Coming into Tuesday’s night game against the Chicago White Sox, the New York Mets have been below average defensively this year. The Mets ranked 9th in the NL and 19th in the MLB in fielding percentage. For a team that needs to keep runners off base, the Mets aren’t getting the job done so far this season. There are a few reasons why this team’s defense has been weak this year.
First, let’s start with Ruben Tejada. He’s just not a very good defensive player. In his MLB career he has a .969 fielding percentage at shortstop. This just won’t get the job done for an everyday player. When I watch him make throws I see a slower shortstop that doesn’t get his feet around to make a good, accurate throw. This means he doesn’t have the quickness or arm strength to be a shortstop. He is better suited to be a second baseman, but the Mets don’t have a player that can fill in at short and already have one of the better hitting second basemen in Daniel Murphy. Tejada maybe expendable in the future if they can find a player that can fill the void at short.
The next guy that hurts the team defensively is Lucas Duda. He looks lost a majority of the time when reading fly balls. He doesn’t make good reads and doesn’t have the speed to make up for his poor judgment. As a result, we saw earlier in the season Terry Collins pulling Duda early in games because of his poor defense. He also lacks the arm strength to stop runners from advancing bases. In my opinion, Duda is an American League kind of player. He is able to play a little outfield here and there when other players need rest, but he should be a DH the majority of the time.
The Mets’ defense is just not that good. The team as a whole needs to find a way to tighten up and get better play when out in the field. This happens when there are a few players out of position like Tejada and Duda. The team should be fine if they can limit the damage caused by errors as they have for the most part this year.