The worst kept secret of this offseason is that the Mets want a catcher. The two best free agent options without much debate are Wilson Ramos and Yasmani Grandal. So let’s delve into which one fits the Mets better?
Ramos was a Mets killer who wasn’t a great hitter for many years down in Washington but in recent years, he has turned his offensive game into a real force. In his breakout 2016, Ramos hit .307/.354/.496 with a .361 wOBA and 123 wRC+. Unfortunately for Ramos, he tore his ACL in late September of that year which forced him to take a two-year pillow it type deal. After a poor 2017 (which can largely be attributed to his injuries), he bounced back to hit .306/.358/.487 with a .361 wOBA and 131 wRC+.
The downside on Ramos is that he’s a health risk but when he is healthy, he mashes. Ramos also has room to grow. He hits the ball on the ground about 54% of the time.
Which means that the 46% of the time he hits the ball in the air, he demolishes it. Hitting the ball in the air more often will only improve his production. He had a 328 wRC+ on balls he hit in the air as opposed to a 47 wRC+ on balls he hit on the ground. His room to grow on offense is far larger than Yasmani Grandal’s. Which is impressive since he is already a better hitter than Grandal.
Now to Grandal. Grandal is easily the better defensive catcher and is the guy who can be counted on to catch 110-120 games between the two. He’s also not a shabby offensive player in his own right. He hit .241/.349/.466 last season with a.352 wOBA and 125 wRC+. Grandal has also 73 homers the last three seasons so power is also on his side.
So between these two, Grandal has the easy advantage in durability and defense but Ramos has the nod in offense.
The Mets need someone who can be a weapon against lefties. Ramos is a lefty killer whereas Grandal has been slightly above average in a limited sample against southpaws. So point to Ramos on that front. The next part is a qualifying offer. The Mets stand to lose their second round pick with Grandal but Ramos on the other hand does not have that constraint.
Between these two, Grandal is the better player. I think most would agree with that (playoff struggles aside). Ramos on the other hand fills what the Mets need at a fraction of the cost and he would not cost the Mets a draft pick. Therefore, I think the Mets should go in on Wilson Ramos and let him mash.