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Juan Lagares Fielding

Mets Defense Relies on Good Positioning

The Mets defense finished 2016 with a .985 fielding percentage. The National League average was .984. Fielding percentage is the percentage of times that a player handles a batted or thrown ball. It is calculated by the sum of putouts and assists divided by the number of total chances (putouts + assists + errors). It’s important to note that it does not take into account a player’s range.

For instance, Curtis Granderson led the team with 1.000 (he catches what he gets to) and former Gold Glove winner Juan Lagares, who does have great range, was next with .990. Asdrubal Cabrera at short and Neil Walker at second both had a fielding percentage of .986. Overall, the team did a decent job of cleanly fielding what they were able to reach.

Mets Defense – Defensive Runs Saved

Defensive Runs Saved is a statistic that measures the number of runs a player saved or cost his team on defense compared to an average player. Any positive number is above average, and the best fielders typically fall into a range of 15–20 for a season.

The Mets finished 11th in the NL in defensive runs saved with -21. Again, Juan Lagares in center was best on the team with an 8, and Yoenis Cespedes, when playing in left field, was next with a 4. But he was a -7 when in center field. So it’s a good thing he’ll only be playing left field this season. The weakest position on the field was third base, where Wilmer Flores had a -9, David Wright a -8 and Jose Reyes a -6. So Mets pitchers held their breath whenever the ball was hit toward third last season.

Mets Defense – Ultimate Zone Rating

Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) is a sabermetric statistic used to measure fielding. It compares the event that actually happened (hit/out/error) to data on similarly hit balls in the past to determine how much better or worse the fielder did than the average player. UZR calculations are provided at Fangraphs.

Good positioning can help UZR. The Mets were 7th in NL with 0.5 UZR. Over the last three years, the Mets were still 7th with a 14.1. Walker led the team with a 9.3, followed by Lagares (again) with a 5.2. Cespedes had a 3.9 when in left field, but a -10.6 when in center. Surprisingly, Granderson had a 0.3 in center (but only in 251 innings) and a -2.1 in right field (905 innings). The team has done a decent job of positioning their fielders the last three years. They’ll have to continue to do that, along with getting a high strikeout rate from their pitching staff, since they don’t possess much fielding range.

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