Stumbled onto this while working on something else today. I’m pretty sure this came up earlier this season but I didn’t realize it had borne out over time: The Mets seem to have faced an atypically high percentage of lefty pitchers this season, likely in part due to the atypically high percentage of lefty hitters in their lineup. Check this out:
The Mets’ only other marked deviation from league average here came in 2010 when, if you’ll recall, they spent portions of the season pretty heavily right-handed, during Peak Rod Barajas.
I suppose this shouldn’t be all that surprising, given what you’ve seen from the Mets this year. It also probably helps to explain why so many of the Mets having good years by their standards — David Wright, Ruben Tejada, Scott Hairston and Ronny Cedeno — hit right-handed and so many of the Mets having bad years by their standards — Ike Davis, Josh Thole and Lucas Duda — hit left-handed. That’s hardly a rule, of course, as Mike Baxter’s hitting better than anyone could have expected, and Jason Bay.
Anyway, the point I was setting out to make was that Baxter and Hairston could combine for a pretty damn good outfielder in the Mets’ 2013 plans. I don’t know if Hairston has priced himself out of the Mets’ plans with his mashing this season and Baxter’s big-league success has come in a reasonably small sample. But Hairston’s got a career .280/.330/.505 line against lefties and Baxter’s at .271/.363/.431 against righties. Plug that pair into an outfield corner and manage it effectively and you should be able to hope for better than league-average production from the spot, plus solid defense. Also, both can play center field in a pinch and both have proven useful in pinch-hitting situations, for whatever that’s worth.
The Mets will need to make the outfield their top offseason priority since they’ve got no one in their system now who appears apt to man an everyday spot next year. But since it seems unlikely they’ll be able to find three outfield regulars in free agency and via trade, a Hairston/Baxter platoon could more than adequately shore up one of the spots. Not exactly breaking news, I realize.