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Mets outfielders have not distinguished themselves at the plate

Michael Cuddyer strikes out in the bottom of

Michael Cuddyer strikes out in the bottom of the 8th inning leaving two runners on base in scoring position during their game against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on the afternoon of May 3, 2015. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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.

New York Sports