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Mets: Jonathan Villar provides club with a bolt of much needed speed

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 24: Jonathan Villar #2 of the Miami Marlins leads off first base during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 24: Jonathan Villar #2 of the Miami Marlins leads off first base during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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On Tuesday morning the New York Mets signed utility man Jonathan Villar to a one-year $3.55 million deal to bolster their bench as well as a much-needed speed component to the ballclub. While we know how valuable the versatile Villar will be on the field with the number of positions he can play, what is very underrated about this move is Villar’s ability to steal bases and wreck havoc for opposing pitchers on the mound.

The Mets have been one of the least active teams on the basepaths over the last several seasons as in 2020 they ranked 22nd in stolen bases per game, in 2019 they ranked 24th, and in 2018 they ranked 19th. With the addition of Villar, those numbers should be expected to rise whether the 29-year old utility man is in the starting lineup or is coming off of the bench.

From 2016-2019 Villar had produced over 20 stolen bases per season, with a whopping 62 bases stolen in 2016 and 40 bases stolen in 2019. During last season’s abbreviated season, Villar stole 16 bases between both the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays, which also equated to a clean 100% stolen base percentage with the Blue Jays in September after being acquired at the Trade Deadline. There is no underestimating the weapon the Mets now have at their disposal on the basepaths.

The Mets added one of the best base stealers in baseball in Jonathan Villar, which provides the club with a dynamic weapon in an area they sorely lacked.

With his 218 career stolen bases, there are only currently seven active players that have more career steals than Villar. It’s an impressive feat considering Villar has not even hit the age of 30 yet, with six of the seven players ahead of him already over the age of 30 outside of Billy Hamilton.

While the Billy Hamilton experiment did not work last season for the Mets for various reasons, Villar is an overall better hitter than Hamilton at this point in his career. In turn, it gives Manager Luis Rojas more reason to play Villar, which also will provide more opportunities to have his speed on base.

As an example of how much further along Villar is than Hamilton, in 2019 Villar was ranked as the number one player in baseball with his 30 power/speed number. A power/speed number is the calculation of the harmonic mean of stolen bases and home runs in a given season. In that season Villar had slugged 24 home runs and stole 40 bases in what wound up being his final campaign in Baltimore.

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The Mets outside of adding defensive upgrades sorely needed a threat of speed to add to their now very deep bench. Jonathan Villar should increase the Mets’ chances to score runs next season, as well as throw a pitcher’s timing off simply by getting on base. Look for the Mets to up their stolen bases per game total in 2021 with this brilliant addition.

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