Some of the best New York Mets have some obvious great qualities but they also bring some underrated ones with them to the field.
On the current New York Mets roster, many of the most prominent players are known for particular aspects of their game. Jeff McNeil’s trademark thus far in his career has been his high batting average; he hit .349 in the first half of 2019 before finishing the year at a still-excellent .318 mark. Mets fans adore Brandon Nimmo’s patience at the plate and ability to draw well-timed walks. And I need not remind you of what a power threat Pete Alonso is at the plate.
But in baseball, it is rare for a player who excels in only one area to have a lasting career. Versatility is always a useful aspect of any ballplayer’s game. In 2020’s shortened season, with mid-season transactions unlikely and a limited minor league taxi squad, it will be more valuable than ever for major leaguers to contribute on the field in multiple ways.
The Mets may not have the most balanced roster in all of baseball, but they do possess a group of very talented players who provide value in obvious and non-obvious areas. Here are a few underrated strengths of current everyday Mets players.
Jacob deGrom: His defense
Beneath the piles of strikeouts, innings, and scoreless starts, one of the more underrated aspects of Jacob deGrom’s game is his defense. Generally, a pitcher does not field nearly as many balls per game as his infielders. Still, it is a huge boost to a team if its pitchers can field the ball as confidently as they throw one.
In his six-year career, deGrom has committed just five total errors. His first two seasons in 2014 and 2015 were completely error-free. This gave him the distinction of finishing the 2015 season as one of only 17 active MLB players to have played at least 300 career defensive innings without committing an error. As a reward for his defensive prowess, deGrom rather quietly won the 2015 Wilson Defensive Pitcher of the Year award, finishing second only to Zack Greinke in Defensive Runs Saved for NL pitchers.
Over his past few seasons, deGrom has continued to be reliable in the field. He may never have won a Gold Glove (Greinke has won the NL pitching Gold Glove each of the past six years), but every year it seems like he should be in the conversation. Whenever the ball is hit to him, deGrom always knows exactly what to do and where to throw it, without any hesitation.
So what makes deGrom such a solid fielder? Perhaps it stems from his years as a shortstop in college. Perhaps his hand-eye coordination stretches farther back, to his high school days as a standout in basketball as well as baseball. Or perhaps he’s simply driven by the desire to rack up a third kind of major baseball hardware.
Regardless, on a Mets team that is often defensively-challenged, the other eight guys on the field could learn a thing or two from how effortlessly deGrom fields the baseball.