Mets Fans Defense Matters
In response to pointing out how significantly better the Mets outfield defense would be with Jake Marisnick, many still advocated for J.D. Davis. While the support for Davis is admirable, it’s misplaced.
It’s misplaced because defense matters.
Over the past three seasons, the Mets are the absolute worst defensive team in baseball with a -228 DRS. That leaves them as the only Major League team to crack the -200 mark. Over those three seasons, the Mets have failed to make the postseason.
The same can be said for the eight worst defensive teams over that timeframe. In fact, the Mets are only one of 10 teams to have a negative DRS over this time frame. Of those 10, only one franchise has reached the postseason.
Looking at the best defensive clubs, all of the top five have reached the postseason at least once over the last three seasons. Expanding it further, eight of the 11 best defensive clubs have made the postseason at least once.
There’s a correlation between defense and making the postseason. You could argue it’s not quite causation. However, it should be pointed out better defensive clubs help keep runs off the board which helps their teams win games.
On the Davis/Marisnick point, at a -49 DRS, the Mets only have the 24th worst outfield defense over this three year time frame. From the Mets on down, only one of the seven worst defensive outfields have made it to the postseason.
In fact, over the last three years, there have been 14 teams whose outfields registered a negative DRS. Only two of those teams have made the postseason. None of these 14 teams have won a division title.
Conversely, all of the top eight defensive outfields have made the postseason at least once. Twelve of the top 14 have made the postseason at least once over that time frame.
All-in-all, 13 of the 16 teams with a positive outfield DRS have made at least one postseason. That includes all three World Series winners and all six pennant winners.
Breaking it down, teams who play good defense win games and make the postseason. In an era of launch angle, teams with better defensive outfields perform better and not only make it to the postseason, but also have gone deep in the postseason.
With respect to the Mets, they made the postseason in consecutive seasons. Over 2015-2016, the Mets outfield had a 45 DRS which was the fifth best in the majors.
Their team DRS of 4 wasn’t as good as the outfield DRS, but it was still a net positive.
Looking at the Mets, when they’ve had a good defensive team, they’ve performed well and made the postseason. When they didn’t, they disappointed and mostly finished under .500.
Looking at everything, teams who play good defense win games. They make it to the postseason. In the era of the launch angle, we see a premium on outfield defense.
On that note, the 2020 Mets are already sacrificing defense for offense at catcher, first base, second base, and arguably shortstop. Theyre doing this desire then having a DH this season allowing them to bat Yoenis Cespedes even if he’s not ready to play in the field everyday. Cespedes bat should permit the Mets to play at least one player due to their defense prowess.
That begs the question – With what you see with respect to the importance of defense, especially outfield defense, why would you purposefully opt to go from a very good defensive outfield to a flat out bad one? That goes double when you consider the Mets have more than enough bats.
In the end, the Mets can do what they did the last three years, or they can do what they did in 2015-2016. They can choose to follow the path of well versed analytical teams who not only realize the value of defense, but also win with good defensive clubs. The Mets can be one of those teams if they so choose.
So, before you avow Davis, who was tied for the Major League worst -11 DRS in LF, should play over Marisnick, you need to explain why defense doesn’t matter. Considering the correlation and trends we’ve seen, it’s going to be an exceedingly tough task and that’s before you consider the 2020 Mets starting staff will pitch to more contact than the preceding years.
Really, when you break it down, defense matters, and if the Mets want to win, they’re going to need to put a good defensive team out there. Right now, their projected Opening Day lineup is not going to be one. Fortunately for the Mets, there are players on the roster who can completely transform this team defensively. The only thing preventing the Mets from playing those players is the Mets themselves.