Last year’s performance from Eduardo Escobar was not what New York Mets had hoped. He didn’t heat up until the final month of the year. Even with the hot finale, Escobar was a .240/.295/.430 hitter with poor defensive metrics.
It wasn’t what fans were hoping for as a temporary solution until Brett Baty was ready for full-time duty. However, when looking at some other third basemen while trying to come up with some creative third base ideas, I stumbled upon one player whose numbers weren't all that much better.
The Toronto Blue Jays won last winter’s sweepstakes for Matt Chapman. The power-hitting, Gold Glove-winning third baseman had an expected performance. The numbers, somehow, match up quite well with Escobar in a lot of areas.
Eduardo Escobar might have more value for the Mets than realized
Many of us still think of Chapman in a category as one of the league’s best third basemen. It’s a fair assumption. Although the lifetime .240/.329/.469 batting line isn’t anywhere near what constitutes a superstar in the league, his incredible defensive skills and above-average power help to make up for it at times.
Escobar’s 2022 season didn’t compare to what Chapman did on either side of the ball. Chapman beats him in almost every major category. He batted .229/.324/.433 for the Blue Jays with a .757 OPS. Escobar’s .240/.295/.430 and .726 OPS are still within shouting distance.
It’s not really a debate in regards to who is the better player. The answer is clearly Chapman. The competition is a little bit closer. The 115 OPS+ from Chapman compared to Escobar’s 106 tightens things up further with another victory for Chapman yet another indication of how comparable the two were offensively.
The defense is a completely different situation and reminds us why the Blue Jays gave up so many pieces to get Chapman. He’ll be a desirable free agent next offseason if Toronto doesn’t extend him first. Escobar, who has seen better days with the glove, proved in the last weeks that he can hit and brings value to the Mets. Even if the value ultimately is a trade, Escobar is a sleeper candidate to outhit some of the best third basemen in baseball or at least come close at a cheaper price.