Opinion: Conforto Should Stay In Platoon

According to Terry Collins, the Mets will stick to platooning left fielder Michael Conforto (h/t Adam Rubin). Collins offered his reasoning:

We’ve brought people in here that hit lefties, that have a career record of hitting lefties. And right now that’s what we’ve been doing, and I’m going to stay with it.

Collins has a good point. While I believe Conforto has the potential to be a special kind of player (and he has shown nothing to the contrary), there is no reason to play him against lefties in the 2015 season. Through September 2nd’s game, here are the statistics of the other Mets outfielders vs. LHP, sorted by wOBA (2015 season):

MetsOFvsLHP

(I do not consider Eric Campbell, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, or Eric Young Jr. viable options against LHPs, rather, simply as pinch hitters and roster depth)

Juan Lagares, though suffering through a frustrating season, has done his best work against left handed pitchers, and leads all Mets outfielders in offensive production versus lefties. Cuddyer too has done some good work against lefties, and has gotten even better of late. Cespedes, who usually starts in left field against lefties, has very weak numbers, but keeping his bat in the order is important for this team. One could even make the case that Cespedes should sit in favor of Kelly Johnson against lefties, based on the past few seasons, but that is unlikely to happen. (For what it’s worth, I believe Cespedes should play every day, but if he needs a day off, it should be against a lefty).

With Lagares, Cespedes, and Cuddyer starting against lefties, the Mets don’t have a need for Conforto against lefties at the moment. Come next season, provided the Mets don’t resign Cespedes, Conforto should see much more regular playing time. With so few left handed starting pitchers in the major leagues, the current setup will still allow Conforto to stay in the lineup for most of the way down the stretch.

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