The NY Mets (86-76) finished in 3rd place in the NL East 11 games back of the 1st place Braves. They were 7 back of 2nd place Washington and 5 games ahead of 4th place Philadelphia. Of course, the last-place Marlins were 40 out of 1st place and 29 behind the Mets. The 86-76 record was a huge step in the right direction for the Mets who have had everything go wrong in recent years.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
OF Brandon Nimmo (Brandon is off to a great start this spring hitting .400 and he needs it after last season’s injury-plagued season where a bulging disk in his neck kept him off the field and hindered his play even when on the field. His average dropped to .221 while striking out 71 times in only 199 at-bats. He did hit 8 homers and drove in 29 runs while scoring 34 runs while playing just 69 games playing in pain most of the way. His hot start this spring shows signs that he is healthy this season which is great)
3B Jeff McNeil (Jeff did a nice job in his first season with the Mets batting .329, he was a solid contact hitter, better than expected. With so many injuries in 2019, Jeff got more playing time and it turned out 2018 was no fluke and he was an exceptional contact hitter. Again he hit over .300 to the tune of .318 and added some power to his game with 23 home runs and 39 extra-base hits and knocked in 75 runs while scoring 83 runs. He was more than a contact hitter. He gave the Mets no choice as he not only forced his way into the starting lineup but near the top of the lineup. What a great story)
1B Pete Alonso (What can I say about Pete that has not already been said? How about this? I am a Phillies fan and I don’t like him. LOL. His numbers speak for themselves. The NL Rookie of the Year bashed 53 home runs, 120 rbi’s. They can live with his 183 strikeouts with those numbers. I hope he cannot match those numbers in 2020 but something tells me he will)
2B Robinson Cano (Cano brings his career .302 batting average back to New York but this time with the Mets in 2020. This is not the same player we saw with that other New York team. In fact, last season he had his worst offensive numbers in the past ten years and made the IL list two times. He hit just .256 which is horrible for him with just 13 homers and 39 rbi’s and 46 runs scored. I get the feeling he has one last hurrah left in him and coming back into the bright lights of New York may help him get there)
OF JD Davis (JD came over from Houston where he only played in 67 games over two seasons where he hit just .200 but since being acquired by the Mets he found plenty of playing time mainly due to injuries and he certainly took advantage of it. He surprised everybody by hitting .307 with 22 home runs & 57 rbi’s and scoring 65 runs. They were impressed enough to give him a starting job. Now let’s see if he is a one-hit-wonder or not. I need more proof to go from what he was to what he did than just one season to be a believer, but he deserves a chance)
OF Michael Conforto (Although his batting average does not show it, Michael has shown improvement in each of his first five seasons in the majors and I don’t think he has stopped improving yet. I see him as a yearly 40 homer/100 rbi type of guy who is always going to strike out too much. I think that point will come as soon as he improves against left-handed pitching. Keep in mind for some that can take years and he is just entering his 6th season. He is closing in on making a real name for himself)
C Wilson Ramos (As I mentioned earlier when talking about Alonso, I am a Phillies fan and I was excited when we had Ramos as our catcher and sad to see him go. Of course, getting the guy we have now made up for it, but my point is the Mets have an awesome catcher and you are going to love him. His first year with the Mets his numbers dropped some from 2018 but he will bounce back. He hit .288 with 14 homers and 73 rbi’s and 52 runs scored. I cannot put my finger on it, but there is something that he brings to the team that I really like. Maybe he is just a good teammate. Maybe just a gut feeling I get. All I can say is this. If the Phils did not have JT, I would take this guy back in a heartbeat)
SS Amed Rosario (Amed is one of those shortstops that they bring up early because of his glove. His defense is that good. They are not worried about his bat, there are plenty of shortstops in the league and eventually, he will learn to be a decent hitter. Amed is proving them wrong. Now he is not A-Rod, but he has steadily improved in each of his first three seasons in every category and his first season was not all that bad to start with. Last season he hit .287 with 15 home runs and 72 rbi’s, with 177 base hits including 30 doubles & 7 triples, scored 75 runs and stole 19 bases. The NY Mets have a special young shortstop on their hands. Did I mention as a Phillies fan I am really starting to not like the Mets? They are really building a heck of a team)
I ONLY LISTED THE MAN BELOW BECAUSE HE MAY START OR MAY NEVER PLAY AGAIN FOR THE METS
OF Yoenis Cespedes (This guy is a real mystery. He missed all of last season. Only played 38 games in 2018, half of 2017……actually has never played a full season in his career. I don’t even know what stats to give you. His best Home run year was 35 in 2015 when he played 159 the most he played in one season. It was also his most rbi’s with 105. Simply put 2015 was his best year. His most recent year was 2018 when he played just 38 games and hit .262 with 9 homers, 29 rbi’s, 37 hits and 20 runs scored in 142 at-bats. Cespedes refuses to discuss his status with anybody. Time to cut your ties with this guy. He is doing this team no favors)
RHP Jacob DeGrom (One of the most remarkable stats in baseball history is that Jacob DeGrom won back to back Cy Young Award and won just 21 won games over that two-year span with records of 10-9 & 11-8. The man knows how to pitch! No question in 2018 with a 1.70 era and amazing WHIP of 0.91 he deserved the award. Then last year with the not so great record again, a slightly worse era of 2.43 but another superb WHIP of 0.97, some questioned it, but he again ran away in the voting bringing it home for the 2nd straight season and rightfully so. It should not go to the winningest pitcher but the best pitcher and that was Jacob. 534 strikeout in the last two seasons. Maybe they should just change his name to Cy Young!)
RHP Noah Syndergaard (Noah is still a fine pitcher, he is just not the GOD that he once was. He had a rough season last year. So much so that the Mets do not think he is worth the money they are paying him anymore and were listening to offers from other teams for him. He was 10-8 with his worst era of 4.28 of his career. While he still struck out 202 batters over 197.2 innings, he allowed career-highs in hits with 194 and home runs with 24 as well as a career-high 50 walks. With Jacob DeGrob clearly now the staff ace, all of the pressure if gone from Thor and maybe he can get back to just pitching and forget about all the glamour that came along with being a star pitcher in New York. I think he needs to get back to the basics because we know he has the raw talent to dominate on the mound)
RHP Marcus Stroman (Marcus was always known as the guy with super potential who just didn't quite get there after going 11-6 in his debut with Toronto back in 2014. After recording a 2.96 era in the first half of the season with Toronto while going 6-11 in 21 starts, he was traded at the deadline to the Mets. From there in 11 starts his era went to 3.77 but his win-loss record improved to 4-2. I have a gut feeling that the change of scenery, changing leagues is going to pump new life into him. Also sometimes when you get around great pitchers it rubs off on you. I am looking for a new man out there this season and am expecting big things from him this year)
LHP Steven Matz (Compared to the studs on this rotation Matz at best is just a very average pitcher and that is what his stats show. His career 4.04 era tells that. In his career, he has given up nearly a hit an inning pitched which always leads to trouble. Oddly enough he has just a 3.43 era at Citi Field.
RHP Rick Porcello (Another guy trying out the National League for the first time this season with the Mets and the timing could not be better. Ricky had the worst era of his career last season with Boston despite having a winning record, but that would be thanks to the Red Sox powerful offense. He went 14-12 with a 4.52 era allowing 31 home runs in 174.1 innings while giving up 198 hits only striking out 143 men in 32 games started. Despite 11 years in the league he is still young at 31-years old and is capable of turning it around. He was the Cy Young Winner in 2016)
CLOSER – RHP Edwin Diaz (Edwin’s saves were cut in half from 2018 going from 57 to 26 last year with 7 blown saves. He went 2-7 with a 5.59 era. He did a great job striking out 39% of the batters he faced last season. The problem was when he did not strike them out, he could not get them out. He gave up 58 hits in 58 innings pitched including 15 dingers and he walked 22 men. Relief pitching is a strange game. What works one season quite often fails the next and vice versa. There are very few that do this year after year after year and stay at the top of their game. Edwin could easily get right back on track and double up those saves again this season)
Being a Phillies fan (can you tell from the above preview) I do not like the Mets or the Braves, but I do respect them. Even though Atlanta is the defending NL East Champs and the Nats are the defending World Series Champs and the Mets have not had success since 2015/2016, I have a very strong gut feeling they are the team to beat in 2020.
I definitely feel a change where it is not going to be the Braves this season. I am not sure how the Nats did what they did last year, but it will not happen again and I don’t even see them making the playoffs. My Phils will be better but will fall short leaving the town in an uproar again (what’s new) and the Mets with their new, exciting offense and extremely talented pitching win the NL East and easily go over the 86½ wins. I love this play.