Who Should Play Second and Third for the Mets? A Statistical Review

The Mets have signaled that they want to acquire a new second basemen (or maybe a third basemen). Harrison wants to be traded. Frazier, Nunez and Reyes are still available. Who should the Mets pick?

After last year, I’m ready for a change. Is changing just to change a good idea? Maybe. That argument is void of stats though and just filled with anecdotal thoughts poisoned by the Mets play over the last couple of seasons. Here we will look at the offense and defense of the 5 most likely second and third basemen for the New York Mets in the 2018 season.

2017 Stats OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Frazier .344 .428 .335 108 3.0
Nunez .341 .460 .342 112 2.2
Harrison .339 .432 .332 104 2.6
Reyes .315 .413 .312 94 2
Cabrera .351 .434 .338 111 1.3
  DRS ‘17 DRS ‘16 UZR ‘17 UZR ‘16
Frazier 3B 10 -2 6.7 -4.0
Nunez 2B -4 -3 -1.8 -2.3
Nunez 3B 0 -2 -1.9 1.6
Harrison 2B 6 8 0.3 1.2
Harrison 3B 2 n/a 0.9 n/a
Reyes 2B -5 n/a 0.4 n/a
Reyes 3B -5 -6 -2.9 -2.5
Cabrera 2B -6 n/a 0.9 n/a
Cabrera 3B 1 n/a -2.6 n/a

The players essentially break into two tiers offensively that vary wildly by which stat you use to generate ideas of how successful a player is at the plate. If you go by runs created, then Frazier, Nunez and Cabrera are in one Tier with Nunez having both the highest wRC+ and wOBA. In this lens, Cabrera also becomes equally valuable. In this perspective, the Mets sign Nunez and run Cabrera and Nunez out to the field daily. 

From the OBP and wOBA perspective, all of these players are incredibly similar with the exception of Reyes. Here you would retain Cabrera and sign either Frazier or Nunez OR trade for Harrison. 

However, this is the Mets and their defense was atrocious last year. If the Mets are running three corner outfielders every day, then infield defense becomes even more important. Despite putting up bad defense numbers in 2016, Frazier comes out on top. It is also important to note that Reyes only played 207 innings at 2B last year with 279 at 3B. Cabrera only played 274 innings at 2B last year and 350 at 3B From both the UZR and DRS perspective, the Mets best move would be to sign Frazier, trade for Harrison and move Cabrera somehow off the team. 

The above is echoed in the WAR department. Despite being close to the other players offensively, Cabrera’s defense hurts his overall WAR. From a WAR perspective, the ideal move would be to sign Frazier, acquire Harrison and move Cabrera. 

Be careful with comparing the WAR’s of Nunez and Reyes. On the surface it looks like they are close, so close that the question of “is it really worth to spend more Nunez versus a bargain buy like Reyes” will arise. Nunez is far superior offensively. His defense is atrocious. His Def on Fan Graphs is a -3.5. Somehow Reyes got a 1.1, despite a -5 DRS at both 2B and 3B, and -15 DRS at SS. If it comes down to Reyes and Nunez, the money is worth it for Nunez. 

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Reviewing 2017 Projections – David Wright

I almost debated not doing a reviewing projections for David Wright since he never made it back to the majors last year. Here’s what the computer models thought coming into the season:

David Wright
PA AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
2016 164 137 18.00 7 14 3 0.226 0.35 0.438
Projections
MLB.com 310 39.00 11 36 3 0.258 0.352 0.423
Steamer 235 30.00 7 28 3 0.251 0.331 0.4
ZiPS 331 38.00 8 33 4 0.247 0.332 0.38
ESPN 17.00 4 16 2 0.234
Baseball Prospectus 260 35.00 7 28 5 0.268 0.348 0.423
Sporting News 178 20.00 4 24 2 0.236 0.331 0.402
NBC Rotoworld 221 32.00 7 26 1 0.258 0.352 0.403
Rotowire 312 39.00 10 35 5 0.26 0.346 0.41
Baseball America 342 35.00 8 32 4 0.243 0.309 0.355
FBG 2017 255 30.00 7 12 4 0.255
Average 295.5 264.71429 31.5 7.3 27 3.3 0.251 0.337625 0.3995

So when reviewing his projections, it turns out his last season stats and Sporting News Projections were the best at reading the tea leaves that Wright just would not play. I assume that stat projections will be similar this year where they project Wright to put up limited numbers but still see him playing.

It brings pain, sadness and sorrow seeing this happen to the Franchise Part 2.

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Reviewing 2017 Projections – Rene Rivera

In about a month the focus will be on Spring Training, the Mets roster, hopes, dreams, etc and STAT PROJECTIONS. Wonderful Stat Projections. But do they pan out? Let’s take a walk down memory lane going through last year’s projections and seeing how they stood against the test of time.

Rene Rivera
PA AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
2016 2017 185 12.00 6 26 0 0.222 0.291 0.341
Projections
MLB.com 165 13.00 3 17 0 0.224 0.289 0.321
Steamer 138 13.00 4 15 1 0.225 0.285 0.355
ZiPS 277 21.00 6 33 0 0.226 0.281 0.341
ESPN 18.00 7 33 0 0.221
Baseball Prospectus 123 11.00 3 12 0 0.225 0.276 0.348
NBC Rotoworld 228 17.00 6 23 0 0.211 0.269 0.329
Average 200 177 15.5 4.8333333 22.166667 0.1666667 0.222 0.28 0.3388

His actual numbers:

74 G, 237 PA, 218 AB, 23 R, 55 H, 9 2B, 10 HR, 35 RBI, .252 BA, .305 OBP, .431 SLG

Rene Rivera, now an Angel, split time with the Mets and the Cubs last year. His slash line performed well. He hit 30 points above the projection, 25 points above OBP and almost 100 points better in slugging. The latter is due to him doubling homers vs what was projected. He was also given considerably more playing time than projected.

When looking at projections, the computers all handled Rene about the same, so they all failed about the same.

Rene is now an Angel. He would have been nice to bring back but he also doesn’t fit long or short term as a Met. (Short term only if the Mets went all in for this upcoming season).

 

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A House Divided – Thoughts on Adrian Gonzalez and Jay Bruce

I am rarely critical of a low-risk, high-reward signing. I think it’s in my nature. Maybe I played Pokemon and Magic the Gathering too long as a child/adolescent so I’m used to spending $2.99 on a pack of cards (please, do not inform me on what they cost now) for a chance of getting something amazing, an elusive Charizard I never caught, but being completely fine with settling for a Bulbasaur and a Weedle.

Y’all still with me?

I’ve supported the vast majority of low-risk, high-reward signings the Mets have made in the past but I haven’t completely come around yet on Adrian Gonzalez. After some reflection and contemplation while sitting in traffic on McCarter Highway in Newark, I’m starting to see through the haze why I feel this way.

I haven’t come around yet on the Jay Bruce signing yet either.

Why? I didn’t know at first for a while either. Jay Bruce is the type of player I generally love. He put up good numbers last season and he was quiet. In some parallel universe where I’m athletic and overall just amazing, I’d like to imagine I’m a baseball player like Jay Bruce (or Lucas Duda. Or Carlos Beltran).

But the Mets are like a young adult who is trying to figure out life. Their physical home is a mess and the car is just alright. Signing Bruce was like getting a new car, which is nice and almost needed, but it didn’t address the most pressing need, that their home has a huge hole in the ceiling and it’s letting in rain, snow and ground balls up the middle thanks to a limited second base defense.

Jay Bruce is nice, but it didn’t attack the most pressing need.
If Gonzalez works, it will be very nice, but it doesn’t fill the most pressing need.

In the past I’ve looked the other way but this year I find myself more cynical than ever. After every signing part of me, a growing part of my Mets-soul, feels it will be the last move the Mets will make this off-season. If the Mets off-season ends now, this is not a good allocation of resources. If the Mets acquire a 2B/3B with above average defense it will flip to a good off-season. If the Mets additionally acquire a starter pitcher for depth it will be a great off-season. We could still have a great off-season. We can also have a terrible one still.

I’m not used to be cynical yet. I’m not ready to uninspired by looking at a roster that looks the same as last year minus Neil Walker and plus Gonzalez. I want to believe and I don’t want to be this way.

Maybe a little low-risk, high-reward is what I need.

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Mets Picture of the Day: TJ Rivera Citi Scoreboard

TJ Rivera on the Citi Field Scoreboard

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Mets Picture of the Day: Matt Winaker

Matt Winaker on the scoreboard in Brooklyn.

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Mets Picture of the Day: Cespedes AB in SD

Cespedes batting in San Diego!

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Mets Picture of the Day: Amazin Starts Here!

Duda, Lagares, Plawecki and Conforto on a huge advertisement at MCU Park in Brooklyn – which barring a reunion with Duda this off season, will probably be replaced.

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Mets Picture of the Day: Robert Gsellman Banner

Gsellman banner outside of Citi Field!

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Mets Picture of the Day: Lugo Pitching in San Diego

Seth Lugo pitching in San Diego!

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