Best Mets defensive season at each position according to WAR

Ordonez/Ventura / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The New York Mets have had some spectacular defensive seasons. Long before defensive WAR was a thing, you had to trust things like errors, fielding percentage, and your own eyes to know who was truly a great defender.

Now with WAR trying to make up for some lost time, we can get an idea of which players from the past had exceptionally great seasons with the glove.

I decided to look through the defensive WAR in Mets history and identify which seasons were the best per position. Although these totals include other positions a guy may have played in the particular season, the bulk of their work was done at the position listed.

Pitchers and first basemen will not be included. Pitchers don’t get nearly enough opportunities to build defensive WAR and I’m not quite sure anyone even counts it. For first basemen, the statistic is far too flawed. A multiple Gold Glove winner like Keith Hernandez doesn’t even sniff the top ten in any single season in Mets history in this statistic. Because of this, I’ll exclude that position as well.

NY Mets best defensive season at catcher – John Stearns in 1978

John Stearns was a pretty good defender and in 1978, his second season as the starter for the Mets, he put together the best defensive WAR of any catcher in franchise history. A defensive WAR of 2.2, it beat out any year his predecessor Jerry Grote had.

NY Mets best defensive season at second base – Jose Valentin in 2006

Mets fans don’t necessarily remember Jose Valentin for his glove. However, in 2006, he posted the best defensive WAR for any second basemen in a single season. The longtime big league shortstop was worth 1.9 WAR on defense in what was an underrated year on both sides of the ball.

NY Mets best defensive season at third base – Robin Ventura in 1999

You shouldn’t be surprised to see a member of the 1999 Mets infield on this list. That season, Robin Ventura had a defensive WAR of 2.8. It was the best of any third baseman to ever wear orange and blue and the fifth-best in franchise history for any player on defense.

NY Mets best defensive season at shortstop – Rey Ordonez in 1999

The GOAT of fielding, Rey Ordonez’s 1999 season was the best defensive WAR of any Mets player ever to infinity and beyond. His WAR of an even 4 topped anything else a player in franchise history has accomplished. From a historic perspective, it’s tied for the 19th highest a player has ever posted on defense.

NY Mets best defensive season at left field – Bernard Gilkey in 1996

Bernard Gilkey’s 1996 season was apparently about more than his bat. Worth 1.6 WAR, the Mets left fielder that year posted the best defensive total at this statistic while also having one of the greatest offensive seasons of any player in franchise history.

NY Mets best defensive season at center field – Juan Lagares in 2013

Center fielder Juan Lagares had one amazing year in the field during the 2013 season. Worth 3.2 WAR on defense, he bested anything any other man at the position had ever done at Shea Stadium or Citi Field. It was the second best defensive WAR in franchise history. To show that it was no fluke, the following year he had a defensive WAR of 3.1.

NY Mets best defensive season at right field – Darryl Strawberry in 1990

Darryl Strawberry wasn’t known for his defense but in 1990 he had the best defensive WAR season for any right fielder the Mets have employed. His 1.5 total might be overshadowed by many others on this list. Nonetheless, it topped all other right fielders.

Next. Best Mets outfield trios of all-time. dark