1) James McCann’s arm
It was vital for the Mets to upgrade behind the plate defensively this offseason and they did just that by landing catcher James McCann this winter in free agency from the Chicago White Sox. Last season the Mets had struggled with passed balls and stolen bases with Wilson Ramos behind the plate, which was one of the glaring weaknesses on last season’s team. With Ramos unable to keep runners from running wild on the basepaths, it hindered the Mets defensively last season which is the biggest reason why McCann was the first signing of a very busy winter for the Mets.
Looking ahead, this is where James McCann and his arm play an important role in the Mets’ chances of winning many games this season. McCann’s arm behind the plate is a huge asset for the Mets, as over his entire career McCann has thrown out around 36% of baserunners who were attempting to steal on him, which includes a 33% clip in 2020. To break those percentages down a bit further, in 2019 and 2020 combined McCann had only allowed 45 total stolen bases in 136 games behind the plate.
In comparison to those great numbers above by McCann, over the previous two seasons with Wilson Ramos behind the plate, Ramos had only thrown out around 16% of the runners attempting to steal on him. Those numbers simply aren’t going to get it done for a team that has championship aspirations.
With McCann’s cannon of an arm and his ability to neutralize base stealers, the Mets are in a better position defensively this season than they have been over the previous two seasons.