Question: Is Torres good enough to be Mets starting CF?

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Matthew Cerrone: Every time I ask a Giants fan or expert about Torres, they to speak most passionately about his personality. They don’t say much about his on-field ability, and that concerns me. He sounds like a wonderful and fascinating human being, and that’s great, and needed, but the Mets also need better talent than they’ve had. I know he’ll be fast, I know he can hit from both sides of the plate and I know he can play all three outfield positions. But, just based on my experience keeping tabs on him in fantasy baseball, I know he is also VERY streaky. I’m OK with him starting in center on Opening Day, so to give him a chance to return to being the player he was in 2010, but I have a feeling he might eventually end up a fourth outfielder as the team makes additional moves throughout the summer.

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Michael Baron: Defensively, Torres is an upgrade over Angel Pagan in centerfield. He has better instincts and a better awareness of the field than Pagan and that will lead to extra bases saved and ultimately runs saved.  Torres will also provide better leadership in the outfield and take charge of fly balls – something Pagan badly struggled with as a Met – and that will ultimately benefit Lucas Duda as well.

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Brian Erni: Assuming the Mets get enough offense from other positions, yes I think he’s a fine starting option. Like Michael said, Torres’s defense is his selling point. If the Mets are going to compete, they’re going to need to get excellent defense from almost every position on the diamond. That starts up the middle, and Torres should be able to provide that. Offensively, Torres isn’t a prototypical lead off man, even though he’ll probably get a good chunk of at bats there. If he can get on base at a decent clip, he shouldn’t be a drain on the lineup.  He does have some pop in his bat, so I think he could eventually settle in somewhere around 7th in the order if Ruben Tejada shows he can handle the lead off spot. Ultimately, Torres is a fine stop-gap option until a more permanent option emerges from outside or – more likely – within the organization.

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Jon Scippa: CAIRO currently projects Torres to produce 1.5 WAR in 2012, factoring in 358 plate appearances over 96 games.  Last season was one of his worst at the plate. However, he averaged a .355 wOBA over his prior two seasons.  Perhaps it was just a down year, but you can’t completely rule out age-related decline. Nevertheless, while we typically see a similar decline in defense, Torres has been well above average in the field over the last 4 seasons.  I expect Torres to rebound offensively this season, which – combined with his glove – could make for a valuable every day player.  I wouldn’t bank on him putting up a wOBA in the mid .300s again, but something in the range of .250/.330/.410 is certainly a possibility if he starts 130+ games.