With the Mets calling up Michael Conforto, trading for Kelly Johnson and designating John Mayberry Jr. for assignment, the outfield at Citi Field soon could have a different look.
Given how the club's outfielders have hit this season, that might not be a bad thing.
The Mets' outfielders entered Friday night's 7-2 loss to the Dodgers with a .237 batting average, a .297 on-base percentage and a .368 slugging percentage. Their .665 on-base plus slugging percentage is second-worst in the majors, behind only the Reds' outfielders.
It also is tied for the fifth-lowest outfield OPS in team history, and the 1967 season was the last time a Mets outfield has posted a lower mark.
If not for rightfielder Curtis Granderson, who has posted a .251/.344/.422 slash line with 14 home runs, these numbers would look even worse.
Mets leftfielders have a .630 OPS and their centerfielders have a .601 OPS (both rank 29th in MLB; the major league average OPS for all non-pitchers is .722 this season).
Conforto made his big league debut Friday night, going 0-for-3 with an RBI groundout. The team's first-round pick in the 2014 draft, who had an .850 OPS in 133 minor-league games, started in leftfield against Los Angeles.
Conforto is an option to replace Michael Cuddyer, at least in the short term, as he was placed on the 15-day disabled Friday. He has struggled in his first season with the Mets, hitting .250 with a .303 on-base percentage and .380 slugging percentage.
Cuddyer's struggles have not merely been the product of switching from hitter-friendly Coors Field to a pitcher's park at Citi Field, as his park-adjusted OPS is 10 percent below league average this year and 59 percent lower than it was last year, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Mayberry, who also spent time in left, had a slash line of .165/.229/.321, leading to his DFA.
The Mets acquired the versatile Johnson from the Braves in a trade Friday night (along with infielder Juan Uribe) for pitching prospects John Gant and Rob Whalen, and the 33-year-old lefthanded hitter could be in the leftfield mix.
Johnson has split his time primarily between leftfield and the corner infield spots this season, hitting .275/.321/.451 with nine home runs.
As for the centerfielders, Juan Lagares has struggled at the plate (with a .254 average and .612 OPS) but has been one of the premier defensive outfielders in baseball.
According to the statistical website FanGraphs, Lagares is tied for seventh among major- league centerfielders in the advanced fielding metric Ultimate Zone Rating and leads all outfielders in the metric since the start of the 2013 season (UZR uses play-by-play data to estimate a fielder's value based on factors including the location and speed of balls in play).
Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.169/.229/.385) and Darrell Ceciliani (.206/.270/.279) also have contributed to the outfielders' struggles at the plate.
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