Monday, March 12, 2007

Left Field Preview

Now, on to the outfield. The Mets replaced the oft-injured, yet clubhouse and fan favorite, Cliff Floyd with Moises Alou. Alou, although in his early 40s, when healthy, Alou dominates left handed pitchers. Alou hit .349 against lefties last season while playing for the Giants and had 20 go ahead hits throughout the season. Alou is just a professional hitter, for his whole career he has had a great grasp on finding gaps and driving in runs. Alou can be a bit of a defensive liability at times, but his hitting, and the fact that a Gold Glove Center Fielder plays next to him will help him out tremendously. Pecota sees him hitting .287/.355/.484, which is a pretty large improvement in OBP, based on their lower average projection. They only see him hitting 14 home runs and driving in only 48 RBI, even if he plays only half the year, he'd have to drive in more, based solely on the lineup he is in. I see him with similar numbers, but about 18 homers and 80 RBI.

Chances are Alou will only play about 120-125 games even if he stays healthy, which isn't guaranteed. If he does get injured for an extended amount of time there is a good chance Lastings Milledge is called up to fill in, that is if he hasn't taken right field away from Shawn Green by then, leaving Endy Chavez on the bench, where he is strongest. Ben Johnson also has a shot at filling in for Alou on either off days or if an injury occurs. The Mets have some solid young players and prospects should something go wrong with one of their older outfielders. They are in pretty good shape if something were to go terribly wrong, although Alou's bat will be missed in any lineup. On his occasional off day look for either Chavez, Newhan, or Ben Johnson, should be make the team out of spring training, fill in for Moises Alou.

The Mets should expect some solid production out of Alou this season, and more importantly some protection in the lineup for the big guns like Beltran, Delgado and Wright.

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