Outfielder Jake Marisnick may be an unsung hero for the 2020 New York Mets thanks to his spectacular defense.
One of my major concerns heading into the 2020 season for the New York Mets is their defense. I don’t think I’m alone in this regard. The franchise has regularly punted in this aspect of the game.
The outfield alignment is as concerning as anywhere else. On Opening Day, there’s a good chance right fielder Michael Conforto is the best defender out there. Even Scooter could use some improvement.
In center field we should find Brandon Nimmo for the majority of starts with the left field spot wide open for plenty of changes. J.D. Davis looks like the man with the best chance at playing there to begin the year with Yoenis Cespedes’ comeback potentially taking some starts away.
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Beyond those two already defensively challenged men—assuming Cespedes isn’t back to his spry and younger self—we could see Dominic Smith and even Matt Adams take reps there. Both are natural first basemen. While Pete Alonso is around and healthy, they should only start there sparingly.
There is one man who can help the Mets out in a big way. Outfielder Jake Marisnick was brought in this winter to help supplement the center field defense.
The team should use him as a late-inning replacement plenty with Nimmo sliding from center to left field to protect a lead with a much better defensive alignment.
Things don’t always work out this way. Nevertheless, it’s the situation the team is in right now.
When the orange and blue landed Marisnick, I think a large portion of the fan base felt underwhelmed. In a winter where Mookie Betts looked possible, Marisnick arrived to the Amazins with zero fanfare. I don’t blame anyone for feeling this way. He’s a lifetime .227 hitter.
Although Marisnick lacks the offensive production we prefer from our big leaguer players, he has routinely shown off some superb defense. He has a lifetime 8.5 Defensive WAR. The 7.5 total he posted as a member of the Houston Astros alone would place him sixth all-time in Mets franchise history.
The Mets haven’t had a Gold Glove winner since Juan Lagares took home the award in 2014. They’re unlikely to snap the drought this year with Marisnick only seeing part-time action. For those hoping to see the hardware return to Queens, Marcus Stroman is probably the best bet.
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Defense, at times, is an underrated aspect of building a baseball team. In these offensive-focused times we live in, expect Marisnick to be the one who many of the Mets pitchers enjoy seeing on the field most.