The New York Mets pretty much have two guys that could leadoff for them this year. Those two guys are Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte. They both fit the bill of being at the top of the order for the Mets. Although both guys do similar things well, there is still a guy that needs to be at the top of the order come opening day.
Nimmo’s Case For Lead off
Brandon Nimmo has been the main leadoff guy for the Mets the last few years. Nimmo is an on-base machine with a career OBP of .393. In three of the last four years, Nimmo’s OBP has been over .400, which is an elite number. When everything is going right for Nimmo, he brings a mix of hitting for average with some pop to the table. When you combine this with the eye he has at the plate, he is a complete hitter. However, he has struggled with being inconsistent throughout his career.
When it comes to speed and base stealing, this is where things get interesting with Nimmo. He has good speed but doesn’t steal bases. Only stole five bags last season. Ideally, you would want your leadoff man to be able to swipe a bag. If he is unable to do this, the bases would be clogged up for guys behind him who are better base stealers. So Nimmo gets on base and hits like a leadoff guy, but his baserunning is the questionable part.
Marte’s Case For Leadoff
Like Nimmo, Starling Marte does a bit of everything well at the plate. He has a career OBP of .346, which is a decent number for a leadoff guy. Last season his OBP was .383, which is obviously a much better number. He will hit for average, and give you around 30 doubles. He also hit 20 homers in back-to-back seasons not too long ago. He has the type of bat you would want at the top of the order to start things off for the guys behind him.
Where Marte excels over Nimmo is with base stealing. It isn’t that he is that much faster than Nimmo, but he is by far a superior base stealer. Last season, he led the MLB with 47 stolen bases. This isn’t the first time he stole over 40 bases, although it’s been a while. Having a guy who has every tool as a hitter is a perfect asset to have.
Who Should Leadoff?
So far this spring, it has pretty much been Nimmo leading off with Marte behind him. However, I think the opposite makes more sense. Although Nimmo gets on more, having Marte behind him can clog up the bases for him. Marte has the ability to turn a walk into a double by stealing a bag. You can then have a guy in scoring position with less than two outs. And it isn’t like Nimmo can’t drive Marte in. Both guys are very good and complete hitters, but Marte’s speed and base-stealing ability should cause the Mets to at least try having Marte leadoff with Nimmo behind him.