Mets Catchers Have Been Great
Entering this season, there was serious concern over James McCann and Tomás Nido. Between the two of them, neither one could really hit, and in terms of McCann, his defense regressed significantly. Between the two of them, Mets catchers were fifth worst in the majors by fWAR.
To some degree, a little over one month into the season, it would appear our concerns were justified. After all, McCann and Nido have combined for a 57 wRC+. While it’s shocking that’s only seventh worst in the majors, it is still horrific.
Now, a large part of that is Nido. His 38 wRC+ is eighth worst among catchers who have at least 40 plate appearances. With respect to McCann, for all the consternation, his 70 wRC+ is at least playable for the position as it is the 26th best among catchers. No, it’s not great, but with 30 teams, that’s a starting bat.
Here’s the thing, despite the struggles at the plate, the Mets catchers have been excelling this season, and as a result, the Mets are in first place as a result with the second best run differential in the National League.
In terms of framing, Mets catchers rank best in the National League. They’re also tops in terms of defensive fWAR.
James McCann has seen big improvements in his framing at the bottom of the zone compared to '21.
In '21, McCann converted 40.7% of non-swing pitches into called strikes in Attack Zones 17, 18 & 19.
— Mathew Brownstein (@MBrownstein89) May 9, 2022
As noted by Baseball Savant, McCann is the 12th best framer in all of baseball, and Nido is 33rd. Make no mistake here, this is a driving force behind the Mets success this season.
From a pitching perspective, the Mets have the fourth best FIP and fifth best ERA. From a starting pitching perspective, they have the third best FIP and foruth best ERA. All told, Mets starters have the second best fWAR in the majors.
It does help having pitchers like Max Scherzer. However, the Mets have gotten top performances across their starting staff, and that is without Jacob deGrom. That includes Tylor Megill surprising, and Chris Bassitt being even better than he was with Oakland.
Really, it was no accident the Mets had a combined no-hitter. McCann was brilliant behind the plate with his framing and pitching calling with Megill, Drew Smith, Joely Rodriguez, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz combining for the no-hitter. Seeing these pitchers with Mets catchers, we are bound to see more memorable performances this season.
Overall, this Mets team has been led by their pitching, and that is in large part because of what is happening behind the plate. No, McCann isn’t hitting, and Nido really isn’t hitting. Despite that, they’ve been driving forces for this Mets team because their work behind the plate has been stellar, and as a a result, so have been the Mets so far this season.