The New York Mets have acquired a new centerfielder, Jake Marisnick, from the Houston Astros in exchange for prospects.
This move should come as no surprise. The Mets have been said to be looking for a good defensive centerfielder and right-handed bat for some time. Marisnick checks both of those boxes.
Marisnick is one of the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball. He had 8 Outs Above Average in 2019, according to Statcast. That ranked 11th in MLB. That may not seem impressive, but Marisnisck did that while receiving only 318 plate appearances.
Over 600 PA (what an everyday player usually receives), Marisnick was on pace for 15.1 OAA. That would rank third in all of baseball behind only Kevin Kiermaier and Victor Robles. That’s a huge deal for a Mets’ team that was second to last in baseball in defense in 2019.
Marisnick’s bat is a concern. He has never hit well and that isn’t expected to change. The one thing Marisnick does have is power.
He hit 10 HR in his 318 PA last season, which means he could potentially showcase 20-HR power if deployed in an everyday role. He also had an OPS of .700 in 2019. Again, that’s not a great output, but it’s good enough for a defense-first ballplayer.
Some will say that Marisnick couldn’t be an everyday player due to his poor bat, but he hits better than Kiermaier. Kiermaier had an OPS of just .676 last season.
Marisnick and Kiermaier are similar defensive players and the former is a better hitter.
The Rays were able to win 96 games with Kiermaier in CF. There is no reason to believe Marisnick couldn’t take a similar role for the Mets in 2020.
To get this deal done the Mets gave up two prospects outside their top-30 prospects. Blake Taylor is the headliner of the deal. He moved into the bullpen for the Mets in 2019 and excelled. He shot through their minor league system and played phenomenally in the AFL. There is a chance that Taylor slots into the Astros bullpen in 2019.
The other player the Met gave up was Kenedy Corona. Corona is a 19-year-old outfield prospect. He was a Mets’ IFA signing in the 2018-2019 season. He made it up to the GCL Mets by the end of the season, which is no small feat for an IFA in his first season.
Corona dominated the league. He slashed .301/.401/.483 in 42 games. Corona is a gamble for the Astros. They see potential in him and are willing to take a chance on a young lottery ticket.
From a value standpoint, this trade is about equal. The Astros get a reliever and a lottery ticket, and he Mets get an elite defensive CFer on a one-year $3 million contract.
The Mets were desperate for a defensive upgrade, and that’s exactly what Marisnick brings. The Mets’ pitchers will be thanking their lucky stars for this early Christmas present.