As of today, the Mets find themselves three games out of first place in the National League East.
Night after night, we focus on how the pitching staff performed and how effective the offense was.
Is David Wright out of his slump?
What will Ike Davis do at the plate tonight?
Isn’t it great that Jose Reyes is back and healthy and starting to be a thorn in pitcher’s side?
A great deal of credit goes to the emergence of Mike Pelfrey to compliment Johan Santana. R.A Dickey and Jonathon Niese have shown promise as well.
However, we tend to forget how important fielding, throwing, and catching is in this game.
Numbers Don’t Lie
The Mets are fourth in the National League with 31 errors. This is good enough for seventh in all of Major League baseball.
Jose Reyes Playing Shortstop Every Day Saves Runs
The other night Gary Cohen and Ron Darling started talking about how improved the defense is during their telecast.
Cohen cited the fact that having Jose Reyes back at shortstop makes a huge difference.
I tend to agree.
Jose’s range allows him to make a number of plays for his pitchers that weren’t made last season due to his absence.
He permits the outfield to play a few steps deeper because he can get back quickly to cover shallow fly balls.
His presence allows Wright to play a step or two closer to the bag. How many doubles has that saved this year?
Don’t forget about Jose’s arm.
How many more double plays have the Mets been able to turn due to his cannon?
How many soft ground balls to short have been put outs versus infield hits?
Ike Davis Isn’t Just An Upgrade Offensively
It has been years since the Mets have had a decent first basemen defensively.
Ike Davis showed us early he was going to be an upgrade for the infield. His propensity to catch fly balls while flipping over railings is not the only thing he can do with his glove.
Ike’s confidence in his ability in the field is evident to Ron Darling.
Darling stated that you can tell how good a first basemen is defensively just by watching how far away from the line he plays.
Ike isn’t afraid to play off the line. This does one important thing for the Mets. It closes up the hole on the right side of the infield, limiting how much ground Luis Castillo has to cover.
Davis’ height is also an advantage. Standing at 6’5″, his reach has taken away a number of hits already this season that would be out of reach by shorter first basemen.
Ike has also displayed an above average ability to pick low throws out of the dirt, a necessity for a solid defensive first baseman.
Angel Pagan has played a very good centerfield this season. His speed gives him the ability to cover a great deal of ground, which is needed at Citi Field.
His glove has been a great asset to the Mets pitching staff as well. There have been a number of occasions where Pagan has made a great catch to rob a hit from an opposing batter.
Which player leads the Mets in outfield assists?
Most people would answer Jeff Francoeur.
Surprise, it is Angel Pagan. His six assists puts him in second place in all of major league baseball. (Francoeur has five which is good for seventh).
Speaking of Jeff Francoeur, the reputation his right arm carries slows down opposing runners routinely.
Hitters tend to think carefully about stretching a single into a double or going from first to third when the ball is hit out to Frenchy.
I always thought he was over rated as an outfielder when before he got to the Mets. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he played for the Braves.
Although his break on the ball isn’t pretty, it is effective. His range is above average and is an aid to the pitching staff.
Jason Bay was brought to the Mets for his power. Obviously, he is lacking in that department, but his defense was underrated.
He has given the Mets a much-needed upgrade over his recent colleagues that have patrolled that position. Daniel Murphy, Nick Evans, and Moises Alou didn’t exactly help the Amazin’s defensively.
Barajas and Blanco
Early in May I complimented Omar Minaya’s decision to bring Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco to the Mets.
I get the feeling that both Barajas and Blanco have a plan for every situation their pitchers face. More importantly, their pitchers appear to believe in the plan that B-Squared has provided.
They continue to handle the pitching staff with confidence and they should receive some of the praise for the success of their pitchers.
If the Mets continue to get good starting pitching and continue to play at this high level defensively, they will remain in contention for the playoffs.