So, I went to the Mets game and got into an argument with a Mets fan today about their lineup. I love Willie Randolph and his aggressive style, but I still don't think he's getting maximum utility out of his players. Yes, Lo Duca is a nice contact hitter who is willing to sacrifice for the team and move runners along, but that's not enough to warrant a spot in the 2-hole. Beltran is not a number 3 hitter, especially not on this team. David Wright is the best hitter and he should be getting extra at-bats in the 3-hole. He hits for average, power, and does it with men on base. It's time to put him where he belongs. Additionally, Beltran should be in the 2-hole where he can utilize both his speed as well as his power. While he's a sub-.300 guy throughout his career, he makes enough contact and has enough speed to be a two-hole hitter. He doesn't have the plate discipline to hit third, nor the power to hit later on. The lineup should be: Reyes, Beltran, Wright, Delgado, Floyd (when healthy), Lo Duca, Nady/Milledge, Valentin, and the Pitcher. Although this disturbs the right/left set up that Randolph has, it better utilizes the players' talents.
Even though Lo Duca gets on at a rate comprable to Beltran, he doesn't present a threat on the base-paths. If Beltran hit second, he would put more pressure on opposing pitchers with his running game and they'd be staring at David Wright as well. Wright needs more at-bats and he's a superior hitter all-around to beltran. Delgado would remain in the clean-up spot and Floyd could step in and provide protection for Delgado. The other fan I talked to put a premium on protecting Delgado with Wright, but it should be the other way around. Wright is the better hitter and Floyd is no bum. He provides sufficient protection and movind Lo Duca down gets your best players more at-bats, while also giving you more options at the top of the order (i.e. hit and run, steal, can score from first/second, etc). I know people may feel that Beltran has too much power to hit second, but I don't feel that is a good reason to stick Lo Duca at the top and make it easier for the opposing team by giving an inferior player extra at-bats.
I know they've already won 40 games, but it doesn't mean the Mets can't do better. They have an amazing lineup that has yet to be cast correctly.