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The Mets need to play Luis Guillorme more

As long as the bat stays hot, the slick fielding defender should be in the lineup on an everyday basis.

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets, despite all their successes in the early portion of the 2022 season, have had a rather noticeable hole at the designated hitter position. They came into the year with three primary designated hitters: Robinson Canó, who was designated for assignment when the rosters condensed as May descended upon us, J.D. Davis, who is hitting .230/.326/.51 with a 103 wRC+, albeit with some promising underlying numbers, and Dominic Smith, who is hitting an even more uninspiring .189/.274/.243 with a 61 wRC+. It is, definitively, not what you want.

Enter: Luis Guillorme.

Guillorme is having an exceptional start to his season, hitting a rollicking .338/.411/.446, good for a 154 wRC+, which currently leads the Mets. While it is hard to assume that Literally Luis Guillorme will be the Mets’ best hitter over the entire season, it is clear that he can hit at the major league level. He is never, ever going to hit for power—over 3,118 professional plate appearances across both the minor and major leagues, he has a whopping 15 total home runs—but his bat-to-ball skills and his plate discipline are excellent.

His Z-Contact% (contact made on pitches in the zone) sits at 90.9% for his career, well above the 84.9% Z-Contact rate of the entirety of the major leagues in 2022. His Z-Contact rate is even more impressive in 2022, coming in at 93.2%. He is also walking in 2022 more than league average (10.7% vs 8.4%), and strikes out significantly less in 2022 than league average (14.7% vs. 22.5%).

That is a lot of words to say: he puts the ball in play a lot, and couple that with some of the other players on the roster struggling in part due to the abhorrent conditions of the baseball, it is easy to see why Guillorme should see his playing time increase.

This is not to say Guillorme should be the designated hitter, because he should not. That would be bad. He is a splendid defender, notching extended time in the minors as a plus shortstop. He has a career five Outs Above Average at second base, and is the best defensive third baseman on the roster despite his -2 OAA there (Eduardo Escobar has a -5 OAA, for context). Slotting him in at DH would be a vast misuse of his powers, but he can still help boost the position.

The Mets clearly know they need to load manage some guys. Mark Canha, who has had issues with his hips in the past, has had semi-regular days off. Jeff McNeil can spell him in those cases, allowing Guillorme to play second. McNeil himself has had some lower body issues in the past, and he could easily DH some games while letting Guillorme play second. Escobar has also struggled mightily after a hot start, hitting .209/.310/.345 with a 94 wRC+, with the aforementioned bad defense at the hot corner, and could even see a reduction in playing time for Guillorme.

Outside of Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso, the Mets have been wary of giving their starters half-games off by DHing them instead of sitting them completely. While that is not the worst strategy, it would behoove the Mets to start getting those starters more regular time at DH—especially if J.D Davis and Dominic Smith continue their tepid starts at the plate. Guillorme has been providing a lot with his bat so far this year, and is one of their best overall defenders on the roster. While his 154 wRC+ is almost certainly unsustainable, he has a toolset that is valuable. And while some Mets bats are struggling to get going, it is the perfect time to Free Luis Guillorme.