The Mets have not had a Gold Glove winner since 2014, the longest streak in MLB. But, does this mean they are a poor fielding team?
The Mets last had a Gold Glove winner in 2014 when good-field, no-hit Juan Lagares won the award.
No team in baseball has gone longer than the Mets, and this year they’ve been shut out again.
Unlike the annual awards like the Most Valuable Player and Cy Young, that stick out and always have players in the running whose names are recognized by even the most casual fans of baseball; Gold Glove winners often exist in obscurity.
For instance, did you know Griffin Canning, a pitcher for the Angels, is a finalist, and he is joined by Evan White (Seattle) at first base, Tucker Barnhart (Reds) at catcher, and Nico Hoerner (Cubs) at shortstop?
While the award may not be “sexy,” it remains a prestigious achievement for the players and the teams they represent.
But for teams like the Mets who are rarely represented (even in the class of finalists), does that transfer to a poor fielding team?
Let’s take a look. Note: Baseball-Reference provides all stats
Mets Team Fielding Status Among MLB Teams
Team Errors: Not too bad. The major league average in 2020 was 43. The Mets finished with 46.
Team fielding Percentage: Uh-oh. It doesn’t get any worse than being dead last in the league. The Mets at .976 were far away from Houston, the best in the majors at .991.
Runs Allowed Per Game: Not good. The Mets allowed five runs a game (5.13) while Cleveland held the opposition to less than four runs a game (3.88). Rationalize if you wish and put the burden on pitching, but the numbers stand.
Defense Efficiency: This stat measures the percentage of balls put in play that is converted to outs. The Mets were fourth-worst in the league at .668. Only Washington, Boston, and Philadelphia fared worse in this category.
Defensive Runs Saved: The higher the number, the better. St. Louis was the best, with 33 runs saved by their defense. The league average is 1. The Mets finished at -1.
Mets: Is There A Correlation Between GG And Team Fielding
Can we say there is a correlation between a team that doesn’t win Gold Gloves and a team’s overall fielding?
Maybe not directly, but it’s safe to say something is going on here with the Mets, and it’s not good.
Suffice to say, the Mets are not a good fielding team, as supported by the above findings.
More significantly, fielding, as indicated before, is not “sexy” in baseball today. Players don’t get paid by their fielding production – power is king. Nevertheless, you’ve gotta catch and throw the ball accurately to win games.
It goes without saying fielding is an area the Mets need to concentrate on more, but will they?
Mets: Who Are The Culprits
So, are there players the Mets should be taking a second look at if indeed they intend to rise to the top in 2021?
I don’t have an algorithm or the time to answer the question.
But remember this. The accent on improving a team’s fielding has to come from the top, with a GM who considers it to evaluate players he’s adding to the team.
And down to the coaches and the manager who talk about it every day, forcing the team into repetitive drills that make the run-down play the same as scrambling some eggs for breakfast.
Kindergarten stuff may even be in order with the Mets, via a Kangaroo Court that “fines” a player $100 every time a cut-off man is missed or a player is out of his prescribed position. (Contributions to a charity, of course)
The Mets Plate Is Full – But…
With new ownership and changes at the top coming in, the Mets have a full plate and a list of priorities that may or may not leak down to something as “mundane” as team fielding.
Efforts are underway to revamp the Mets Analytics Department with the addition of new and more personnel and to see to the needs of a digressing farm system.
But fielding has to do with how the game is played on the field, where games are won and lost.
Moreover, fielding is all about fundamentals related to a player’s experience as he’s coming up through the Mets system.
For instance, ask the question was Amed Rosario, a major league shortstop when the Mets brought him up as a widely hailed “Met Of The Future”? Was Michael Conforto provided instruction to play all outfield positions, including where the Mets have him today in centerfield, or is he learning as he goes?
Wouldn’t it be something, though, if Dominic Smith follows the unexpected rise of the Yankees Clint Frazier as the next finalist or winner of a Gold Glove, to become the first award winner for the Met since 2014?