David Peterson

Mets Should Begin 2021 Season With Six Man Rotation

Typically speaking, you don’t like to see pitchers jump over 100.0 innings from one season to the next. The problem is with the 60 game season in 2020 nearly every pitcher in Major League Baseball is going to have to make that jump. How to combat this is going to be a concern for all 30 Major League teams, especially the New York Mets.

The Mets have Marcus Stroman, who didn’t pitch last year, and they have Noah Syndergaard returning from Tommy John at some point this season. Carlos Carrasco is still building up his endurance on the mound after battling leukemia. There is also the opportunity for David Peterson to crack the Opening Day rotation. Throw in protecting Jacob deGrom, the best pitcher in baseball, and you see how the Mets may want to find a way to limit everyone’s innings.

There’s more to it as well. None of these pitchers threw even 70.0 innings last year. We don’t know when, but it is reasonable to assume at some point the Mets starters may face fatigue and may hit a wall. As we typically see, there are going to be a few pitchers who battled ineffectiveness and hit the proverbial dead arm periods. That’s even with extremely well conditioned pitchers like deGrom and Stroman.

Really, the Mets need to figure out the best possible way to let their pitchers keep strong all season long, and hopefully, be in a position to be as strong as possible heading into October. In a different way, that was an issue the Mets had in 2015.

That season, the Mets opted to throw their five best pitchers to start the season. To a certain extent, Zack Wheeler‘s needing Tommy John forced the issue there. Beyond that, the Mets didn’t really plan for making the postseason. Their season as well as Matt Harvey‘s return from his own Tommy John surgery as well as Scott Boras forcing the issue with innings limits forced the Mets to confront the issue.

At times, we saw a six man rotation. That was something which was met with some resistance from the Mets young starting staff. To a certain extent, you could understand that as baseball players, especially starters, are creatures of habit. Considering that being the case, perhaps it would be better to start the season with a six man rotation to give the Mets starters a better opportunity to adapt.

Certainly, the Mets have the arms to pull that off. To start the year, they already have a strong top of the rotation with deGrom, Stroman, Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker. After that, they have a strong competition for the fifth starter spot with Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, and Jordan Yamamoto. There is also players like Jerad Eickhoff and Corey Oswalt who could force their way into the conversation.

In terms of Spring Training competitions, we should not that they’re terrible in nature. You’re judging a bunch of players against differing levels of competition. You may get to face a team full of Double-A to Four-A players and dominate while another player gets to face Major League caliber competition. That leads to skewed results.

One way to combat that is to take your best six pitchers up north. You can ease your four best pitchers into the 2021 season and then get a better look at the fifth starters against Major League competition. This means while you are saving your best pitchers for the end of the season, you are also getting a better look at your pitchers in what could be described as a protracted competition.

Keep in mind, you can easily skip this sixth starter in the rotation if need be and have them available in the bullpen. With early season rain outs and off days, you may not want to go right to the sixth starter. That also gives the team an added benefit to see how a Lucchesi or Yamamoto could look coming out of the pen for an inning or more.

Overall, there is a lot of benefit to having a six man rotation to start the season. Pulling it off properly requires a deft touch by Luis Rojas. If done properly, the Mets can secure a postseason spot, and they can have deGrom at full strength to have a similar run to what he had in 2015. In fact, imagine what he could do now! But before that, we just have to figure out a way for him and the rest of this rotation to navigate the 2021 season.

Mets Can’t Undo Great Offseason By Putting J.D. Davis At Third

Look across the diamond. The New York Mets are a significantly better baseball team. It’s not just better in terms of the rotation and starting lineup, but it’s also better in terms of their burgeoning depth. Despite that, somehow, the Mets failed to address their biggest need of the offseason – third base.

J.D. Davis is the incumbent third baseman, and simply put, he has done nothing but prove he has no business playing the position at the Major League level. In his career, he has played 770.0 innings there, and he has amassed a -19 DRS. As previously put in perspective, that was worse than what Wilmer Flores posted as the position, and there was near unanimous consent Flores should never man the position again.

The Mets were well aware of this, and that’s why they seemingly went out of their way this offseason to say they were going to upgrade at third base. He said the position was “up in the air,” and the team went on what seemed to be wild goose chases for Kris Bryant and Eugenio Suarez. For all we know, they are still doing all they can to pry those players loose from their current teams.

When the Mets were unable to acquire a real third baseman before the start of Spring Training, Luis Rojas was reluctant to name anyone as the team’s third baseman. That would appear to be an indictment of Davis, especially with second base becoming vacant with Robinson Cano‘s season long suspension.

At least on the surface, it would seem Davis would keep his slot at third with Jeff McNeil becoming the everyday third baseman. However, that’s not entirely possible with Davis not being able to play the position. In fact, Davis is literally the worst fielder in the Major Leagues.

Over the past two seasons, Davis has amassed a combined -29 DRS. That includes a -17 DRS at third and a -12 DRS in left field. Just to put in perspective how bad that is, he is the only player to appear TWICE among the worst 30 fielders over the past two seasons. As we’ve seen, the Mets just can’t hide him in the field. That goes double for third.

Making Davis at third even worse is the current complexion of the Mets pitching staff. Overall, this is a heavy ground ball pitching staff. To wit, here are their GB/FB ratios since 2017:

Looking at the make-up of the Mets top eight starting pitching options, seven of them induce batters to hit the ball on the ground. That makes having a good defensive infield more of an imperative. Yes, Francisco Lindor goes a long way towards doing that, but by playing Davis next to him, the Mets are effectively neutralizing Lindor’s effect.

Digging deeper, the Mets are going to play Pete Alonso at first where he is not a good fielder. That means the Mets are going to trot out a ground ball staff and have the Major League worst defense at the corners. Really, this does not remotely make any sense whatsoever. Really, it’s ponderous the Mets would even consider going in this direction.

When you look at it from that perspective, Davis cannot play third everyday. It only serves to hurt the team. Ideally, the Mets would pull off that blockbuster we’ve been waiting for them to pull off all offseason to acquire a third baseman, or they need to play Luis Guillorme everyday at second pushing McNeil to third, where he is a better fielder.

No matter what the Mets do, they simply cannot make Davis the everyday third baseman. They’ve done far too much this offseason, and they’ve built their team a certain way. Allowing Davis and his defense, or lack thereof, diminish or neutralize it, makes zero to no sense.

David Peterson Must Now Start 2021 Season In Syracuse

The Mets have signed Taijuan Walker to join a rotation which already has Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Carlos Carrasco. With Noah Syndergaard set to return from Tommy John this season, that means the fifth starter role on the Opening Day rotation is a temporary one.

That is yet another reason why David Peterson should be starting the 2021 season in Syracuse.

Entering 2020, Peterson was the top pitching prospect in the Mets organization, and at one point in his minor league career, he was considered a top 100 prospect. Even though he pitched for the Mets in that bizarre and truncated season, in many ways, Peterson remains a pitching prospect, and he should be treated as such.

If you are an organization, you don’t take your best Major League ready pitching prospect and put him in the rotation for just two months with the plan of moving him back to the minors or even the bullpen. As a plan, that makes zero to no sense. It’s a gross mishandling of a prospect.

That’s before you also consider Peterson still needs to develop. He did walk 11.7% of the batters he faced. Even with the caveat of Wilson Ramos behind the plate, that’s terrible, and it will not be sustainable for the course of a full season. To be fair, this has not been a significant issue during his minor league career, and as Derek Carty, then of Fangraphs, pointed out ground ball pitchers can get away with a higher walk rate.

The control manifested itself in other areas than just walk rate for Peterson. Last year, he was below average in terms of barrel rates and 10.2% of fly balls against him went for homers. That’s a rate which followed him from Double-A, and that is a poor rate. If you are a pitcher who pitches to contact like Peterson does, you cannot yield that high of a home run rate. These are areas Peterson should be able to address and improve. However, that is difficult when you are bouncing between the majors and Triple-A.

The good news for the Mets is they have built depth sufficient to allow Peterson to continue to develop in the minors. They have both Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto. In terms of Yamamoto, he only has one option remaining, and you don’t want to burn it if you don’t need to do it. With Lucchesi, the Mets have a pitcher who had a much better FIP than Peterson.

That’s an important consideration here. Peterson is not definitively better than the pitchers in the Mets organization. Aside from Lucchesi and Yamamoto, the Mets also have pitchers like Jerad Eickhoff, who should not be completely discounted with his now being over a full season being removed from a biceps issue, and Corey Oswalt.

The point is for two months the Mets have options. Those options could also include bullpenning games with them having both Lucchesi and Yamamoto. When you examine all the options, you see the Mets don’t need to force Peterson into the rotation for two months only to remove him and send him down to Syracuse or the bullpen. No, the better course is for Peterson to start the year in Syracuse to develop and be ready for when the first pitcher in the rotation goes down with an injury.

 

Simply Amazin – Don’t Freak Out

I had the privilege of appearing on the Simply Amazin’ podcast with the great Tim Ryder. During the podcast, names discussed include but are not limited to Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, Rick Porcello, Francisco Lindor, J.D. Davis, Carlos Beltran, Bobby Valentine, David Wright, Bobby Thompson, Ralph Branca, Alex Cora, Luis Guillorme, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Jonathan Villar, James McCann, J.T. Realmuto, James Paxton, Trevor Rosenthal, Aaron Loup, Mike Piazza, Gil Hodges, Tom Seaver, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Jose Martinez, Alex Gonzalez, James Loney, Moises Alou, John Olerud, Davey Johnson, Pete Alonso, Wilson Ramos, David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto, Corey Oswalt, Luis Rojas, Jeremy Hefner, Jim Eisenreich, Alex Fernandez, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Darryl Strawberry, Albert Almora, and more

Please take a listen.

Kris Bryant Worth A Hefty Price

The New York Mets were able to absolutely steal Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians. Yes, the Mets gave up real value, but by no means was it commensurate with the return.

There are factors for that including Lindor’s expiring deal and the Mets taking on $34.3 million in salary for 2021 alone. Seeing that could make you believe the Mets could obtain Kris Bryant and his $19.5 million in Bryant’s last year before free agency.

Such optimism is misplaced for a number of reasons. First, the Chicago Cubs are somewhat vacillating between tearing it down and competing in a dreadful NL Central. Mostly, the Cubs aren’t going to let their homegrown superstar, the man who fielded what was the final out of their first World Series in 108 years go at a discount.

If you’re a team like the Mets, the question is how far do you go to get Bryant. The answer should be very far.

Yes, Bryant struggled in 2020. His career low 77 wRC+ was largely due to a mixture of his shoulder and oblique issues and just the truly bizarre nature of the 2020 season.

Keep in mind, there should be some positive course correction with Bryant having a .264 BABIP which is well off his career mark of .339. Of course, part of that was his poor contract numbers. He wasn’t squaring balls up or hitting balls hard.

Again, Bryant dealt with an oblique injury. Presumably, that should not be an issue in 2021. If that is the case, Bryant could return to the player who had a 139 wRC+ over the first five seasons of his career.

That 139 mark bests all Mets hitters over that time frame. In fact, it’s the 17th best in all of baseball and third best at his position. His fWAR over that stretch has him as the best third baseman in the game. Notably, his bWAR has him lower down the list, but that said, he’s still among the best in the game.

Keep in mind, he’s not just a third baseman. He’s also spent time at first and all three outfield positions. This would give Luis Rojas some flexibility both in setting the lineup and late in games.

All told, Bryant would fill a huge hole on the roster, and he arguably becomes the second best player on the roster. Put another way, he makes the Mets a SIGNIFICANTLY better team. He may even make them the World Series favorites.

What do you give up for this? A lot!

Rumors are the Cubs have interest in David Peterson. Honestly, he shouldn’t be the hold-up. Peterson shouldn’t be getting in the way of the Mets and the World Series. That goes double when the Mets can possibly obtain another piece from the Cubs.

Sure, there is a line. There always should be one. That’s likely in the vicinity of Francisco Alvarez and Matthew Allan. Keep in mind as the Mets draw this line, they will receive a compensatory second round pick should Bryant not re-sign (presuming he’s extended a qualifying offer).

At the end of the day, the Mets have to ask who exactly in their system is worth not adding the missing piece to this roster. Which prospect or player should stand in the way of the best infield in all of baseball and quite possibly a World Series.

And that right there is why the Mets should be willing to pay a hefty price for Bryant.

Jake Arrieta Feels Like A Jeff Wilpon Move

Before the sale of the New York Mets to Steve Cohen, you could almost be assured the team would have had heavy interest in Jake Arrieta. Really, this was a play out of their playbook. It was a big name, and they could tout adding a Cy Young winner to the rotation.

We saw it just last offseason. They let Zack Wheeler go to the Philadelphia Phillies unchallenged and chastised him as having two half seasons. They would then promote adding former Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and former NLCS MVP Michael Wacha. It didn’t matter neither pitcher was still in that form, they were names the Mets could tout, and so they did.

Looking at Arrieta, it is hard to argue he is anything more than just a name at this point in his career. Like with Porcello and Wacha, he is far removed from the form he once was.

Since signing with the Phillies, Arrieta has seen his ERA rise in each of the last three seasons while seeing his ERA+ drop to a 90. His WHIP has gotten successively worse while seeing his H/9 and K/BB worsen each season. During his time in Philadelphia, he had a 4.36 ERA, 99 ERA+, and a 4.55 FIP. Based upon what we’ve seen of the soon to be 35 year old pitcher, that is only going to get worse.

Over at Baseball Savant, we see Arrieta has ceased getting swing and misses, and the contact against him has gotten increasingly harder. Batters are having an easier time squaring him up, and his velocity is down. When he was throwing 95 MPH with the Chicago Cubs, he was a true ace. At 92, he’s been a fifth starter on the verge of being a pitcher who may be forced into retirement.

Really, when you look at Arrieta, you have to wonder why the Mets would have interest. Arrieta hasn’t been all that good the past two seasons, and he has been trending downward since that Cy Young season in 2015. Of course, with all of these reasons, you could also understand the Mets may pursue him because they feel like they could build on something.

On that note, Arrieta’ GB/FB rate was back to the levels it was when he won the Cy Young in 2015. He was also unlucky last year with a .333 BABIP. Certainly, if you are the Mets, you can look at the addition of Francisco Lindor and their attempts to build an infield in 2021, and you could certainly talk yourself into it working.

If nothing else, it is a plan which would allow David Peterson to begin the year in Triple-A Syracuse. It allows the team to have to only look to rely on one of Joey Lucchesi or Jordan Yamamoto in the rotation. It is a bridge to when Noah Syndergaard is ready. Based on the likely commitment required to sign him, it is entirely possible it will be easy to cut bait with him should he falter.

On those grounds, you can certainly understand the Mets line of thinking. That said, when there are better and higher upside options available like James Paxton, you do wonder why the Mets would push for Arrieta right now. If the team was still operated by Jeff Wilpon, you would understand, and you could see this coming a mile away.

However, now, this move at this time seems odd. Perhaps, the Mets won’t go this route until the rest of the free agent starting pitching market shakes out. Maybe, they know something we don’t. At this point, it is anyone’s guess. We can only hope they know better and their hedging their bets here will pay off in a way it typically didn’t under Jeff Wilpon.

Rick Porcello Reunion With Mets Makes Sense

After needlessly trading Steven Matz to the Toronto Blue Jays an missing out on Trevor Bauer, the Mets are left looking for a depth starting pitcher. Ideally, they want a pitcher who can both allow them to have David Peterson start the year in Triple-A and push Joey Lucchesi when Noah Syndergaard is ready to return to the rotation.

There are still a few options available. There is James Paxton who is coming back from injury and seems eternally injury prone. There is also Taijuan Walker who has had poor velocity and spin on his pitches. The Mets are also talking with Jake Arrieta who has not been the same since leaving the Chicago Cubs.

Seeing the lengths to which the Mets are going to find that one extra starter, you do wonder how long it will take before they consider bringing back Rick Porcello. While it may not be a popular decision, it would be a decision that would make a lot of sense for the Mets.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – Porcello was bad in 2020. In 12 starts, Porcello was 1-7 with a 5.64 ERA and a 1.508 WHIP. He had a career worst 75 ERA+, and he allowed a 11.3 hits per nine. By nearly every measure, this was the worst season of Porcello’s career, and for many, this happening with Porcello being 31 was an indication he was effectively done being a Major League caliber starting pitcher.

Before addressing that, we should consider his August 5 start. In that game, Porcello earned his one and only win as a member of the Mets. Over seven innings, he would allow one earned on five hits while walking none and striking out four. Aside from his winning that game, there was something else unique and important about that game. In that game, the Mets had Luis Guillorme and Andres Gimenez up the middle, and they were flashing the leather.

That game was an important reminder Porcello is a sinkerball pitcher who pitches to contact. Really, he wasn’t a different pitcher in that game as he was in most of the season. The real difference was the defense behind him.

Again, the Mets defense was terrible in most of 2020. In fact, their -22 DRS was the fifth worst in the majors. That’s one of the reasons why Mets pitchers had a .316 BABIP which was the fourth worst in the majors. All told, the Mets defense was horrible, and it severely impacted not just their pitching, but it really derailed their season. It’s at this point we should revisit Porcello’s 2020 season.

Despite the poor results, Porcello had a 3.33 FIP which is indicative of him pitching SIGNIFICANTLY better than his final 2020 results indicated. Over at Baseball Savant, Porcello posted very good exit velocity numbers and was middle of the pack in terms of hard hit rate. Despite that, he yielded an absurdly high .373 BABIP, which was not just the worst of his career by a preposterous margin, but it was also well above his .308 career mark.

Keep in mind, Porcello generated the weakest contact he ever has in his career, and he did that in what was a Mets schedule facing a number of very good offensive teams. He also had the best HR/9 and HR/FB rate of his career. All told, there was absolutely no reason why Porcello should have had a poor year. He induced weak contact, and he was keeping the ball in the ballpark.

Well, no reason except for the atrocious Mets defense. Keep in mind most of the batted balls against him went to the left side of the Mets infield. As we know, that defense has been significantly improved with the addition of Francisco Lindor‘s Gold Glove caliber defense at shortstop, and it will be further improve by having literally anyone other than J.D. Davis at third base.

Suddenly, not matter who is on the mound, those soft balls hit on the left side of the infield will be the sure outs they should have been. Also, those 50/50 balls will suddenly turn in the Mets favor. Maybe, just maybe, they will start getting to some of those balls few teams could ever turn into outs. Put another way, this is now a Mets team built to allow Porcello to be a successful starter.

Keeping in mind Porcello grew up a Mets fan and would be driven for redemption, a reunion could make a lot of sense. This is a Mets team built for him defensively, and this is a rotation in need of just one more starter to sure it up. All told, the Mets should now be looking towards Porcello instead of considering the likes of Arrieta.

Steven Matz Trade A Mistake

One of the things the New York Mets said they were prioritizing depth. That included starting pitching depth. When the Mets traded Steven Matz to the Toronto Blue Jays, they undid some of that.

Yes, we all know Matz had a maddening Mets career. While many expected a breakout in 2020 following a very good second half in 2019, it didn’t materialize. Honestly, we’ll never quite know how much of that was related to the truly bizarre nature of that season.

Regardless, Matz was needed depth. He also has shown himself to be better than the Mets other SP options.

As noted, Joey Lucchesi is really a two pitch pitcher who may belong in the bullpen. Also, David Peterson had extremely suspect peripherals indicating he needs more development time before he can truly be counted on as a fifth starter.

This shouldn’t be read to mean Matz was absolutely reliable or a sure thing. We know that’s not true. However, that’s double true for Lucchesi and Peterson. In these instances, there’s strength in numbers. It’s better to look for 1-2 of three to emerge than need two questionable pieces to pitch well.

That also moves pitchers like Franklyn Kilome, Corey Oswalt, and Jerad Eickhoff up the depth chart and much closer to pitching games for the Mets. The Mets didn’t want them starting games for the Mets in 2021, and now, they’re closer to doing so.

Obviously, the Mets could sign someone to ameliorate this. The problem on that front is it’s difficult to imagine getting a better pitcher with more upside for less than Matz’s $5.2 million. This is also contingent on the Mets actually getting that pitcher or pitchers.

If this was a move to clear payroll for a Trevor Bauer, you should question why Matz’s contract NEEDED to be moved. You also have to question if Bauer is really worth losing at least one of Michael Conforto, Francisco Lindor, Marcus Stroman, or Noah Syndergaard.

If this was about depth, it makes less sense as the Mets acquired what are really three right-handed relief prospects. Drawing your attention back to the summer of 2017, identifying right-handed relief prospects really isn’t Sandy Alderson’s strong suit.

Love or hate Matz, he was real depth. His work with Phil Regan could’ve paid off, and he could’ve been good. He might’ve emerged as a left-handed reliever in the bullpen.

Instead, the Mets opted to eschew starting pitching depth, put more reliance on unproven pitchers, and rely on Alderson to do what he does worst (trading for RHP relief prospects). Maybe this works out, but looking at the complete picture, this trade was a mistake.

Joey Lucchesi May Be Better Sean Gilmartin Or Lefty Seth Lugo

Sean Gilmartin is looked upon much differently for many different reasons, but back in 2015, he was an important piece of the Mets bullpen. That was not necessarily expected.

Gilmartin was a Rule 5 pick from the Atlanta Braves. While the converted minor league starter was first expected to be a left-handed reliever, he turned out to be a key long reliever in the bullpen.

During that 2015 season, he was 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA, 1.186 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, and an 8.5 K/9 in 49 relief appearances and one start. In 14 of those appearances, he went multi-innings. With that, he was an important piece of the bullpen who ate innings for what was a shallow bullpen for most of the year.

That long man role has been oft overlooked, but it is of vital importance. We’ve seen it through Mets history. The 1999 Mets had Pat Mahomes. The 2006 Mets had Darren Oliver. As noted, the 2015 Mets had Gilmartin.

The 2021 Mets could have Joey Lucchesi.

Lucchesi has pitched in parts of the last three seasons with the San Diego Padres, and he has not quite distinguished himself. Overall, he’s made 58 starts and one relief appearance going 18-20 with a 4.21 ERA, 1.280 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, and a 9.3 K/9.

With a 96 ERA+ and a 4.21 FIP, it’s not quite fair to claim he’s a bad starter. However, looking at him, he’s really in a three way battle for that fifth spot when Noah Syndergaard returns.

Looking deeper, the question is how to best utilize the Mets roster this year. Yes, depth is important, and there is the option to put Lucchesi and David Peterson in Triple-A. While that may work for Peterson who needs more time to develop, it may not be what’s best for Lucchesi.

Looking at Lucchesi’s career numbers, opposing batters hit .233/.293/.397 the first time through the order. They hit .233/.288/.406 the second time. The third? Well, it is an ugly .312/.395/.548.

That’s a large reason why he’s averaged just five innings per start in his career. In the modern game, that’s not bad at all, especially from your fifth starter.

Still, like with Seth Lugo with his increased velocity and ability to fully use his curveball as a weapon, there is the question of whether Lucchesi would work better in the bullpen.

Going to Baseball Savant, Lucchesi’s unique churve is a lethal weapon getting a 38.6 Whiff% in 2019 and 47.4 in 2020.

While a phenomenal weapon, Lucchesi really doesn’t have a third pitch to pair with it and what is really a mediocre fastball. At 27, there’s a real question if he could ever develop one to be a truly viable starter in the long term.

However, in the bullpen, Lucchesi and his churve could become elite. He could be a left-handed version of Lugo. Pairing the two together gives the Mets the ability to mix and match them and not leave them struggling to figure things out on those days Lugo is understandably unavailable.

Overall, the Mets need to gauge how to best utilize all of their pitchers and build depth. That depth is both for the bullpen and rotation. It’s not remotely an easy decision, but Lucchesi in the bullpen is one the Mets should very strongly consider.

Mets Should Sign Kolten Wong

The New York Mets got their star in Francisco Lindor. The question now is how to best build the rest of the roster to help the Mets win the division.

There are still some areas which need to be addressed with third base being one of the bigger issues. While J.D. Davis is the incumbent, the Mets do not appear eager to put him there and rightfully so due to Davis’ career -19 DRS and -6 OAA make him completely unplayable there.

Looking forward, one thing Mets GM Jared Porter spoke about addressing run prevention. Another way to phrase that is putting an improved defensive team on the field.

One of the best ways to build the best defensive team would be for the Mets to sign reigning Gold Glover Kolten Wong to play second base. Simply put, Wong is the best defensive second baseman in the game which is why he’s won consecutive Gold Gloves.

Over the past three years, Wong’s 37 DRS is a significant step above the next best player. This is part of the reason why Wong has amassed the fifth best WAR over this timeframe over players whose primary positions over this timeframe has been second base.

Pairing Wong with Lindor would make this easily the best defensive tandem up the middle in the majors. For that matter, it could be better than Edgardo Alfonzo and Rey Ordoñez up the middle. That’s just how good they could be.

This would also be a huge turnaround for the current Mets. Since 2017, Mets second basemen have a -35 DRS, which is third worst in the majors. Over the same time period, their shortstops have had a -62 DRS, which is by far the worst in the majors.

All told, since the Mets last made the postseason, they’ve been the worst defensive team in the majors, and really, it’s not close. Adding Wong to Lindor would turn one of the team’s biggest weaknesses and make it a significant strength.

That means more ground balls become outs, and more double plays get turned. Marcus Stroman and his career 58.6 GB% and Carlos Carrasco with his career 48.6 GB% would become even more formidable pitchers. There’s also sinkerballer David Peterson who could benefit. Really, all Mets pitchers would benefit.

This means pitchers go deeper into games saving the bullpen. That keeps everyone stronger as they work their way through the season and hopefully head to the postseason.

Overall, adding Wong’s glove and league average bat (103 wRC+ since 2017) adds a dynamic to the Mets missing for 20 years. It gives the Mets superior up the middle defense helping the pitching staff and making the overall team better. As a result, signing Wong should now be a priority.