Are the Mets the worst defensive team in MLB?

Though advanced defensive metrics can be a faulty way to measure success, they also have an important place in today’s game. Among the more respected of them is John Dewan’s Runs Saved, which measures precisely what you might imagine it measures. Runs Saved is a cumulative stat taking into account a fielder’s range and ability to convert a batted ball into an out, along with his effectiveness completing position-specific tasks such as turning double plays or throwing out would-be base stealers.

Heading into Wednesday’s play, the Mets ranked dead last in the Majors with -26 runs saved, meaning their defense had cost them 26 runs over the first three weeks of the season. Only one position player, Angel Pagan, had a positive Runs Saved total (so keep that in mind before bashing Pagan for his slow start at the plate).

To compare, the second-worst team in baseball was the Phillies, with -18 runs saved. The best was the Rangers with +14 runs saved.

FanGraphs’ Ultimate Zone Rating (a metric similar to Runs Saved) tells a similar story, showing the Mets with a -7.4 UZR through 18 games, third-worst in the National League. Among the foremost culprits are David Wright, Willie Harris and Carlos Beltran, who possess UZRs of -2.9, -2.9 and -2.2, respectively.

(It’s worth noting that the Mets rank 17th in baseball with just 10 fielding errors on the year — if nothing else, a condemnation of traditional defensive statistics.)

The struggles have been both telling and (the Mets hope, at least) somewhat aberrational. The Mets were an above-average defensive team last season, thanks in large part to Pagan and Ike Davis, one of the best defensive first basemen in the league.

Right now, though, they’re simply not repeating that performance. And it’s costing them runs.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

6 Comments

And this is even with Terry Collins focusing on fundamentals? Guess it goes to show: you can work on stuff all you want but if you don’t have the talent, it ain’t gonna change.

All it is, is a shame. By now, Terry Collins would have been fired, if I was Fred Wilpon. The team just won’t win. I think, they have some outstanding players, but are not being encouraged to show it.

You would have fired Collins 3 weeks into the season? I’m glad you don’t run any team. That’s worse than Steinbrenner! Collins has mostly done a good job as far as I am concerned with the in game moves he has made. It is not his fault if the talent on the field is not capable of playing at a major league level. Unfortunately a lot of those players are left over from the old regime and there is nothing that Alderson can do about it.

Good post, something to think about for a change.

For starters, our LF options have been struggling mightily. Harris and Hairston have been losing balls in the lights and dropping fly balls that hit their gloves. I can’t think this will continue, and it’s coming from guys who aren’t even supposed to be out there much anyway.

Beltran is adapting to a new position, has really misplayed 2 balls that I remember so far that cost us a few runs. I think we all expected that.

Wright has been a mess for years now. He has become somewhat of a basket case mentally (in the field and at the plate). Lots of doubt, lots of indecision, and his fundamentals in the field and at the plate are horrid these days.

I think managers tend to baby Wright, because he’s the face of the franchise. The next time he ole’s one of those ground balls I’d yank him out and put someone in who will get in front of the ball

Like who? Daniel Murphy?

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