For example, here’s Inciarte making a nice but otherwise not-terribly-notable-looking play to take a hit away from Manny Machado earlier this year. That undersells how hard it was; with a 30% Catch Probability, other opportunities with similar requirements (51 feet away, with 3.4 seconds of opportunity time to get there) drop 70% percent of the time.
Inciarte covered 43 feet in the first three seconds, which gives him a jump of +8.2 feet above average for that play.
If it doesn’t “look hard,” well, that’s the entire point.
Compare that to a nearly identical play from late 2017, when Andrew McCutchen, faced with a similar 30% Catch Probability play, requiring 54 feet in 3.5 seconds in the same direction, dives and fails to make the play. It wasn’t about speed, because Inciarte’s Sprint Speed of 25.2 feet per second was actually slower than McCutchen’s 25.7. It was about the jump.
Inciarte covered 8.2 feet more than league average in the first three seconds, while McCutchen covered only 2.3 feet more. That’s a difference of six feet, and that is a huge deal.
Source: Mike Petriello, mlb.com
These numbers are available on the Statcast Leaderboards. In what you might find a bit of a surprise, the best Mets’ OF is … Jeff McNeil, slightly ahead of Juan Lagares. McNeil trails Lagares in both “Reaction” and “Burst” but makes up for it by running a better route to the ball.
Michael Conforto grades as the worst outfielder on the Mets, largely because he takes the worst routes to the ball.