Mets utility infielder Luis Guillorme is getting more playing time in 2022 under manager Buck Showalter than at any other point in his MLB career. Even before that happened, Mets fans knew one thing about him: the dude knows how to use his glove.
Whether it’s catching bats in dugouts or making ridiculous plays in the field, Guillorme quickly built a reputation upon being an excellent fielder at various positions on the diamond. But for someone in his specific role, it’s impossible to get recognized across the league for some of the things he does best.
That will finally be changing this year. In addition to the nine Gold Glove winners they announce at the end of each season, Rawlings recently announced they’ll be adding a utility player category. We don’t know what the stipulations are from the perspective of playing time, but for the first time since his debut, Guillorme has been getting consistent time in the lineup.
Between 2018 and 2021, he hadn’t played more than 69 games in a single season, which happened in ’21. Despite landing on the injured list with a groin injury that sidelined him for a month, he’s already appeared in 86 games for New York. He’s on track to set single-season career-high marks on offense if his .712 OPS and 109 wRC+ can be sustained over the next few weeks.
That’s helped Guillorme produce a 1.2 fWAR, which is also currently a career-high mark. The offense has been sporadic over the years, but the defense has been a constant. Outside of posting a negative Defense rating (via FanGraphs) in 2018, that number has been on the right side of zero each year since. Prior to Tuesday’s games, it’s currently at 3.5, which is another career-high mark — as you could’ve probably guessed.
Guillorme has spent the majority of his time at second base this season (447.2 innings) but has also racked up innings at third base (160) and shortstop (42). Among these three positions, Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) tab shortstop as Guillorme’s worst spot and second base as his best.
Looking at his overall defensive performance, though, the 27-year-old has been worth three DRS. If we use Baseball Savant’s Outs Above Average (OAA) metric as another barometer, Guillorme’s efforts rank in the 87th percentile.
We’ll see how Guillorme’s glove (and bat, for that matter) fit into the Mets’ lineup rotation now that he’s back on the active roster. It appears as though Showalter likes fitting him in when possible, so the infielder should have more opportunities to pile up defensive stats and make his case.
Even if it doesn’t happen this year, the fact that Guillorme and all utility players have a shot to be recognized for this skill is awesome and way overdue.