavirus and its impact on the society, MLB took a similar approach to that of MLS, NBA, NHL, NCAA, and lots of top soccer leagues around the world and suspended its operations for the time being. Major League Baseball won’t play any official games until, at least, late May, and June (and even July) are more likely scenarios. That’s why the New York Mets won’t be on the field today on what would have been opening day.

It’s clear that, when play resumes, the Mets would need to figure out some roster-related scenarios and situations. Yes, they lost Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery and the pitching side of things got a little trickier after that news, at least the starting rotation. However, the teams looks loaded offensively.

Loaded in every sense of the word: quality and quantity. Each position is well-covered by a quality offensive option. Wilson Ramos will be the New York Mets’ starting catcher, and word is that he worked to add more loft to his swing during the offseason. Pete Alonso will occupy first base, and he is fresh off knocking 53 balls out of the park in 2019.

Robinson Cano and Amed Rosario will start at second base and shortstop, respectively. One is a veteran and the other one an ascending young player, but they have something in common: their 2019 stat lines left something to be desired. We know that both can be better this time around.

The Mets have lots of moving parts

Jeff McNeil will take most reps at third base, and Jed Lowrie should (although it’s not a given) be healthy come June or July. Michael Conforto had a lat strain a few weeks ago but should be ready to return to right field duties when play starts, whenever that is. Brandon Nimmo and Jake Marisnick will share center field.

The Mets, however, have a couple of options in left field. Yoenis Cespedes and J.D. Davis are both deserving of regular playing time if they are both healthy. If that’s the case – and the extra time off is extremely beneficial to Cespedes, as he has several more weeks to get himself in top shape after multiple heel and ankle surgeries – who should accumulate the majority of at-bats there?

Davis broke out in a big way last season. He had a 136 wRC+ and batted .307/.369/.527 with 22 home runs. He carried the New York Mets for a spell, and his potent bat outweights his lousy defense.

Cespedes, meanwhile, hasn’t played since July 2018, but when healthy, he is one of the league’s premier sluggers. He had 31 blasts and 86 RBI in 2016, his last fully healthy year. He carried the Mets to the 2015 World Series. Cespedes is a difference-maker in the lineup.

Who should start, then? For now, it is safe to say that if both are healthy, they are going with some kind of split. Davis can play some third base innings when Robinson Cano rests and Jeff McNeil slides over the keystone. Meanwhile, Cespedes could DH in interleague play, and he can rest when Davis plays so he can be relatively fresh. If Conforto needs a day off, one of them could slide to right, as well. There are workarounds to the situation.

All we know for sure is that in Cespedes and Davis, the Mets have to formidable sluggers. Let’s see how things play out. There has to be a season first, really.

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