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New York Mets 2020: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

New York Mets 2020: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

New York Mets 2020: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

The Mets saw enough positive signs in the second half to believe strongly that they will contend this season. And they’re right: Even in a very competitive division, they should make a strong run for the playoffs, although it won't be with the manager they originally envisioned. Carlos Beltran was hired in early November but he and the team agreed to part ways in mid-January after he was the only player named in MLB's investigation of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.

A week later, the Mets announced that Luis Rojas, formerly the quality-control coach, had been hired as the new manager. So while the name may have changed, the dynamic that the team would be led by a first-year manager has not. And unlike, Beltran, Rojas has eight years of minor league managerial experience under his belt and has been with the organization since 2007.

Regardless of the uncertainty at manager, the Mets know they have the starting pitching and the offensive firepower, and their bullpen can’t be as bad as it was in 2020. Perhaps Rojas and a few new coaches can coax this group into a few more wins — and into the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Mets

“It’s easy to forget that the Mets would have made the playoffs last year if the Brewers hadn’t gotten crazy hot in September. They’ve got a good shot with that rotation and offense, even though their defense is well below average. Jacob deGrom is a marvel; he can get you out with his fastball, which is rarer and rarer. It’s got a lot of rise up in the zone, and then he’s got that wipeout, killer slider. Rick Porcello is an expensive gamble in the No. 5 spot; he’s only a few years removed from winning the Cy Young, but he’s a ground ball pitcher and the Mets have a shaky infield defense. The outfield defense isn’t much better, with J.D. Davis below average in left, and Brandon Nimmo not a true center fielder. But there’s a lot to like with the offense — Pete Alonso is a monster, Jeff McNeil is an old-school grinder and Michael Conforto came into his own last year. Robinson Cano still hits the ball hard, but at 37 I wouldn’t really expect him to bounce back. The most intriguing reliever is Seth Lugo — he’s like a multi-inning old-time fireman.”

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Beyond the Box Score

Managerial Musical Chairs When Luis Rojas was introduced as the Mets' new manager on Jan. 24 he became the team's fourth to hold the title in less than three years, and the third in just four months. After Mickey Callaway was fired on Oct. 3 after two seasons, the team hired Carlos Beltran less than a month later and signed him to a three-year contract with a club option for a fourth year. Unfortunately, Beltran's tenure lasted less than three months before he and the team parted ways in mid-January following the conclusion of MLB's investigation into the Astros' sign-stealing scandal.

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2020 Athlon Sports Baseball Preview

Jeremy's Spoken

 The Mets’ new pitching coach, Jeremy Hefner, is 49 years younger than the man he replaces, Phil Regan, who took the job on an interim basis last season. Hefner, 34, pitched 50 games for the Mets in 2012 and 2013 before two Tommy John surgeries sent him into coaching. Hefner was the Twins’ advance scout and then the assistant pitching coach under the data-savvy Wes Johnson, so he’ll be familiar with analytics and technology, and he is said to have strong communication skills that will help him translate information to the modern player.

Helping Hand with Homers Pete Alonso made the minimum salary of $555,000 last season, but he earned more than that for one night’s work when he won the new $1 million prize as the Home Run Derby champion at the All-Star Game in Cleveland. Alonso donated 10 percent of his winnings to charity, with $50,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project and another $50,000 for Tunnel to Towers, which builds homes and provides care for injured service members, first responders and Gold Star families.

The Flying Squirrel Jeff McNeil didn’t like his nickname at first, but by the start of last season he had ordered gloves with “Flying Squirrel” stitched above the thumb. Here’s why Newsday columnist Dave Lennon calls it a fitting moniker: “McNeil certainly comes off as the squirrelly type in the most flattering sense: a scrappy, scraggly-haired resourceful hitter who clings to an at-bat like his namesake to a tree branch,” Lennon wrote. “You can’t shake him off.”

Projected Lineup

LINEUP

3B     Jeff McNeil (L)

1B     Pete Alonso (R)

RF     Michael Conforto (L)

LF     J.D. Davis (R)

2B     Robinson Cano (L)

C      Wilson Ramos (R)

CF     Brandon Nimmo (L)

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SS     Amed Rosario (R)

BENCH

C      Tomas Nido (R)

OF    Jake Marisnick (R)

OF    Yoenis Cespedes (R)

2B    Jed Lowrie (S)

1B    Dominic Smith (L)

SS     Luis Guillorme (L)

ROTATION

RHP     Jacob deGrom

RHP     Noah Syndergaard

RHP     Marcus Stroman

LHP     Steven Matz

RHP     Rick Porcello

BULLPEN

RHP     Edwin Diaz (C)

RHP     Dellin Betances

RHP     Jeurys Familia

RHP     Seth Lugo

RHP     Robert Gsellman

LHP     Justin Wilson

RHP     Brad Brach

2020 Prediction: 3rd in NL East