Eduardo Escobar In LF For WBC Helps Mets
Eduardo Escobar is going to play in the World Baseball Classic for Venezuela. Venezuela has a lot of talent in the infield, but outside Ronald Acuña Jr., they do not have a lot of talent in the outfield. As a result, there have been discussions about Escobar playing left field in the WBC.
Obviously, if the New York Mets had an issue with this, they would attempt to prevent Escobar from playing out in left. As a general rule, Venezuela would seek to acquiesce the Mets request. However, that is not what is happening here.
Instead, the Mets are looking to play Escobar in left field during spring training. Make no mistake, this isn’t just to help Escobar be in a position to play well out there for Venezuela. Rather, they are doing this to help the Mets in 2023.
If you recall last season, the Mets opted to have Escobar as the short side platoon for Luis Guillorme. For a moment, it seemed like Escobar lost the third base job forever as Brett Baty made his Major League debut. If not for Baty’s torn thumb ligament, Escobar may never have played third base for the Mets again.
In fact, there is an open question as to whether he is the best fit for the Mets in 2023. As noted here previously, with the elimination of the shift, Guillorme should be the Mets second baseman. As others have argued, Baty is the Mets best option at third because of his offensive potential, and the fact Escobar has not been a good Major League third baseman.
In 2022, Escobar had a -6 OAA at third, and he was a -3 OAA the previous season. Long story short, Escobar is not a good third baseman. Listening to Buck Showalter, he is going to prioritize defense and rightfully so. That should mean less of Escobar at third.
Not playing Escobar is justified, but that is not the same as saying he is not an important part of this team. Obviously, he profiles well as a platoon option at DH with Daniel Vogelbach. It should also be noted the Mets only have four outfielders on the roster. They could (and probably should) move Jeff McNeil out there.
However, it would make sense to see if Escobar can play out there. If he is going to be a semi-regular or utility player, he is going to have to play more than just second and third. He needs to learn left to be of more utility to the Mets.
Overall, the WBC presents an easy cover for the Mets to get a look at Escobar in left. Truth be told, the Mets needed to do this anyway. As a result, the WBC presented a unique opportunity for the Mets, and they took advantage of an opportunity to make their 2023 team more versatile.