With Great Starting Pitching Comes Great Defense. (Did you guys get my spider man reference?!)

For the 4th consecutive season and the 9th time in 10 years, the Mets do not have a Gold Glove Award winner. The Mets finished -76 in defensive runs saved. That was ranked the 27th worst in Major League Baseball in front of the Orioles, Blue Jays and Phillies.

The Mets are built around their starting pitching. Traditionally strong defense, especially up the middle, goes along with that. The Mets need to improve their defense either in house or by acquisitions in the off season.

“If we are going to lean on our pitchers to carry us to where we need to be, I feel like everybody in the organization is starting to understand that our defense needs to improve,’’ Callaway said in late August.

“When you are trying to develop people, you are not developing a one-faceted player, you have to value defense just as much as hitting, just as much as bunting, just as much as taking a secondary [lead], you have to evaluate every part of that player to make him a winning player.”

What positions do the Mets need to target to boost their defense?

  1. Defensive catcher
  2. A true center fielder that can “go get it”

Catchers
Yasmani Grandal (30 years old, 3.6 WAR)
Wilson Ramos (31, 2.4)
Kurt Suzuki (35, 2.0)
Martin Maldonado (32, 0.9)
Nick Hundley (35, 0.9)
Matt Wieters (33, 0.9)
A.J. Ellis (38, 0.8)
Devin Mesoraco (31, 0.7)
Jonathan Lucroy (33, 0.6)
Rene Rivera (35, 0.3)
Drew Butera (35, -0.3)
Jeff Mathis (36, -0.5)

Center fielders
A.J. Pollock (31 years old, 2.5 WAR)
Leonys Martin (31, 2.4)
Adam Jones (33, 0.5)
Rajai Davis (38, -0.2)
Austin Jackson (32, -1.0)

Realistically I don’t think the Mets will acquire anyone listed above. My guess is that they stick with Juan Lagares platooning with Michael Conforto/ Brandon Nimmo in center field and bank on Travis d’Arnaud to have a comeback from Tommy John surgery.

Lagares was a gold glover in 2014 but since then he has dealt with some unfortunate injuries.  Lagares enters the last year of his contract next season. He’ll be 30 years old and his salary will be $9M.

Fan graphs rates individual fielders by percentages of catches made:

Impossible (0%)
Remote (1-10%)
Unlikely (10-40%)
About Even (40-60%)
Likely (60-90%)
Almost Certain/Certain (90-100%)

Lets take a look at Juan Lagares %:

Juan Lagares Inside Edge Fielding
The last time Lagares qualified for the MLB leader board for centerfielders was in 2015.

 

IF Lagares can stay healthy (as we say every season) he would be a great defensive substitute late in the game, especially if our horrendous bullpen is pitching.

In regards to the Mets middle infield, Amed Rosario has shown improvement at Short Stop while Jeff Mcneil has shown he can make spectacular ranging plays at second base. Todd Frazier is what we all expected at 3B, not too flashy but not terrible. First base is up in the air because the Mets might start the season with a right fielder [Jay Bruce] at 1B or they can go with the right handed power bat Peter Alonso, who has been noted for bad defense. Alonso has yet to play in the majors after mustering 39 home-runs between double A and triple A.

There are 2 weeks left in the post-season. The Mets are still searching for a general manager. Tick tock tick tock. We’ll have to see what the new GM does.

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