Mets: NL East Offseason Winner

Believe it or not, the Mets didn’t win this from us by much. Just about every team in the NL East made moves that will make them more competitive in 2021.

Highlights

  • Offseason Adds
  • Current Pitching Staff
  • Current Starters
  • Met’s Weakness?
  • Met’s 2021 Season Predictions
    • Met’s MVP?
    • Met’s Cy Young?
    • Met’s ROY?
    • Met’s Biggest Surprise?
    • Biggest Bust?
Advertisements

Offseason Adds

However, after their 4th place finish in 2020 and a change of ownership, Mets fans can finally see a future where they are the team to beat in New York. Here’s a quick list of the most impactful additions.

  • SS, Francisco Lindor
  • RHP, Carlos Carrasco
  • INF, Jonathan Villar
  • INF/OF, Jose Martinez
  • C, James McCann
  • RHP, Trevor May
  • LHP, Aaron Loup
  • LHP, Joey Lucchesi
  • RHP, Jordan Yamamoto
  • RHP, Taijuan Walker???? (They are in talks)
Advertisements

Current Pitching Staff

Quite the reinforcements for the now NL East favorites. The Mets starting rotation changed almost completely behind CyGrom. Carrasco seemed like an add on behind Lindor, but he is a borderline #2 when right. Not to mention Thor is coming back sometime this year and Stroman is ready to go.

To finish off their pitching, they added 2 of the most undervalued relievers in the market in May and Loup. Add them to Díaz, Lugo, Betances, Familia, and Castro and no other bullpen has this kind of closing experience. Mix in the extra starters like Yamamoto and Gsellman, and this just may be the best all around pitching staff in baseball when healthy and they may still be adding. (Sorry Dodgers, you’re 2 and thats coming from US)

Current Starters

They also believe they upgraded behind the dish after signing McCann to a 4 year deal instead of dishing out for Realmuto. He should hit and defend better than Ramos. Mix that with pitcher favorite, Nido, and the Mets will have a tier 2 backstop combo to handle their tier 1 staff.

More impressive is the Mets somehow improving their already 3rd rated offense (by OPS) from 2020. They kept all of their best batters and added more all star level talent. Check out our ideal Mets lineup (versus last years in the parenthesis).

  1. Brandon Nimmo (Jeff McNeil)
  2. Francisco Lindor (JD Davis)
  3. Jeff McNeil (Michael Conforto)
  4. Michael Conforto (Todd Frazier)
  5. Pete Alonso (Robinson Cano)
  6. Dominic Smith/Jose Martinez (Pete Alonso)
  7. James McCann (Wilson Ramos)
  8. JD Davis/Jonathan Villar (Amed Rosario)

And honestly, it’s very hard to decide the top of this lineup. We could see multiple people winding up as the leadoff hitter besides Nimmo. In particular, without the DH, it would be interesting to see if they stick Nimmo in the 9 spot like the cubs under Maddon. Nimmo is up top because of his speed on OBP potential. But McNeil and Lindor are much more likely to actually get on base more, and in Lindor’s case he can steal those bases as well.

Dom Smith and Jose Martinez now become possibly the deadliest OF platoon in baseball. Jonathan Villar isn’t that far removed from being a top of the lineup guy himself. Even their number 2 hitter from last year is now sitting as their 8 in our opinion, maybe 7th spot at best.

Advertisements

Met’s Weakness

If the Mets have any downside, it’s their lack of depth beyond 30 players. If they manage to stay 95% healthy (and most importantly, HEALTHY WHEN IT MATTERS) this team can win a World Series right now. If not, this team has one of the worst farm systems in all of baseball. There are very few prospects that could elevate this team anytime soon. If the wrong guy (ie. Lindor) get’s injured, that could easily be enough to push this team out of the playoffs in a very competitive NL East.

Met’s 2021 Predictions

  • MVP Prediction:
    • Michael Conforto

Again, with the talent in front and behind him now, we think Michael Conforto is a way too early dark horse candidate for NL MVP. He’s entering his prime age of 27 and coming off his best MLB season so far. He hit lefties far better than he ever has before. He’s spreading the ball all over the field with a mixture of power and speed. He had 9 homers and 3 SB in 2020 which scale up roughly to a 30 homer, 10 stolen base pace in a normal year. He had an OPS of .927, and he continues to trend upward in walks and down in strikeouts.

But the biggest improvement we love is he’s hitting every type of pitch well in 2020. Breaking pitches used to be his kryptonite, but last year he batted .316 against them. Statcast said he overproduced but not by much. Considering it was a small sample size of a season, it seems as if either side could be correct. Either Conforto took the leap to stardom, or he outproduced himself and regresses back to his B-level performance.

  • CY Young Prediction:
    • Jacob Degrom (Sorry, but you try betting against him)

We’re not going to waste our time, no one on this staff has the same ceiling as DeGrom. The only other guy with the same type of ability when healthy is Thor and he won’t be back until midseason.

Advertisements
  • ROY Prediction:
    • Franklyn Kilome

We mentioned that the Met’s don’t have a strong farm system, but hindsight is 20/20 and sometimes star players slip through the cracks. We’re not saying we think this kid will be a star, but out of all of the Met’s top prospects, we think Kilome will have the biggest impact on thee 2021 Mets.

He was last rated as the Met’s 10th ranked prospect as a 25 yo, 6’6″, RHP, starter. He was sidelined for most of 2018 and all of 2019 thanks to TJ surgery, so we think he slides in perfectly as another bullpen reliever. The only disadvantage is that as of right now, the Mets only have 2 LHP out of 12 relievers. So his role is dependent on him beating out, or replacing one of the RHP through trade or injury.

He shined in his first couple years of the minors, but seemed to stumble with each promotion. He did managed to debut in 2020 thanks to a minor league-less year, but it did not go well. In 4 games, Kilome got whacked for an 11.12 ERA as a long reliever. He gave up at least 2 runs in every outing thanks mostly to homers and walks. But his strikeout potential still showed through with 13 in 11.1 IP. We didn’t watch him, but based off his past, we assumed he’s struggling with his control as he tries to work back from a TJ year and a half hiatus.

But we think that could be his advantage. There isn’t a lot of recent info for teams to go off of allowing Kilome a head start against most hitters this upcoming season. With loads of talent ahead of him, he’ll get a chance to develop in low leverage situations which should make the adjustment somewhat easier for him. Plus, with his starting experience, he makes for a good utility pitcher to keep on the staff as he looks to build up innings again.

Don’t expect the world from this kid, we’re just expecting him to contribute more than any other rookie might for the 2021 Mets.

Advertisements
  • Biggest Surprise Prediction:
    • Albert Almora Jr.

Former 6th overall pick now finds himself as the technical 3rd string CF on the New York Mets. But to us, not for long. Why? He’s the best right handed outfielder the Mets have, he’s going into the prime of his career, and we believe this will be the year of contact hitters. Plus, his career .990 fielding % ranks him as a top 50 CF all time defensively. For a modern comparison, he ranks right with Gold Glover Jackie Bradley Jr.

He only had 34 PA’s in 2020, so we’re throwing out the awful blip of a .465 OPS. For his first 3 seasons, Almora was consistently around a .285/.325/.425 type hitter. But something happened late in 2018 and 2019. We think Almora was trying to shift to power hitting which is far from his strong suit. His HR’s went up, but so did his strikeouts while his walks and hits declined.

But now he’s in a position where his contact and defensive abilities separate him from his teammates. His direct competition in Nimmo is a walk and slug type player who isn’t quite as gifted defensively. The combo of Smith and Martinez are almost the exact opposite of Almora. They are pure hard contact hitters and known to be poor defensively. Finally that leaves Conforto who you now know is our MVP pick for this team and has right field locked down. (The Mets have since added Kevin Pillar as direct competition with Almora)

But to play consistently, all Almora has to do is outperform one of Smith, Martinez, or Nimmo enough for the Mets. For Smith and Martinez, it depends on how well they’re hitting. For Nimmo it’s a competition of who can have the higher OBP. Our advice for Almora is be more patient, lay off the off speed. Strike out looking before you make bad contact on a borderline pitch. Spring training will be very important for this shuffled Mets roster.

Advertisements
  • Biggest Bust?:
    • Edwin Díaz

Edwin Díaz is yo-yoing his way up and down every year from elite to subpar reliever. After a 5.59 ERA in 2019, and a 1.75 ERA in 2020, we’re betting on a bad upswing for Diaz past his career average of 3.18. And if we’re being honest, we don’t think his stats would have stayed so low if 2020 was longer. He was only 6 for 10 in save attempts. His WHIP was still high at 1.25. Teams also seemed to get progressively better against him the more they see him as well.

He also seems to baffle statcast. According to most of his expected statistics, he should’ve been elite every year of his career, despite the struggles. But we think Statcast is underrated the fact that when batters do make contact, they tend to make exceptional contact compared to other pitchers.

His barrel % in 2020 was higher than the MLB average, his sweet spot % is over 5% higher than the MLB average, and his hard hit % was almost 4% higher than the MLB average. To us, Díaz is a classic boom or bust player. If you want consistency stay away. He’s either going to come out and strike out the side, or absolutely melt down. In his last 2 years for the Mets, he’s blown 1 out of every 4 saves. (32 for 43). Of his 23 career blown saves, 22 have resulted in him being the losing pitcher of record for his team.

Advertisements

At a very conservative estimate of 32 save opportunities, that would be 8 losses due to a Diaz blown save. Very rarely are closers ever perfect on a season, but very few would blow 25% of their opportunities (let alone the 40% Diaz gave up last year with a 1.75 ERA).

We could be incredibly wrong here, because if Diaz does do well this year he’ll be elite, but we don’t buy this false confidence. We think that the Mets won’t be using Edwin in the 9th by season’s end.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑