Jake Marisnick Needs To Start Over J.D. Davis
Each and every prospective lineup people put out for the 2020 Mets has J.D. Davis in left field. This is despite the fact Davis can’t play the position at all.
Last year, he had a -11 DRS and a -7 OAA. Both of those numbers are unplayable in left field. While you can argue he’s been working hard this offseason to improve, his 26.3 ft/sec sprint speed is just too slow to expect him from being anything that a below average outfielder.
But it’s not just Davis in left, it’s what it does to the entire defensive alignment. Davis in left then puts Brandon Nimmo in center as opposed to a corner OF position where he is much better suited.
In Nimmo’s career, he’s a -9 DRS in center, and he’s a 1 DRS in the corners. He’s a positive defender in left with a 3 DRS. Put another way, Nimmo belongs in left.
Historically, the Mets don’t care. They just want the bats out there despite that plan continuously failing. Consider this, since 2017, the Mets have had the absolute worst defense in Major League Baseball, and it’s not even close.
With each of these seasons, the Mets underachieved. That includes last year. With better defense, that could’ve potentially been a better performing team. Despite that, the Mets look at defense like it’s a novelty which you roll out there in the late innings failing to realize you may not get that lead because of those catchable balls in left went for base hits, and those singles or outs became extra base hits.
That’s part of the reason why Jake Marisnick needs to be in center flanked by Nimmo and Michael Conforto in 2020. With Marisnick posting elite defensive metrics year-in and year-out, he makes his team’s defense significantly better. He’d do that with the Mets as well.
Any concerns about his offense is a red herring, and it falls into the same trap the Mets always fall.
Consider this, Davis had a 138 OPS+ to Marisnick’s 80, and yet, Marisnick still had a higher WAR last year. The reason is because DEFENSE MATTERS.
Aside from the DH, there is far more than pitching and 2-4 PAs per game. You have to go out there and field your position. The position you play has an impact on defensive alignment. By playing Marisnick, you’re getting the most out of Nimmo and Conforto. You’re also getting the most out of your pitching by ensuring outs are outs and maybe stealing a few outs here and there.
The Mets also have plenty of offense across the diamond. Moreover, they now have a DH where they can stick the pure offensive player. With that being the case, there’s even less of an excuse to sacrifice defense for offense.
That goes double when you consider Marisnick is the overall more productive player than Davis. That’s an important point to consider when Marisnick was better than Davis when Davis was at his best.
In the end, the Mets need to remember defense matters, and more to the point to play the players who give them the best chance to win. That’s more productive players who help the team get the most out of the roster. That’s why Marisnick needs to play over Davis.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This goes more in-depth on the correlation between defense and making the postseason.