Campbell’s throw, Lagares’ catch and how the defense is playing well

In his second major league start in left field, Eric Campbell made a terrific throw to get out Jayson Werth trying to score in the sixth inning >> Watch here.


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In the following inning, Juan Lagares made a sensational head-first catch, diving forward to catch a shallow fly-ball from Denard Span to strand a runner at third >> Watch here.

Lagares got the wind knocked out of him, but was not injured, Terry Collins later told reporters.

“There’s no substitute for catching the baseball,” Collins added. “When you have good pitching and you catch the ball, it’s tough to score. And our defense played very well tonight.”

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

I’m surprised the Nationals sent Werth. Thankfully, Campbell got rid of the throw quickly  and bounced it perfectly to Travis d’Arnaud. Hopefully, this gives management more confidence in Campbell’s ability in left field so he can get more starts, which he has earned over Chris Young.

In regards to Lagares, he goes back on the ball as well as anyone in baseball. I’m used to that. I’m more impressed with how well he comes in on the ball when he has to. This catch last night is a difficult, spur-of-the-moment gamble, because if he misses – because he’s so shallow and the ball is hit on a line – the runner on third scores with ease and who knows where the ball ends up if it gets behind him. Nevertheless, he was well paced and seemingly had it tracked the entire time. Thankfully, he didn’t re-injure his shoulder.

By the way, if the Mets play this sort of defense, and if their pitching does what it’s capable of, it will not matter how hot their bats get. They’ll be fine. At that point, they’ll truly be just one or two average hitters away from putting together a really successful season. The big-bat will not be as necessary, though obviously still preferred.




96 comments
Frank Accardi
Frank Accardi

Guess what Matt we don't need avg hitters we need impact bats that are consistent or we could have the most dominate pitching and not score any runs lost 1-0 a bunch of games but as we all know we don't play like a major market team cause we have terrible owners that are propped up by a commissioner that needed to boot them so if we are pieces away Fred and jeffy and Katz. Aren't going to spend

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

It's been debated to death for the past month or so. Go with the Campbell/Kirk platoon and save CY, if you must, for bench duty. The only one who could give you 7.25 million reasons that CY has been starting so frequently is Sandy. He stubbornly doesn't wish to be proven wrong. I am actually more concerned about the Grandy-man. He has not looked good since the All Star break and I would hate to think we have three more years of this to look forward to.  Hindsight is always 20/20 but I find myself wondering how close to a wild card shot we might be if Sandy had acted with a little more urgency on some of his less-brilliant choices this year--Valverde, Farnsworth, Quintanilla, Abreu and of course, CY. You gotta figure five games better at the very least.

matmil
matmil

If as Cerrone says Campbell has earned the starts over Young. Then why is C Young starting everyday.

birtelcom
birtelcom

Highlight-reel  fielding plays are exciting and can sometimes make the difference in a game.  But over a season, the more important measure of team defense is how well the team as a whole is getting to balls in play and converting them into outs.  That means to more accurately judge team defense it's useful to count up thousands of balls in play and see how well the team is turning  them into outs, compared to how well other teams are doing the same.  The highlight plays are only a very tiny piece of that.


There are two major publicly available sources today looking at every ball in play and checking overall out-conversion rates: the Defensive Runs Saved system (the results of which are available on baseball-reference.com) and  the Ultimate Zone Rating system (available at fangraphs).  These systems show the Mets as the 5th or 6th best team in the NL at converting balls in play into outs.  Although the Mets are not at the very top of the league, that's still quite a good showing, and that level of defensive performance may be helping make the pitchers look better than they would with an average or worse defense.  If you prefer using raw numbers to using the DRS or UZR systems, you can look directly at the percentage of balls in play a team has converted into outs.  This season so far, the Mets have converted into outs 69.3% of the balls put in play against them, a bit above the NL average of 69.1%          

hashburry
hashburry

Reinjure his shoulder?  What is Cerrone talking about?  HE has an intercostal strain when he went on the DL.

Steven Molello
Steven Molello

Matt,


Let me tell you why you're wrong, as a matter of fact, very wrong.


1. Defense will look great on some days, not so great on others.

2. While the pitching overall has been very good, teams that end up in first place manage to win games even when their pitching isn't perfect. Something that this team is not capable of.


As soon as the Mets play one good game, you jump on the golly gee if we could play this way every game we could be a great team bandwagon..that's not reality.


Without a better offense the best this team could be is decent, not very good and certainly not in a position to win a World Series.

rf04
rf04

It is frustrating... Campbell and Kirk field the position better and hit better than CY. Keep money out of this - just baseball reasons... it's time to cut Chris Young. I wanted him to be good as much as the team did, and I actually like the dude - but he's not helping for THIS year and he's gone next year, so... do the deed, Sandy.

John Kranzley
John Kranzley

If they rotate Campbell and Kirk in LF and play Flores at SS, they will be a .500 team.

Everyone can see this except the guys in charge.

#FreeWilmer
#FreeWilmer

If only we had a league-average or better position player on our bench, ready to be inserted into the starting lineup at shortstop or left field.

OH WAIT WE DO

#FreeWilmer

Michael Leiman
Michael Leiman

Matt, I think you're right in that the Mets could be competitive with dominant pitching plus superior defense, though I only see that right now in center field (incredible!) and third base (solid). To be more than that, they simply need to improve the offense. Another RBI bat in the middle of the order as productive as Duda's (never thought I'd write those words!) and a top of the order guy who can get on base a lot. Additionally, I've always wanted my best hitter in the #3 hole and that, to me now, is Murphy. So I think we need a #2 bat to go with Granderson at the top (or vice versa), a #5 power hitter and the willingness to move Wright, probably to #6. And, while I'm dreaming, it would be nice if 1 of our new bats was a defensive whiz a la Lagares at shortstop! Is this too much to wish for?

Jeffrey Miller
Jeffrey Miller

I'm afraid since Aug is here, we've got CY till the end,(unless some other team somehow wants a righty OF bat for Sept insurance and takes himoff our hands in a DFA)...Soupman should get some LF/1Bas w/ time for denDecker/Kirk too..why not? Along w/ Flores, Dykstra, Satin et all, ya gotta think one/two of these unproven guys may be packaged w prized pitching for a real SS and RF'er in a deal (s)?,. Good God what are we waiting for? 

theglider
theglider

Why is it that fans will trumpet a throw from left field but don't see the value of defense at key positions?

Centerfield is for defense. You want hitting but the fielding is more important. Shortstop is for defense. Hitting from there is a bonus.

Defense up the middle matters. We can live with a below average second baseman but not with defensive liabilities at either short or center.

Karl Leopold
Karl Leopold

I honestly think most Met fans would be happy for the final 49 games if they went with a platoon in LF of Campbell & Kirk. Strap CY's butt to the bench and play him only vs. a tough lefty when Grandy or Duda need a day off (Campbell can play 1st).


My feeling at SS is - i think we know what Tejada is but at 24 is there a chance he blossoms into more? i doubt it but here is the other issue, he is making 1.1 and will be headed to arbitration this year again (he's a FA after the 2017 season) What is the going rate for a SS with no power, no speed , not alot of range and does not hit for average?  I think we have to go with Flores and just see.  Yes his defense might be sub par, but lets face he's not replacing Ozzie Smith in his prime 

Doubleday
Doubleday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WILMER FLORES.

Hope your misguided manager gets you in the line-up, someday.

Kyle Suta
Kyle Suta

If by average you mean more guys like Duda and grandy then yes. But if you mean guys like Tejada Lagares and young then you are delusional cerrone.

matmil
matmil

Thanks for the info. I didn't think the Mets would rate that high but I guess it is a fairly stable defense. It's certainly an above average D in the outfield.

Karl Leopold
Karl Leopold

@Sean Garcia thanks for the scouting report - i guess giving up on 23 (today's his b-day) yr old prospects is your way of improving the team.  So instead you want a career 260 hitter that is going to cost you about 8ML per year.  yea that make alot of sense

matmil
matmil

Steve maybe it's my imagination but they looked last night like they had more intensity than I've seen all year. Even Tejada had some extra giddy up on those ground balls. Unfortunately they shouldn't wait till August to show it. But I'm grateful for small miracles all the same.

matmil
matmil

The question now of the week. Why does C Y start everyday?

Steven Molello
Steven Molello

@rf04 I wonder if a certain number of AB's were written into his contract and if he doesn't get them the Mets would owe him more $'s. Seems to be the only reasonable explanation as to why they keep sticking him back out there.

Karl Leopold
Karl Leopold

@John Kranzley It’s often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result

Michael Leiman
Michael Leiman

@#FreeWilmer LOL! The birthday boy and Mr. Campbell? Are you ready to back off your CY hopes, Brian, or do you think he should still be out there? He actually swung the bat well, last night, I thought. Particularly liked the at bat where he battled and drew a 3-2 walk.

lindro88
lindro88

Has Flores ever played left field?

lindro88
lindro88

Matt picked a night when Campbell made a good throw, and they turned a few big Dp's to decide we have a big time defensive team. You are dead on. We have one elite defender and one solid one. The rest are below average.

Karl Leopold
Karl Leopold

@Michael Leiman lagaras was a SS moved to CF after the 2008 season, yes he's been in the organization a long time - i think we signed him when he was still playing on 60 foot bases at teh LL world series.  BTW he only played 17 games at AAA (i do not count the rehab games)

#FreeWilmer
#FreeWilmer

@Michael Leiman So what's your thinking? 

1. Granderson

2. Lagares

3. Murphy


4.  Duda

5.  Wright

6.  D'arnaud

7.  Flores

8.  Campbell

Mexpert
Mexpert

@theglider So 2nd isnt up the middle? Then why d'Arnaud he stinks or is catcher not up the middle. You need to stop proving your lunacy.

Karl Leopold
Karl Leopold

It’s often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result

lindro88
lindro88

Do you think he considers Tejada an average hitter?

matmil
matmil

How do they rate on double plays ?

theglider
theglider

I didn't realize the league was averaging .220.

Michael Leiman
Michael Leiman

@Karl Leopold Interesting, Karl, thanks, but I'm not sure of your point. Are you saying we should be more patient with some of our guys because sometimes development takes time, a la Duda?

lindro88
lindro88

That's a pretty poor looking major league lineup. I know it's probably the best we can come up with, but any good starting pitcher should lick there chops at 6-9. They all can have a big game, but so can any player in baseball. Lets just face the fact that we do not have a big league lineup right now. Hopefully, they'll change that in the offseason.

Michael Leiman
Michael Leiman

@#FreeWilmer @Michael Leiman Right now I'd bat Campbell ahead of Flores and even D'arnaud if he continues to struggle. Lagares in the #2 hole is exactly what I've been thinking. Hopefully he will learn to be a bit more patient and draw a few walks, but he's swung the bat nicely of late. What do you think?

theglider
theglider

I seem to have mentioned second base being below average. Too bad your reading skills are so weak.

Doubleday
Doubleday

@lindro88 Never seen a guy whose hitting skills have DECLINED from age 20 to age 24 like Tejada's have.

matmil
matmil

That's why these games are so important to this young team. They have to learn to play with intensity and use it April to October.

Doubleday
Doubleday

@theglider 145 RBI in 162 games - even in AAA - is enough to warrant a month-long look see from every club in the ML ... except the Mets.

Karl Leopold
Karl Leopold

@Michael Leiman @Karl Leopold no point being given - just that sometimes players are ready.  I am thinking more of the line of Herrera - who we have to add the 40 man roster otehr wise he will Rule 5 eligible

Karl Leopold
Karl Leopold

@Doubleday how about CY's? seems to have "peeked" at 26/27 (and peeked is loose term)  BTW Sandy was right he is having a bounce back year - he hit only .200 last year and is not at .206 (yes i know the years not over yet so don;t go cashing those tickets yet)

shinjoooo
shinjoooo

@Doubleday @theglider The original poster said "League average or better".  I would assume he meant  Major League average or better, no?  Lots of guys had/have good minor league numbers who never hit in the majors.  Not saying that Flores will never hit but he is not league average when it comes to the big leagues over 200 ABs. 

theglider
theglider

Who else has high RBI totals in the PCL? Anyone?

Michael Leiman
Michael Leiman

@Karl Leopold Yes, absolutely, Herrera's the kind of guy I can absolutely see at #2 and would (just based on what I've heard) improve our 2nd base defense which, despite how much I respect Murphy, is weak. By all means he has to be protected. Your point on readiness is SO TRUE. I see it in my work all the time (health field). People don't do things, people don't change, until they are ready.

Doubleday
Doubleday

@theglider Adam Duvall has 83 in 84 games.  Next most is, ironically, Mike Jacobs (tied with two others) at 74

Karl Leopold
Karl Leopold

@theglider sorry avg almost and RBI per game is impressive.


not like he didn't produce at the other levels as well:


41 in 59 games rookie ball - he was 16

80 in 192 games at A ball - he was 16, 17 & 18

163 in 264 games at A+ball - he was 18, 19 & 20

33 in 66 games at AA ball - he was 20

143 in 162 games at AA - he was 21 & 22