Realmuto or No? Using DRC+

This week is DRC+ week at Baseball Prospectus where they debuted a nifty new stat to figure out how good a hitter really is. If you haven’t checked it out, go do it! It’s a nifty way to check out how good players are to each other. For context, here are the Mets DRC+ leaders from last year:

In that spirit let’s talk about Realmuto. The Mets are rumored to be after Realmuto and Realmuto will cost the Mets at least one of Conforto or Nimmo. Last year:

  • Nimmo DRC+ 119
  • Realmuto DRC+ 113
  • Conforto DRC+ 112

Which is slightly misleading because overall, Conforto is better than Nimmo and this would suggest that Nimmo/Conforto are basically Realmuto when it comes to production at the plate.

Realmuto’s value comes from him being a catcher, and that it will probably be easier for the Mets to replace Nimmo or Conforto’s on the free agent market. Let’s look at DRC+’s for free agent outfielders in 2018:

  • Harper 135
  • Pollock 113
  • Brantley 124
  • McCutchen 116
  • Cruz 132

And it wouldn’t be fair to not at least address the other free agent catchers the Mets could consider:

  • Grandal 115
  • Ramos 109
  • Maldonado 73

Let’s break this down. First, from the offensive perspective Maldonado doesn’t make sense. The current options on the Mets are better and he would really be a solution for offense.

The Grandal comparison isn’t fair either because age. Realmuto should have more years ahead of him of the same if not better DRC+ while Grandal should start to decline.

The same is true for the outfield situation. Cruz and Harper are not really that close. McCutchen had a good year last year, but the amount of good years he has left is probably a lot less than Conforto who is still in the upward arc of his career.

So the question really is do you take Grandal/Ramos through the decline while holding onto Nimmo/Conforto through their upward rise or do you lose one of Conforto/Nimmo, for several years of Realmuto in his prime and hope to replace Conforto/Nimmo with someone comparable?

The big splash move for the Mets would be to sign Harper and then Nimmo becomes expendable. While it stinks for a personality point, there’s no denying that moving from an 88 DRC in Plawecki to 113 in Realmuto will drastically improve the offense. Harper, a generational player, absorbs the loss of Nimmo several times over. It’s also unlikely the Mets do this.

Also knowing the injury history of the Mets, should they trade Nimmo/Conforto since who knows when Cespedes actually comes back?

When you look at Realmuto’s numbers, and consider his age as a sign of his trajectory, it’s hard to say no to a trade for him even if the Mets have to give up Nimmo. But then the Mets will need to make at least one, possibly two outfield signings to make up for it. Thanks to DRC+, we can see there are players available with similar production to Nimmo/Conforto, but at a much higher price.

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