New York Mets Player Evaluations: Catcher Robinson Chirinos

The New York Mets received minimal production from the catcher position all season, and bringing in Robinson Chirinos at the trade deadline did nothing to change that. At 36-years old, the veteran catcher did hit 100 points better with the Mets.

Chirinos struggled mightily as a member of the Texas Rangers. He went 5-for-42 with a .119 batting average in 14 games and was a very questionable acquisition by Brodie Van Wagenen. The Mets had Tomas Nido healthy and ready to return from the COVID injured list, but the Mets opted to go outside the organization for another catcher.

Time in Queens

During his month with the Mets, he received consistent playing time and found some consistency with the bat. Chirinos had seven hits in 32 tries and hit his only home run of the season. His defense behind the plate was anything but consistent, with four wild pitches and failing to throw out a runner in five attempts.

Chirinos hitting struggles likely came from half of his batted balls being on the ground and only an 84.5 average exit velocity. He also only had one ball hit on the barrel all season and showed a much longer swing than he had in the past. The pitch framing also continued to hamper his game as he had a -2 runs extra strikes.

At this point, Chirinos is just a platoon catcher who can do damage against lefties (.259 AVG, .444 SLG). He is heading into his age-37 season and only hit .162 on the season with poor defense. Chirinos has an option year for the 2021 season. The $1 million buy out to decline it seems like pettiness for the Wilpons to leave Steve Cohen to spend money on a player he does not want. There is no future for him with the Mets and likely only receives minor league offers in the offseason.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 20 (20), Only one season over .250 in his career.

Power: 20 (30), Career .431 slugging.

Run: 20 (20), Might be slower than Wilson Ramos (5.01 average home to first time).

Arm: 35 (30), -2 stolen base runs saved in 2020.

Field: 25 (20), -5 defensive runs saved in 2020.

Overall: 20 (20), Hard to believe there is anything left for Chirinos in 2021.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Center Fielder Jake Marisnick

The New York Mets brought in Jake Marisnick before the 2020 season as a defensive specialist to replace Juan Lagares. Marisnick also brought in more power than Lagares, but injuries limited him to only 33 at-bats over the short 60 game season.

The Mets also brought in Marisnick as a good bat to start against left-handed pitching. Despite his career average being slightly higher versus lefties, his career slugging percentage is 50 points higher against southpaws. Marisnick also missed plenty of time throughout the season while battling a hamstring injury, which kept him out on two different occasions.

Lefty Specialist

Marisnick played in 16 games but only started 8 times. In those starts, he was very productive slashing, .385./.407/.731 with two home runs and five doubles. Overall, he also batted .375/.412/.688 against left-handed pitching but was very respectable with a .294 average and .529 slugging against righties.

All of this was done in a small sample size, but his 30.4% line drive rate would have been the highest of his career. Marisnick also had the lowest launch angle (7.8) and highest pull rate (60.9%) in his career, which usually does not bode well for someone with below-average exit velocity.

His defense also tailed off a little, and it likely had to do with his leg issues. Marisnick had a negative defensive runs saved and had zero outs above average, the lowest of his career. With a whole offseason to recover, those numbers should return the gold glove level they were in prior years.

Marisnick heads into free agency with a significantly lower value than he should. The Mets do not have any better defensive options in center field, and giving Marisnick another opportunity should benefit the overall team defense. On the year, Marisnick batted .333 (11-for-33) with two home runs and five RBIs. Though the average likely falls in a full season, he is still a quality depth piece.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 80 (30), Marsinick is a career .220 hitter, so anything near .300 is a reach.

Power: 55 (40), Good power but 15 home runs is likely his ceiling.

Run: 60 (60), Top 5% in baseball with a 29.2 ft/sec sprint speed.

Arm: 45 (40), Arm has declined in center over the last few years, would translate better in the corner spots.

Field: 45 (70), If he can get healthy, he will return to his top tier glove work.

Overall: 55 (50), It was a good season with the bat; it will regress over a full season, but his glove makes him a major league level player.

 

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Third Baseman Todd Frazier

As we move closer to the obscure players to wear a New York Mets uniform, we look at Todd Frazier. After spending two seasons with the Mets and not receiving a call from the team during free agency, Brodie Van Wagenen opted to bring him back at the trade deadline.

The LLWS hero from Toms River, New Jersey, made his triumphant return to Flushing in September. After spending half the season with the Texas Rangers, he batted .241/.322/.380 with two home runs, seven RBIs, and seven doubles. Frazier’s power numbers were down, but the Mets wanted his right-handed power potential back on the roster.

Return to the Blue and Orange

After playing in 31 games with the Rangers, he only played in 14 (12 starts) with the Mets. They liked how he matched up against lefties, hitting .343 against them with the Rangers. Frazier also batted under .200 against righties, but those splits reversed with the Mets. He batted .217 against southpaws and .231 against the right-handers.

Frazier’s points of concern are his strikeout (24.4%) and walk rate (6.4%), heading in opposite directions. Heading into his age-35 season and posting his lowest hard-hit rate (31.3%) since 2017 (30.4%) make it hard for any team to use him in an everyday role. Frazier’s role likely comes as a platoon player, getting his at-bats against left-handers.

His biggest impacts came away from the batter’s box. Frazier provided a steady glove at third base with a two outs above average in a small sample size with the Mets. He also hurled a one-two-three inning, with a strikeout during his knuckleball pitching cameo against the Atlanta Braves. Pete Alonso also attributed a few good games to using Frazier’s bat as well.

It is impossible to see the Mets bring back Frazier on their team option for 2021. Declining the option has a $1.5 million buyout, which almost seemed like a petty move by the Wilpon’s to force new owner Steve Cohen to pay a player that should not have been brought back in the first place. As good as a personality that Frazier is, he will likely hit the free-agent market once again.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 30 (25), Frazier has one season above .250 since 2016.

Power: 45 (35), .382 was the lowest slugging percentage of his career.

Run: 20 (20), Bottom 6% in sprint speed (24.2 ft/sec)

Arm: 50 (45), Lacks the power it once had but still very accurate, especially starting double plays.

Field: 45 (40), Still a reliable glove at third base but moving towards below average with his range.

Overall: 40 (30), Useful as a platoon for lefties, but he is in the bench player years of his career.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Center Fielder Brandon Nimmo

Brandon Nimmo had a very underrated year in 2020 for the New York Mets continuing to hold down the leadoff spot in their order. His incredible ability to combine his walks and power made him an instrumental player in the Mets order. Despite his amazing offensive prowess, he ranked as one of the worst defensive center fielders in baseball.

Nimmo started the season slow hitting the ball but his ability to get on base with ease. Through his first 18 games, he hit .218 with a .427 on-base percentage and 18 walks with the same amount of strikeouts. In the rest of his 37 games, his numbers were on an All-Star level. There is a slight caveat, most of his at-bats came against right-handed pitchers.

Either way, his slash line of .305/.393/.534 with six home runs and 13 RBIs is very impressive. His walk rate and strikeouts rates also decreased because he was more aggressive early in the count. It was Nimmo’s first season, where his strikeout rate finished below 20%. He also kept his walk rate in the top 10% in the league. Nimmo also became someone defenses could not shift against. His wOBA against the shift increased by almost 200 points, and it was due to him raising his average on offspeed pitches. He batted .233 in 2020 compared to a lousy .032 during the 2019 season.

Defensive Struggles

Nimmo was forced into center field duty because none of their better defensive players could produce like him offensively. He had a -4 outs above average and a -5 defensive runs saved in center field. Despite having good speed, he could not combine it with getting good jumps and taking correct angles to the ball. Nimmo held his own in right field, but it is tough to see the Mets going forward with him as their everyday center fielder during 2021.

He is heading into his second year of arbitration and will likely get somewhere around $6 million-$8 million in an increased salary. Nimmo’s ability to combine a great eye at the plate with good power makes him a versatile leadoff hitter. The drawbacks come in his center field defense and that he became a platoon player as the season carried on, only hitting .180 against lefties.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 60 (55), Hitting lefties will be the difference between Nimmo being a .300 and .270 hitter.

Power: 60 (60), Would have been on pace for 23 home runs in a full season.

Run: 50 (45), Lost a step this season but still capable of batting leadoff and stealing 10-15 bases.

Arm: 45 (45), 3 Outfield Assists on the Year.

Field: 45 (40), Can’t play center field but should be serviceable everywhere else.