Update: There’s a Part 2 Here. This includes Walker, Phillips and Escobar.
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.
|DRS ‘17||DRS ‘16||UZR ‘17||UZR ‘16|
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.