The Mets made a bunch of cuts today and it looks like the Mikes Nickeas and Baxter will make the Opening Day roster.
Baxter seems to be catching a ton of undeserved flak, so I figured I’d try to provide a little perspective. Here’s how Mike Baxter stacks up against the division’s other lefty-hitting reserve outfielders, based on MLBDepthCharts.com:
Baxter is 27 and will be all season. He posted a .791 OPS in a tiny Major League sample in 2011. He has a career .820 OPS in Triple-A. His most recent full season in the Minors translates to a .751 OPS in the Majors.
The Braves’ Jose Constanza is 28. He posted a .724 OPS in 109 Major League at-bats in 2011. He has a career .742 OPS in Triple-A. His most recent full season in the Minors translates to a .676 OPS in the Majors.
The Phillies will have Juan Pierre on their bench and Laynce Nix in a platoon role. Pierre, 34, has mostly been a full-time player since 2001, but he has a career .708 OPS. In 639 at-bats last year, it was .657. It was also .657 in 651 at-bats in 2010. In mostly platoon work, the 31-year-old Nix has a career .718 OPS. Over the last three seasons he has a .768 mark.
The Marlins have Chris Coghlan, who won the Rookie of the Year award in 2009 and has plummeted since. Coghlan will turn 27 in June. Last year he posted a .664 OPS in 269 at-bats.
The Nationals have Roger Bernadina, who will turn 28 in June. Bernadina has a career .668 OPS and posted a .664 mark in 309 at-bats last year.
All of those guys have more big-league experience than Baxter, no doubt. But how many of them are clearly better? Nix has some pop but can’t get on base. Pierre and Bernadina can steal bases but can’t really hit. Constanza looks like a good defender but probably can’t outhit Baxter. Coghlan got his career off to a great start, but was woeful on both sides of the ball last year.
But you know, LOLMets.
For the millionth time, just because a guy has never played in the Majors doesn’t mean he can’t.