Though he turned just 22 years old in September, Andres Gimenez proved in his rookie season that he belongs in the big leagues.
He produced a very capable .263/.333/.398 slash line, his 31 hits were seventh in the National League among rookies, while his eight stolen bases were the most for NL first-year players.
But Gimenez was heralded mainly for his defense when made the Mets’ roster, a trait that isn’t necessarily best measured by traditional statistics. In 41 games this season, however, he committed just two errors, one of which came at third base as opposed to his natural shortstop position.
Sometimes though, a lack of errors – especially at a premium defensive position like shortstop—indicates an inability to make the difficult plays. But the advanced metrics show that is far from the case.
MLB.com and its Statcast technology introduced the “Outs Above Average” measurement for infielders this season as ”a range-based metric of skill that shows how many outs a player has saved.” It calculates this number using a multitude of factors, including how far a fielder has to go to get to the ball, how fast the runner is, and how far a fielder is from the base he is at which he is attempting to record the out.
Using that formula, Gimenez’s OAA of five is tied for the highest infield among all rookie infielders, with Cubs infielder Nico Hoerner. In fact, only Fernando Tatis Jr. and Francisco Lindor measured higher among all shortstops. And because OAA is a cumulative stat as opposed to an average-based stat, Gimenez doing that while splitting time at short with Amed Rosario is even more impressive.
If you watched enough of the youngster at short this season, you know his defense passes the “eye test.” The advanced numbers bear that out as well, and he can only become more and more of a pleasure to watch.