The New York Mets‘ defense got a big boost when they traded for elite defender Jake Marisnick.
On Thursday, the New York Mets acquired one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball in Jake Marisnick. That’s a huge deal for the Mets. They finished with -94 DRS in 2019, which was the second-worst in baseball. It’s also the second-worst all-time for a team with a winning record.
Adding Jake Marisnick is a huge step to changing that. Marisnick graded out as a top-10 defensive outfielder in baseball last season by OAA. That’s with only playing 733 innings in center field. When his innings match those of the leaders in OAA like Victor Robles and Kevin Kiermaier he moves up to the third-best in baseball.
That’s a huge improvement for the Mets. They got negative defensive production out of Conforto, Nimmo, and Lagares in CF in 2019. So, having Marisnick patrolling CF alone is a huge improvement, but it’s not the only one. He also improves the defense by pushing both Nimmo and Conforto into full-time corner outfield roles.
Nimmo and Conforto may be negative defenders in CF, but they’re both above-average defenders in the corner outfield spots. An outfield of Nimmo, Marisnick, and Conforto could be one of the best defensive outfields in baseball. That’s a huge step up from an outfield that was one of the five worst in baseball in 2019.
This isn’t going to fix all the Mets’ defensive issues. Most of those issues revolve around the infield, where the Mets were the worst in baseball defensively. The Mets also have a stable of ground ball pitchers in their rotation, which lessens the effect of this signing.
However, it’s easy to forget how many hits, especially extra-base hits, could have been avoided with a good defensive outfielder, let alone an elite one. Marisnick coming in should limit damage done against the Mets on fly balls. That means less runners on and less runners in scoring position. That, in turn, means less pitches for the starters, which will limit the work the bullpen has to do.
No, Marisnick is not the most valuable player. He isn’t going to single handily fix the Mets’ defensive woes, or make the pitchers better. However, he puts everyone on the team in a better position to succeed. That’s all anyone can ever ask for from this kind of trade.