Mets in danger of getting trapped by making a familiar mistake with prospect Jett Williams

Patience is a virtue. Procrastination should be a sin.
Feb 22, 2024; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA;  New York Mets infielder Jett Williams (90). Mandatory
Feb 22, 2024; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets infielder Jett Williams (90). Mandatory / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Aye, the 2024 season hasn’t even begun teething yet this doesn’t take away from an error going on down in Double-A Binghamton. The almost universally agreed upon top New York Mets prospect Jett Williams was drafted as a shortstop but began playing some center field last season.

Williams didn’t make an error in any of his 41 chances in center field while succumbing to 23 at shortstop in 282 opportunities. It resulted in a poor .918 fielding percentage which we know only tells a part of the tale of a player’s defensive abilities.

Regardless of how sharp Williams is as a shortstop, we know it’s not where he’ll end up. Francisco Lindor could block an armada of shortstop prospects. So why is Williams still primarily playing shortstop?

The Mets need to give Jett Williams a little more variety on defense

Williams has yet to play center field this year, but there’s a reason for it. Alex Ramirez is a teammate of his and the Mets are hoping he isn’t a lost cause after his disappointing 2023 season. Ramirez is already on the 40-man roster out of necessity to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Off to a nice start this season, allowing him to play center field on a near-daily basis is perfectly acceptable. Where does this leave Williams?

Williams remains the primary shortstop for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. He does have a start at second base—the first of his professional career. An obvious destination for him if he continues on his current trajectory to make the majors no later than next season, the organization has been too passive at giving him reps there.

Up in Triple-A, Luisangel Acuna has already played second base and even some center field. He’s closer to MLB-ready and seemingly a candidate to first give the Mets the kind of versatility we always dreamed Ronny Mauricio would. If nothing else, Acuna can be a pinch runner for a contending Mets team in September of 2024.

The Mets held back on moving Mark Vientos away from third base even with Brett Baty showing much more promise in the minor leagues. They did the same with the aforementioned Mauricio. He should’ve been tested at third base much earlier in his professional career.

This isn’t a freak out spot for Williams to remain at shortstop. Let him ease into the season, get his legs under him, and start to hit. He hasn’t done much yet. Through eight games—six as a shortstop and the other pair at second base—Williams is hitting only .200/.333/.333 without a homer yet. He has driven in one run but scored six in this limited sample. He has already been charged with an error at each middle infield position. Minor league official scorers tend to be less kind to fielders about these things anyway.

Williams is way ahead of schedule. With his teammate Ramirez in center field slashing .353/.378/.559 with 5 stolen bases in his first 9 games, it’s hard to ask him to move anywhere else. This could be a case of the Mets bypassing any drastic changes for Williams in 2024 defensively. Just don’t wait too long to let the kid familiarize himself with another spot.