J.D. Davis vs. Luis Guillorme third base question lingers for Mets

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Danny Abriano
·4 min read
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Luis Guillorme and J.D. Davis TREATED ART fielding
Luis Guillorme and J.D. Davis TREATED ART fielding

Since J.D. Davis returned from the IL on April 17, he has started four games at third base for the Mets while Jonathan Villar has started one.

Luis Guillorme has remained stuck to the bench, twice coming in late for defense and getting only two at-bat since Davis' return.

In those two at-bats, Guillorme came back from an 0-2 count against Chicago Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel on Tuesday night, eventually lining a single to left field. On Wednesday in a blowout, he delivered another single -- after pitching the bottom of the eighth inning.

Earlier on Wednesday, Davis' error in the fourth inning on what seemed like a tailor-made, inning-ending 5-4-3 double play, led to six runs for the Cubs.

And on Tuesday night, Davis made two throwing errors (one of which cost the Mets a run) and was responsible for the only run of the game for New York as he homered as part of a 2-for-3 night at the plate.

When you watch Davis make the kind of tentative, sloppy errors he made Tuesday and Wednesday after watching Guillorme make a play like the one he made behind Edwin Diaz in the ninth inning last week, on the heels of the ridiculously good play he made the night prior, it's easy to see that the Mets still have a question on their hands when it comes to who should start at third base.

And when you add Guillorme's improving offense to the equation and consider other factors, it becomes hard to justify keeping Guillorme out of the lineup.

Let's dive in...

WHAT THE METS HAVE WITH GUILLORME

Despite two early errors this season and some hiccups in spring training, Guillorme is a truly elite defender and probably the Mets' best defender not named Francisco Lindor.

Whether he's at third base, second base, or shortstop, Guillorme's smooth hands, quick actions, plus arm, and elite athleticism stand out.

Two examples:

Earlier this season in Philadelphia, Guillorme went airborne and parallel to the ground on a barehanded try and almost made a play he had no business making. And last Wednesday against the Phillies at Citi Field, he ranged to his right and went into a slide behind the bag before popping up and firing a one-hop strike to first base for the out in the ninth inning.

Apr 6, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Mets shortstop Luis Guillorme (13) unsuccessfully attempts to throw out Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius (not pictured) at first during the eighth inning at Citizens Bank Park.
Apr 6, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Mets shortstop Luis Guillorme (13) unsuccessfully attempts to throw out Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius (not pictured) at first during the eighth inning at Citizens Bank Park.

Beyond his defensive prowess, Guillorme (in a small sample) has been one of the toughest outs on the Mets since 2020, showing terrific bat-to-ball skills while often working deep at-bats.

Guillorme hit .333/.426/.439 in 68 plate appearances in 2020 and has six hits and four walks in 17 plate appearances this season.

WHAT THE METS HAVE WITH DAVIS

When Davis is right, he is an elite offensive player. And he is meticulous about his craft.

Davis was one of the most pleasant surprises for the Mets in 2019 before regressing a bit in 2020, but there's no reason to believe he can't be an offensive force again in 2021.

Defensively, though, Davis has been a liability at third base. And while he has worked incredibly hard to try to get better at the hot corner, the results haven't been there just yet.

Aug 29, 2020; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Mets third baseman J.D. Davis throws the ball to first base for an out against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Aug 29, 2020; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Mets third baseman J.D. Davis throws the ball to first base for an out against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Davis spoke during spring training about being in a better spot this season because he didn't have to worry about going back and forth from third base to left field, but he's still looked shaky at the hot corner.

OTHER FACTORS

In addition to Guillorme and Davis, the Mets also have Villar as an option at third base, but it's very hard to argue that he should take playing time away from either Guillorme or Davis.

The Mets also need to determine just how much fielding uncertainty they're willing to deal with.

With Dominic Smith in left field and Brandon Nimmo in center, New York already has two guys playing out of position. While Nimmo has been solid in center so far, Smith -- who is being forced to play left because there is no DH -- will likely continue to be an adventure in the outfield.

When you factor in the above to go along with the likelihood that the Mets will eventually be an offensive force with or without Davis, choosing to start Guillorme at third base most days makes the most sense.

This story was originally published on April 15 and updated on April 22