For most of the first third of 2013, he writes, the corner outfielders in New York were Lucas Duda in left and Marlon Byrd in right, flanking a rotating combination of Rick Ankiel, Collin Cowgill, Jordany Valdespin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center field. That’s pretty brutal.
While Byrd was somewhat above average, he adds, Duda is so bad that he’s accumulated a shocking minus-42 defensive runs saved (DRS) in parts of four seasons for the Mets. He was eventually replaced by Eric Young, but even he was only slightly better, with minus-7 DRS for the season.
Petriello says that things turned around when Juan Lagares took over the bulk of time in center and proved to be one of the best defensive center fielders in the game.
Well deserved praise for Lagares and the Mets by ESPN. With Lagares in center flanked by Granderson and Young in the corners, Mets pitchers should reap the benefits of one of the best defensive outfields in baseball.
After what we’ve seen over the last 4-5 years, it will be a pleasure not to hold our breaths everytime a batter sends one sailing over the infield. I’m looking forward to seeing all three of them patrolling the same outfield when spring training games begin in about five weeks.