Luis Guillorme Has Earned Starting Job
Truth be told, neither J.D. Davis or Dominic Smith have done anything to claim the DH spot. There are a myriad of factors why including the wasted Robinson Cano plate appearances, and the New York Mets shifting between Davis and Smith trying to find out who should get that spot.
So far this season, Smith is hitting .177/.257/.226 with three doubles and nine RBI. Really, he can’t play everyday while he is hitting like that. Sure the strikeouts are down and the quality of contact is rising, but again, there are zero tangible results to justify playing him at all.
For some the answer is to play Davis. Well, that’s not an inspiring choice either. Through 22 games, Davis is hitting .204/.333/.333 with two doubles, one triple, one homer, and six RBI. You dig deeper and see him hitting the ball on the ground half the time, and you see a player who isn’t forcing his way into the lineup.
The problem with this DH analysis is it has been seen as a binary choice between Davis and Smith. To a certain degree, you understand as they were the two best bats for the DH spot. However, that analysis is wrong and was always the wrong approach. Really, it should be about getting the nine best players into the lineup.
That is why Luis Guillorme should be playing everyday.
No, this is not an argument for Guillorme to be the DH. He doesn’t have that kind of bat, and really, it is a waste of what Guillorme brings to the table.
What Guillorme mostly brings is defense. In his limited time at second this year, he has a 2 OAA. That’s a 4 OAA dating back to last season. He can also play a solid shortstop giving Francisco Lindor a break now and then. While Guillorme isn’t a great third baseman, he is certainly better there than Eduardo Escobar, who has struggled there in his career and this season.
Guillorme’s defense is reason enough to play him everyday. That defense makes the team better. His versatility can make the team fresher. Certainly, his ability to play second gives Jeff McNeil a chance to play third, left, or DH. If McNeil moves to left, that gives Mark Canha a day. As noted, it can also give Lindor or Escboar a day.
Another point here is while Guillorme isn’t going to slug like a DH, he gets on base. So far this season, he is hitting .255/.364/.383 with three doubles, one homer, and two RBI. That’s productive.
Go back to Davis and Smith, Guillorme is actually out-hitting them. His OPS is higher, and he has more extra base hits than Smith while having the same as Davis. Keep in mind, Guillorme has just 56 plate appearances to Davis’ 66 and Smith’s 70.
If this were truly a meritocracy, Guillorme has earned the everyday job. He’s out-hit Davis and Smith, and he has contributed defensively more than either one of them ever could. Sooner or later, the Mets need to accept he’s one of their best players, and they need to find a way to play him everyday instead of finding ways to play Davis and Smith when they’re not earning those chances anymore.