Going into Spring Training it was assumed that Collin Cowgill would be part of a platoon in center field when the season began. Well, it turns out Cowgill will be THE center fielder for the Mets.
“He had a pretty good spring,” Terry Collins said. “He hit righties as good as anybody. If it doesn’t work out, we’ve got Kirk (Nieuwenhuis) there. So we’ve got some options.”
Indeed, Collin Cowgill hit .303 with five home runs and 10 RBIs while Nieuwenhuis battled injuries and batted just .086.
Collins said he plans on using Nieuwenhuis as a defensive replacement for Lucas Duda late in games. He also needs to find playing time for Jordany Valdespin, who won a roster spot with a solid spring. Unfortunately, Valdespin is a natural infielder and is still learning how to play the outfield, so he is still a defensive liability out there.
Marlon Byrd will be the regular right fielder — no platoon with Mike Baxter. Just like Nieuwenhuis, Baxter blew a golden opportunity to win a starting job by hitting .176 in the spring while Byrd hit .357.
Now let’s hope Collin Cowgill and Marlon Byrd can carry their hitting into games that actually count. A good spring is not always a predictor for success in the regular season.