Reason #1 why the Mets will regress

I'm planning on writing a large, in depth piece on the shortcomings the Mets will face going forward, and how their success now is unlikely to be sustained over the course of 162 games, but Jim Baker at BP today made a great point regarding the Mets defense, and that's a good piece for discussion to start.

A teaser of the article

>>>>>Playing with the sort function on the BP stats page, we find one of the contributing factors to the Mets' success in 2007: a whale of a Defensive Efficiency outlier. There, amongst the hitters park teams of The Golden Age of the All-Mighty Hurlermen, are the latest installment of the Metropolitans at .741.

This is good for the 23rd-best team mark since 1959--the earliest year included in the BP play-by-play database. (All further references refer to "since 1959" unless otherwise noted.) The most recent team above them are the 1981 Tigers, and the only team in the top 100 that is anywhere near them in vintage are the 2001 Mariners (59th at .735).

Are the Mets really this good? Yes and no. There are a couple of things at play here. For one, scoring is depressed, so a number of current teams are insinuating themselves into a Defensive Efficiency level that few post-strike teams have managed before. Looking at just the seasons since 1994, seven of the top 20 "Def-Effs" belong to 2007 clubs. The big league average so far is .705. Compare this with 1999, when the average was 10 points lower.<<<<<<<

So, they are benefiting from a marvelous run of team defense, but if we look at the core, is this type of run sustainable? My guess is, no. For this, I'll use a simple, easily calculatable metric, FRAR per Game. For the main players, I'll list their 2007 FRAR/G, then their 2006 number, followed by their career number. Remember, the higher the better, as FRAR calculates how many runs above replacement player the fielder saved

Lo Duca, 2007: .30/G
Lo Duca, 2006: .13/G
Lo Duca, TOTL: .19/G

Delgado, 2007: .20/G
Delgado, 2006: .01/G
Delgado, TOTL: .04/G

Easley, 2007: .20/G
Easley, 2006: .22/G (only 9 games played)
Easley, TOTL: .16/G

Reyes, 2007: .31/G
Reyes, 2006: .03/G
Reyes, TOTL: .11/G

Wright, 2007: .05/G
Wright, 2006: .15/G
Wright, TOTL: .10/G

Chavez, 2007: .22/G
Chavez, 2006: .12/G
Chavez, TOTL: .13/G

Beltran, 2007: .32/G
Beltran, 2006: .23/G
Beltran, TOTL: .17/G

Green, 2007: .05/G
Green, 2006: -.02/G
Green, TOTL: .10/G

When you digest this, you realize that everyone in the Mets starting 8, except David Wright, is playing over their head defensively, in some cases, far out of line with their career numbers. Is Carlos Delgado suddenly a gold glove 1B? Probably fact, I know he isn't. However, these strong early season performances are correlating to the luck the Mets have had, and they are just as likely to regress closer to the mean as the season progresses. Reyes and Delgado are the two I think that could move backwards a good bit, and Wright might move in the positive direction, but overall, you should see this even itself out. If not, well, the Mets will be impossible to catch.