Mets Need To Stop Playing J.D. Davis At Third Base
For two nights in a row, J.D. Davis made errors which cost the New York Mets dearly. In back-to-back nights, his defense was a direct cause of Taijuan Walker and David Peterson being unable to navigate through five innings.
The problems with Davis at third are multi-faceted. He sometimes has difficulty hitting balls hit right at him. He doesn’t have range. While he has a strong arm, he seemingly has the yips where he is taking multiple steps before releasing the ball.
Honestly, this is a player who is crossed up right now, and it is an adventure when he is out there. Right now, his play is on par with Todd Hundley in left field or Mike Piazza at first base. Put another way, the Mets are putting a player in a position to fail, and despite Davis’ best efforts, he’s failing miserably.
This is not a direct reflection on the effort. We all saw the reports of Davis working with Gary Disarcina and Francisco Lindor. There is really nothing to doubt the effort. That said, there is every reason to doubt he can play third base or any position.
Since joining the Mets in 2019, Davis has a -19 DRS at third base. That is the worst at the position by a significant margin. In fact, on just his play at third base alone, he’s the fifth worst defender in the majors. When you include his -9 DRS in left field, he surpasses Jurickson Profar as the worst fielder in all the majors.
The Mets were attempting to hide him at third, and they thought putting him next to Lindor would help. Seeing him in action this year and over the past three years, it’s not working. It can’t work.
Also, keep in mind, the Mets are not just trying to hide Davis’ glove. Because they refused to make the hard decisions, they put Pete Alonso at first pushing Dominic Smith to left field. That put Brandon Nimmo to center. Of all those moves, Nimmo in center seems to be the only one working well. That’s the Mets getting lucky.
The Smith in left field is another factor. The Mets left side defense is atrocious. He and Davis combined are working to neutralize Lindor. Honestly, what is the point of getting Lindor if you’re going to surround him by terrible defenders? That’s like putting a great sound system in a Ford Pinto.
The bigger problem is the Mets pitching staff. We saw it with Walker and Peterson, and we will see it with Marcus Stroman. In fact, we will also see it with Jacob deGrom. The Mets have a ground ball pitching staff. That issue will further compound it self when Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard return from the IL.
Overall, the Mets have built a team based on ground ball pitching. That is why you could believe you can get away with Smith in left and Nimmo in left. That’s all well and good. However, you can’t assemble a ground ball staff and put literally take the worst defensive third baseman in the majors and make him the starter.
The Mets decision is compounded by the fact they have Luis Guillorme, who is a great defender. We also see Guillorme is hitting to start the season. He’s a grinder who is just never going to give up. Case-in-point is Guillorme’s at-bat last night. The Mets were down 12 with two outs in the ninth, and he got a base hit after battling in a seven pitch at-bat.
Overall, when you look at how the Mets built this team, Davis cannot start. When you look at how mightily, he’s struggling, Davis cannot start. When you see his numbers over the past three years, Davis cannot start. When you see the other options available, Davis cannot start.
Yes, this is getting redundant, but then again, so is the Mets insistence on trying to make Davis an everyday player. They tried. Davis tried. It’s not working, and they are putting an entire season at risk by doing so. It’s time to make Davis the strong bench player he was always meant to be and allow Guillorme and/or Jonathan Villar play in his stead.