A New Yorker's View of the Mets in 2020
Mark Everett Kelly
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Monday, March 9, 2020
Earlier today, I took a look at the 2020 season preview for the New York Yankees. If you go across the WhiteStone or Throgs Neck Bridge, in the bureau called Queens, you will find New York's "other" team.
2019 Finish: 86-76, 3rd place in NL East (11 GB)
Five questions for the 2020 New York Mets
Will the real Edwin Diaz please stand up and carry the bullpen with him?
If one were to predict the worst possible scenario for Edwin Diaz in 2019, I don't know if Stephen King could write a more fiendish outcome. Despite his awful 2019 season, Diaz still possesses nasty stuff, and the Mets are counting an immense rebound season.
Edwin Diaz - MLB Career in Save Situations
The Mets bullpen singlehandedly cost them the postseason in 2019. They lost 37 games in which they either led or tied after seven innings. Their save percentage of 58 was the eighth-worst in MLB, while their 4.95 ERA was the sixth-worst.
The Mets are counting on bounce-back seasons for Diaz, Jeurys Familia (5.70 ERA, 1.73 WHIP), and free-agent signee Dellin Betances (pitched in 2/3 inning in 2019).
Can they end mishaps with marquis players?
Following consecutive postseason appearances in 2015-16, the Mets fortunes concerning their elite players have been less than fortunate.
- David Wright sits out the entire season
- Jeurys Familia appears in just 26 games after setting a franchise record with 51 saves in 2016 due to a blood clot in his armpit.
- Noah Syndergaard season essentially ends on April 30 with partially torn right lat muscle (throws three innings remainder of the season).
- Former ace Matt Harvey finishes season 1-4 with 11.28 ERA and 2.46 WHIP in six September appearances after missing most of the season with a stress injury to the scapula bone in his right shoulder.
- Yoenis Cespedes limited to 38 games and 141 AB, Cespedes plays in just one game after May 13. He undergoes season-ending surgery on both heels in July.
- Former ace Matt Harvey gets traded after going 0-2 with 8.28 ERA and 1.80 WHIP in final seven appearances.
- 2018 Free-Agent signee Jay Bruce limited to career-low 9 HR & 37 RBI while fighting hip, back, and foot injuries.
- David Wright announces his retirement at the young age 33 on September 13th. The Mets activate Wright during their last homestand of the season. After pinch-hitting on September 28, he plays five innings on September 29, going 0-1 with a walk.
- Yoenis Cespedes expected back from heel surgery in second-half of the season, suffers season-ending injury when he steps in a hole on his ranch. After signing a four-year $110 million contract before the 2017 season, Cespedes has played just 119 games.
Fans of the Mets usually expect "the other shoe" to drop at some point during the season. Will this be the year they will avoid any unfortunate disaster to a team leader?
Can Noah Syndergaard reach his potential?
When Thor made his debut in 2015, he loomed large over opponents, and Mets brass expected a dominant starter to preside by Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler (now with Phillies).
While the X-Men's career number of 47-30, 3.31 ERA and 1.16 WHIP are certainly nothing to sneeze at, they lack the punch of someone with his stuff.
A major complaint is the big right-hander's inability to go deep into ball games, as only 20 of his 118 starts have seen him take the mound in the eighth inning. However, Syndergaard's career OPS (.616) & WHIP (1.07) are lower from innings 7-9 than the first six.
Will Pete Alonso suffer a sophomore slump?
The Tampa, Florida native set an MLB rookie record with 53 HR in 2019. Alonso joined Jacob deGrom, Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, and Jon Matlack to win Rookie of the Year.
Along with setting team records for HR, total bases, and XBH, Alonso joined Ted Williams and Albert Pujols as the only rookies in MLB history to reach 100 runs, RBI, and 30 HR in a single-season.
Will Jacob deGrom continue his dominance?
In 2019 deGrom became 4th Cy Young Award Winner in the NL to repeat since 2008, despite posting just 21 combined wins over the last two seasons. Can he become the first pitcher since Randy Johnson from 1999-2002 to win three straight? (or he could become the first-ever to win fewer than ten games!)
Synopsis: 2nd place (90-72) - Will reach the postseason as Wild-Card.
While the Nationals are the defending champs, the Mets defeated then 12 times in 2019, which included blowing a six-run, ninth-inning lead.
The Mets' chief nemesis is the Braves, who should still have enough talent and pitching to rule the NL East. The Mets are just 14-24 against Atlanta over the last two seasons.