The general manager of the New York Mets, Brodie Van Wagenen, had a great opportunity to significantly improve the field body of his team this offseason. Knowing well-well Yoenis cespedes an important part of the year would be lost, the first GM that left with some additions of marginal depth.
Replace Lawns with an initial caliber fielder, or simply add a free agent midfielder to allow Michael Conforto Y Brandon Nimmo To be able to comfortably accommodate your natural positions may have been the way to go. Although, the retrospective is always 20/20.
Instead, Van Wagenen signed. Rajai Davis Y Carlos Gomez, probably with the hope that one or both will revive their respective careers at Flushing, without success. The combination of Conforto, Nimmo, and Juan lagares – Historically, an outstanding outfielder but without much offense, it did not last long for the Mets either.
Nimmo (neck) fell in May and Lagares has had a very low yield. Conforto is having a good season, but he just can not keep this group afloat.
Gomez was released on July 3 after being assigned to an assignment on June 30. Davis received DFA on May 26 (2-for-7, home run, three runs batted with the Mets) but returned to Triple-A Syracuse instead of choosing free agency (.286 / .339 / .416, eight home runs, 21 races driven in more than 279 appearances on the plate).
Matt Kemp, another minor league signing Van Wagenen, has not played for Syracuse since June 8 (broken rib; .235 / .278 / .324 in 36 appearances on the plate).
Thank God for the dynamic capabilities of Jeff McNeil, Dominic Smith, and to a lesser degree, J.D. Davis. None of these players has had much experience playing in the gardens in their careers, but all have added offensive advantages to the group, albeit with varying degrees of defensive responsibility.
As a group, the defensive runs of the Mets -67 saved field are 29 in MLB and their final zone ranking of -23.5 is 28 at halftime.
That's not good, but let's look at the respective seasons of the current field body, so far, and see what the rest of the year might have for this group.
Michael Conforto – Grade: B
Conforto, 26, has left behind his 2017 shoulder injury and is having a solid season for the Mets. His .244 / .359 / .470 slash line, 16 homers, 44 RBIs, 17 doubles, .349 wOBA and 121 wRC + continue to solidify his status as an offensive player above average.
The Washington native has -1.0 defensive runs saved and a final zone rating of -2.7 in 672 innings passed in the gardens this year, 585.2 of which have been in right field (0 DRS, -2.3 UZR).
With the arrival of free agency for Conforto after the 2021 season, one would assume that the player will do everything possible to continue his progress. And we can only hope that the Mets lock it up before it reaches the open market.
Brandon Nimmo – Degree: INC
Brandon Nimmo crashed into the garden wall in Atlanta on April 14 and retired in the first inning of the Philadelphia Mets two days later.
Diagnosed with a bulging disc in his neck, as well as a whiplash, at the end of May, a calendar has not been established for the return of Nimmo to baseball activities.
Over 161 appearances on the plate this season, the 26-year-old was hitting .200 / .344 / .323 with a .300 wOBA, 89 wRC +, and an alarming 48 strikeouts.
In the field, Nimmo accumulated -3 DRS and -1.3 UZR in 296.2 innings divided closely between the center field and the left field (139.2 innings and 136.2 innings, respectively, 20.1 in the right field).
Hopefully, in fact, return this season and can return to be the machine in the base that we used to see.
Juan Lagares – Grade: D
Lagares, 30, signed a four-year contract and $ 23 million before the 2016 season. Despite struggling to stay healthy and not hitting much in that span (278 games played; .238 / .292 / .344) , he has been able to survive with his outstanding defensive skills.
By handing over the keys to the starting job in center field this season, Lagares is having the worst offensive season of its career and has seen how its defensive ability has significantly degraded.
More than 158 appearances on the plate this season, the Dominican native is reducing .175 / .242 / .252 with a .215 wOBA and 33 wRC +. In the center field, Lagares -6 DRS and -4.5 UZR are two important minimums in his career.
No wonder he has lost all his work. I would not be surprised to see Lagares (team option of $ 9.5 million for 2020) negotiated for whatever the Mets can advance to the July 31 deadline, however, we'll see.
Jeff McNeil – Grade: A +
We are all aware of what McNeil, 27, brings to the table in an offensive manner. Mets manager Mickey Callaway I just needed to find a place for his talented young batter to play on the field.
Having been blocked at second base by the acquisition of low season Robinson Cano, McNeil has taken the garden as a fish to the water, putting advanced solid measurements (2.0 DRS, -0.7 UZR in 377 innings) to accompany his statistics of all the leagues on the plate.
More than 318 plate appearances, McNeil is cutting .349 / .409 / .509, the first position as the best in baseball in the All-Star break. His strikeout rate of 11.9%, .390 wOBA and 147 wRC + are elite. In short, McNeil is a star.
As the season progresses, one of two things will happen for McNeil on the field. Either he will feel even more comfortable out there, or his inexperience will begin to show, rusting with the brightness that has grown so far.
I'll go with the first option.
Dominic Smith – Grade: B +
On the verge of being billed as a bona fide bust, Smith, a former first-round draft pick (2013), has seen his Major League career take off in 2019.
A first base by trade and initially was added to the list to act as Pete AlonsoSmith, 24, squadmate / backup, made his way into the Mets' grounds and played skillfully.
Over 161 entries in left field, Smith has 1.0 DRS and a -0.4 UZR. Leaving aside the size of the small sample, that is very impressive for a guy who has limited or no experience away from first base.
However, his offense is what forced the hand of the organization. After going through the first 105 games of his career in the big leagues (.210 / .259 / .406 over 332 BP, 2017 and 2018), Smith's highly acclaimed bat has finally arrived.
Through 157 plate appearances this season, Smith has a .304 / .389 / .551 slash line with eight homers, 10 doubles, 14 RBIs, a .394 wOBA and 150 wRC +. In limited opportunities or not, that's pretty impressive. Even better, Dom Smith has not shown much of a slowdown.
If the Mets think they can find a taker on the deadline, while Smith's value is too high, it's better to surrender to a player, a person and a teammate of his caliber.