A preview of the 2008 Mets, presented in the expected batting order, followed by pitching rotation, followed by impact bullpen/bench players. Today we focus on left fielder Moises Alou.
2007: .341 avg, 13 HR, 49 RBI, 51 runs, .392 OBP in 87 games
I'm not a huge Moises Alou fan. A year ago, before the season began, all of my comments about Moises Alou had to do with what was pretty much an invisible spring. He was quiet all season (not a surprise, really, considering he played a total of 11 games in May, June, and July). But when he played, Alou was consistent - consistently one of the best players on the team. I still don't love him, but I'll take him as a left fielder on a potential World Series team.
The biggest drawback to Alou is his age, and the injuries that go along with that. He'll turn 42 in July, and that's part of the reason he only played a little more than half a season last year. But boy, can he hit. Alou burst out of the gate in his first month as a Met, hitting .349 in April. He had his only slump of the year right before he got hurt, in May, but finished the year with a .330 average in August, and a .402 average in September, playing full-time both months. More importantly, he was hitting for power - Alou's slugging percentage in September was .607.
Bottom line - Alou can hit, and not just hit, but hit in key situations. Alou thrived against the other teams in the National League East - combining for a .344 average, 8 (of his 13 total) HR, and 33 (of his 49) RBI in 55 games against the Braves, Phillies, Marlins, and Nationals. Part of that is because the Mets played so many divisional games when Alou was healthy, but that only works in the Mets' favor.
I still don't love Moises Alou. He'll still come up with a big injury this year. But as long as he hits when he's in there, and the Mets give him the appropriate rest, with the likes of Endy Chavez and Ryan Church doing lots of platooning with Alou, I'll deal with him as a role-playing veteran making an impact on a team that has the potential to go far....for this last year of his contract.