Due to leg injuries, both the Mets and Yoenis Cespedes would prefer it if Cespedes played left field, not center. Curtis Granderson, once a pretty good center fielder, is way past his sell date at that position as a regular, even if he fills in there once in a while. He hasn’t played the position regularly since 2012, even though he played it last night. Juan Lagares is still hanging around, but his bat just isn’t up to snuff to play every day.
So who plays center for the Mets? Looks like it’s going to be Michael Conforto. From the Daily News:
Tuesday afternoon, Conforto was out on the field at Wrigley early working with outfield coach Tom Goodwin on playing center field.
“He’s going to be OK,” Goodwin said. “Whenever we put him out there, I think he’s going to be fine.”
This is all characterized by Terry Collins as easing Conforto into center field slowly — giving him those pregame practice reps rather than just dropping him in there — but he’s likely to be manning the position in actual battle this weekend against the Marlins, so it’s basically like dropping him in there. This after him playing all but one of his 109 major league games in left field. He likewise never played center in the minors. Last night was his first night in right in the big leagues. Now the move to center, possibly as early as Friday.
Most of us aren’t anything approaching defensive experts ourselves, but has anyone watched Conforto play and think “yeah, he could handle center?” Not me. The Mets do have people who are qualified experts when it comes to where ballplayers should play and they think that. I suppose we should give them the benefit of the doubt.
Still: Conforto is 25-years-old and has been playing professionally since he was 21. If you’re cast as a corner guy at the age of 21 it means no one, ever, saw you as a center fielder. Now they do. I guess we’ll see.