Crowded House In Mets’ Outfield

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.The Mets entered spring training with a well-defined outfield hierarchy.

From left field to right, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson will start, and reserves Alejandro De Aza and Juan Lagares will support the starting trio.

That alignment left no room for 27-year-old Travis Taijeron, a right fielder coming off a strong season at Triple-A Las Vegas.

Taijeron hit .274/.393/.536 in 127 games last season and ranked fourth in the Pacific Coast League with 25 home runs and third with 65 walks. He also struck out 147 times to rank second in the PCL.

“His power that he has is legitimate power,” Las Vegas hitting coach Jack Voigt said, “and probably his best power is to right-center field. So when he stays through the ball and gets good pitch selection, he can be dangerous.”

As for Taijeron’s swing-and-miss rate, Voigt said: “Everybody can work on more contact, but the trade-off is: Do you start changing a (hitter)?

“(Taijeron is) getting his walks, and he led the league in hit by pitches (15), so he’s not afraid of the inside pitch. Sometimes if it ain’t broke, you don’t try to fix it.”

The Mets drafted Taijeron in the 18th round in 2011 out of Division II Cal Poly Pomona. In big league camp this spring as a non-roster invite, he slugged a three-run homer on March 10 against Cardinals prospect lefthander Austin Gomber.

“I played consistently in the outfield, every single day,” Taijeron said about his 2015 season. “Having that consistency and having my routine, it really helped out during the season.

“I’m trying to cut down on my strikeouts . . . When it comes down to two strikes, I say, ‘Hey, I’ve got to open it up and expand my strike zone more.’ I’ve got to do a better job of that. I’ve been working on it.”


Five Mets farmhands participatee in World Baseball Classic qualifying tournaments in mid-March: Dilson Herrera and Nabil Crismatt (Colombia), Xorge Carrillo (Mexico), Alberto Baldonado (Panama) and Luis Guillorme (Spain). Herrera was the hitting hero as Colombia advanced.

• Righthander Rafael Montero was among the first group of players sent to minor league camp. He spent the last five months of 2015 on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.

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