The Mets are ready to roll again. They’ve been trying to build something sustainable in the long term and added more pieces to the puzzle before this season. In 2020, their horizon doesn’t look bad thanks to a well-rounded team, but they will have to battle in a deep, strong NL East.
Even though they lost valuable righty Zack Wheeler to a division rival in free agency (Phillies), starters Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello were brought in to fill the void caused by his departure and Noah Syndergaard’s Tommy John surgery procedure. There are still questions regarding the Mets, but it seems they did well in the offseason. Trying to get back to October for the first time since 2016 will be their main goal.
Initial 60-man player pool
NOTE: OF Melky Cabrera, OF Ryan Cordell, RHP Jared Hughes, RHP Erasmo Ramírez, RHP Hunter Strickland, and IF Gordon Beckham were also added to the player pool.
OF Jake Marisnick, RHP Rick Porcello, RHP Michael Wacha, RHP Dellin Betances, RHP Jared Hughes, OF Melky Cabrera, RHP Hunter Strickland, 1B Matt Adams*, IF Gordon Beckham*, IF Max Moroff*, IF Eduardo Núñez*, OF Jarrett Parker*, OF Ryan Cordell*, OF Johneshwy Fargas*, RHP Erasmo Ramírez, LHP Chasen Shreve*.
Players with an asterisk are on the 60-man player pool, but not on the 40-man roster.
Players who left:
RHP Zack Wheeler (PHI), 3B/1B Todd Frazier (TEX), 2B Joe Panik (TOR), LHP Luis Avilán (NYY), CF Juan Lagares (SDP), OF Matt Kemp (COL), RHP AJ Ramos (LAD), OF Austin Jackson (free agent), RHP Ervin Santana (free agent).
The Mets rotation was the fourth-best (3.84 ERA) last year in the National League. You’re probably thinking it was thanks to Jacob deGrom and Syndergaard. Well, deGrom did do his part (he deservedly won his second Cy Young award in a row), but the latter had a shaky season that didn’t fulfill expectations. Overall, this starting staff is still experienced and has the potential to be a strength of the team. deGrom is locked as the ace and will be followed by Marcus Stroman, Porcello, Steven Matz, and Wacha.
But the reason why everyone should be most excited is what they did to fix their bullpen. It was a disaster in 2019: closer Edwin Díaz had a disappointing campaign (2-7 record, 5.59 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 7 blown saves) and setup guy Jeurys Familia also had a down year (5.70 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 6.3 BB/9).
However, entering 2020, the Mets added a few arms that could make the staff look better: former Yankee Dellin Betances, Jared Hughes, Hunter Strickland, Erasmo Ramírez, and lefty Chasen Shreve. Health permitting, they should have a formidable seventh-eighth-ninth trio. Besides, Díaz and Familia’s FIP tells us that they should be better in 2020.
The Mets are satisfied with their current lineup and didn’t add anyone of note. Still, there are some concerns regarding the offense.
For example, Brandon Nimmo will be the everyday center fielder, but he needs to be better this time. Last year, Nimmo couldn’t replicate his 2018 success and only slashed .221/.375/.407 across 69 games. Robinson Canó wasn’t Robinson Canó, either, and I don’t know if he will ever hit again as he always has, especially because he’s 37 now.
In 2019, Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto hit 86 home runs and drove in 212 runs combined. Amed Rosario recorded 52 extra-base hits and 19 stolen bases. JD Davis was one of the best breakout performers (.307/.369/.527 in 140 G) and they have one of the league’s best pure hitters in Jeff McNeil. No surprise that this squad averaged 5.16 runs per game in their matchups against the Marlins.
Plus, they could use returning Yoenis Céspedes and/or Dominic Smith to cover DH duties and have an interesting power combination platoon. It seems new manager Luis Rojas will have plenty of options to consider for his daily lineup cards.
2020 ZiPS Projection: 32-28, 42.7% chance to make playoffs, 23.5% to win division