Fangraphs has been running through its positional power rankings over the last few days, and yesterday, Mike Axisa covered center field. He ranked the Mets twenty-eighth in baseball heading into this season but noted that they're tied with the Twins and Mariners for the worst outfield in the game. In the Mets blurb, he writes:
"The Mets have the worst outfield in baseball and maybe the worst of the last decade..."
Perhaps we've looked at the best-case scenario a little heavily here at Amazin' Avenue, but to put things in perspective, the Mets' outfield would have to be rather atrocious to be the worst outfield of the last decade of Major League Baseball. If we are to judge outfields by Fangraphs WAR, let's take a look at the worst units since 2004.
2004 Royals: -2.2 WAR
2005 Yankees: -2.0 WAR
Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield had nice years for the Yankees, but nearly every other outfielder on the team was awful. Bernie Williams had a great career but posted a -2.2 WAR in 2005. Tony Womack was worth -2.3 WAR in just 351 plate appearances. Bubba Crosby, Matt Lawton, and Ruben Sierra saw playing time that year, too, and all were below replacement.
2007 White Sox: -1.4 WAR
Jermaine Dye earned himself -0.9 WAR in 2007, but he was outdone by Andy Gonzalez, whose -2.2 WAR in just 215 plate appearances makes Womack's 2005 performance with the Yankees look, well, a little less awful.
2011 Mariners: -0.6 WAR
Franklin Gutierrez had an okay season based solely on his defense. Outside of that, the Mariners, like the 2004 Royals, trotted out a whole bunch of outfielders, most of whom were sup-replacement level. Ichiro Suzuki's production dropped to 0.4 WAR despite playing a full season.
The 2013 Mets
The Mets' outfield might be the worst in Major League Baseball this year. The platoons that the front office has set up for center and right field could all fall apart, and Lucas Duda needs to hit a lot better than he did last year to compensate for what he takes away with his glove. Judging by WAR — not that it's the end-all, be-all of comparison, but it works for this brief exercise — the Mets' outfield would have to be absolutely terrible to earn the title of the "worst of the last decade."