If I asked you to guess who is second on the New York Mets in WAR this season you probably wouldn’t get it correct on the first try. Jacob deGrom is the easy choice for number one. With a 5 WAR in the first half, he is the runaway winner in this statistics.
In second place, the runner-up is a guy you wouldn’t expect. He has been around all year long and was certainly a preseason candidate to potentially lead the team in this statistic.
Not sure yet? I’ll give you one more clue. He has been booed often in 2021.
That’s right. Somehow, Francisco Lindor is second to deGrom in WAR!
How Francisco Lindor is second in WAR for the Mets this year
There’s a two-part answer to this question. How Lindor managed to accomplish this is partly based on injury. He was the only player other than Dominic Smith to finish the first half with 80+ games played. Every other start but Lindor, Smith, and James McCann spent at least some time on the IL. Because of this, Lindor already has a distinct advantage over many of his teammates.
Narrowing out All-Star Taijuan Walker (2.0 WAR), Lindor managed to creep through the first half with a respectable 2.1 WAR. Better than everyone but deGrom, this isn’t just a result of some fantastic defense—although it helped.
Asking me to explain everything that goes into this calculation is way above my pay grade. WAR is something, as baseball fans, we all understand is good when it’s high and not so much when it’s low. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as adding up the offensive WAR and defensive WAR for this overall total.
Whatever your belief in this number is, Lindor might not be having nearly as bad of a season as it seems on the service.
The first half concluded with Lindor slashing .227/.326/.377 with 11 home runs and 36 RBI. Definitely well below what even the lowest of expectations for him projected, it’s pretty amazing to me that he could possibly be this much better than a replacement player.
WAR is a funny thing; much funnier than the lowercased, more carnage and history-changing war for sure. For instance, Trevor May and Jeurys Familia have combined for a 0.1 WAR this season with Michael Conforto at 0.2 WAR. An inexact measure of how a player’s season is going, it’s a faulty representation of what’s actually happening on the field.
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For whatever it’s worth, Lindor has far surpassed his WAR total from 2020 in only 26 more games played. Last year, he finished with 1.2 WAR, a new career low. This season, it looks like he will at least make an attempt to reach his previous low of 4 WAR from his 99-game rookie season in 2015. Currently a career 30 WAR guy, the expectation should be for him to more than double what he did in the first half. If only the Mets could be so lucky.