The Mets needed an upgrade at shortstop. In Francisco Lindor, they added one of the best in the game.
Our trip around the diamond continues as our 2021 preview series for the New York Mets takes a look at shortstop.
The New York Mets have had one of the worst shortstop situations in baseball for the past few years. Few teams have gotten less production from the position.
That all change in 2021. With Francisco Lindor in the fold, the Mets have arguably the best shortstop in MLB in the fold. Lindor will likely turn the team’s fortunes at the position on their head, and could surpass five years’ worth of production in just one.
Lindor is going to start almost every single game at shortstop. In 2016-2018 Lindor played in 158 games twice and 159 games once, and in 2020 he played in all 60 games for the Indians. Even in his least healthy season, Lindor played in 143 games.
Since debuting in 2015, Lindor has been one of the best players in MLB. His 29.2 fWAR is third-best among position players, only Mike Trout and Mookie Betts stand above Lindor.
Lindor is elite in everything he does. He’s an elite defender, he steals bases, he gets on base, he hits for power. There’s simply nothing on a field he can’t do.
Adding him to replace Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez is a huge upgrade. Rosario never lived up to his lofty potential and Gimenez is a strong defender with offensive questions.
No player on the 2021 Mets will bring more excitement than Lindor.
We talked at length about Guillorme yesterday, so I’m going to keep this one short.
Guillorme provides a strong glove at shortstop making him the superior option as a backup to Lindor than Jonathan Villar. Defense just matters more at shortstop than second base.
You can put up with a worse bat at shortstop for superior defense. That make Guillorme the more likely long-term option at shortstop if Lindor has to miss any time due to injury.
Villar can play shortstop, and his bat offers higher upside than Guillorme, but he likely wouldn’t be asked to play the position long term. As a spot starter, he makes some sense, like Wilmer Flores did once upon a time. Long term though, it makes little sense.
His defense is poor at every position, but it’s especially bad at shortstop. His range and natural instincts at the position just aren’t a fit. Playing there long term would take him from quality depth to a square peg in a round hole.
It’s possible Villar gets some run at shortstop in 2021, but don’t expect to see too much of him at the position.