The New York Mets endured an unusual offseason in which they fired the manager, hired a new one, and then had to part ways with him. Ultimately, the Mets hired 38-year-old Luis Rojas as their manager.
Of course, the Mets were excited to start the 2020 season. New York closed the 2019 season strong and took home two major postseason awards, with Pete Alonso winning Rookie of the Year and Jacob deGrom winning his second straight Cy Young Award. Those players, among many others, have created a lot of optimism.
However, do the oddsmakers feel the same way about the Mets? What will a sportsbook say about their regular-season win totals and World Series odds? Let’s take a closer look at the 2020 New York Mets to determine if they will be for real or not.
New York Mets 2019 Results
The Mets got off to a fast start, sitting at 9-4 during the second week of April. However, they were barely above .500 at the end of the month and a full five games under .500 three weeks into May.
That was followed by the month of June, which put several nails in New York’s coffin. A seven-game losing streak late in June dropped the Mets 10 games below .500 and looked to take them out of the playoff picture.
Alas, the Mets rallied after the All-Star break in a big way. New York won 13 of its first 18 games and put together an eight-game winning streak at the start of August to climb five games over .500.
The Mets would spend the rest of the season fighting an uphill battle to get back in the playoff race. A six-game losing streak in late August put them a little too far back despite a 17-10 record in September.
Ultimately, the Mets finished a respectable 86-76, putting them in third place in the NL East, 11 games off the pace and three games out of the second Wild-Card spot.
Key Additions to New York Mets
The Mets made a few notable additions, primarily on the pitching front. In the span of a couple of days, they signed veteran starters Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha.
Porcello is coming off a rough season in which he posted a 5.52 ERA with the Red Sox. However, he made 32 starts and won 14 games. He’s also years removed from winning a Cy Young in 2016.
It’s a similar story with Wacha, who saw a dip in his performance with St. Louis. On the other hand, he’s just 29 and a good candidate to have a bounce-back season.
The addition of both Porcello and Wacha gave the Mets six proven starters, which nearly created a fierce competition for the five spots. But with Noah Syndergaard set to miss the season after having Tommy John surgery, the Mets will be glad to have both Porcello and Wacha.
In the bullpen, the Mets made another major addition by signing Dellin Betances, who was a reliever with the Yankees for many years. Of course, Betances made one appearance last season because of a shoulder problem. But his track record as a big-time reliever over the previous five seasons speaks for itself.
Among position players, the only noteworthy addition was outfielder Jake Marisnick, who was acquired in a trade with the Astros. While his offense had peaks and valleys during his time in Houston, Marisnick is a capable hitter and a standout defensive player.
With no true center fielder, Marisnick figures to have an important role in New York’s outfield.
New York Mets Big Losses
The Mets didn’t undergo many changes, although they will miss veteran third baseman Todd Frazier, who became a free agent and signed with the Rangers. Frazier hit 21 home runs and provided important veteran leadership on an otherwise young team.
Mets fans will also note the absence of longtime center fielder Juan Lagares. Despite playing Gold Glove-caliber defense, Lagares’ inconsistency offensively and inability to stay healthy were frustrating. Ultimately, the Mets decided to part ways with Lagares and replace him by trading for Marisnick.
New York’s pitching staff will also remain largely intact. The most notable absence will be Zack Wheeler, who was one of the top free agents on the market and signed with the division-rival Phillies. As mentioned, his rotation spot will be filled by Porcello and Wacha.
The Mets also declined to re-sign veteran reliever Luis Avilan. However, every other reliever who made at least 30 appearances with the club is back.
New York Mets Pitching
Pitching has long been New York’s key to success, and that isn’t going to change in 2020. Obviously, losing Wheeler to free agency and Syndergaard to Tommy John will be a setback. But the Mets appear to have enough depth to put together one of the best rotations, especially over a 60-game season.
Of course, it starts with deGrom, who has won back-to-back Cy Young Awards and was nothing short of brilliant during the second half. The Mets have another frontline starter in Marcus Stroman, who posted a 3.77 ERA in 11 starts after being traded to New York. With free agency on the horizon, Stroman should be motivated to put together a good season once he recovers from a leg muscle injury.
The X-factor in New York’s rotation will be the only lefty, Steven Matz. Despite some ups and downs, Matz has started to settle down and become more consistent.
He was 6-4 with a 3.52 ERA after the All-Star break. If that carries over, Matz, deGrom, and Stroman could be formidable.
Porcello and Wacha will round out the starting rotation. There are lingering questions about both. The Mets only need them to be back-end inning eaters.
Meanwhile, New York’s bullpen could be one of the biggest X-factors. The Mets struggled to find any semblance of consistency in their bullpen, which was the biggest factor in the club missing the postseason. The good news is the Mets have more than enough talent to have an elite bullpen.
Two years ago, Edwin Diaz was utterly brilliant as Seattle’s closer, only to turn into a train wreck with the Mets. If he can get back to being the pitcher he was with the Mariners, he’ll be a difference-maker.
It’s a similar situation for former closer Jeurys Familia, who posted a 5.70 ERA. His track record says Familia can do a lot better, making the Mets desperate for him to turn things around.
Fortunately, the Mets have a few more reliable arms. Both Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson registered an ERA of 2.70 or lower, giving the Mets at least two capable late-game relievers.
As mentioned, Betances could join that group if he proves himself to be healthy after an injury-plagued 2019 campaign. That’s five high-end relievers on New York’s roster, and if three or four can perform up to potential, the Mets should have a reliable bullpen.
New York Mets Offense
The Mets look a lot more dangerous offensively than they did heading into the 2019 season. Much of that relates to the 53 home runs Alonso hit as a rookie.
Of course, he wasn’t the only Mets hitter to have a breakout campaign. Utility man Jeff McNeil has emerged as one of the best hitters in baseball after batting .318.
Alonso and McNeil are now part of the team’s core along with outfielder Michael Conforto, who also had a career year that included 33 home runs. Outfielder J.D. Davis also emerged as a power threat, batting .307 and hitting 22 home runs as a part-time player.
Shortstop Amed Rosario also came on strong and could take another step forward.
It’s also worth noting that the Mets still have veteran second baseman Robinson Cano and catcher Wilson Ramos. Cano is no longer the difference-maker he was a few seasons ago. The Mets don’t necessarily need him to be their best hitter. Ramos, meanwhile, is still a great run producer and a professional hitter.
Finally, the X-factor to New York’s offense is outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who has made headlines during summer camp despite not playing since 2018. Cespedes was invaluable when the Mets went to the World Series in 2015 and can be an impact player.
With the designated hitter available to National League teams, Cespedes could potentially slide into the middle of the order and make New York’s lineup something special.
New York MetsThree Key Players
Without question, Diaz is the most important player. Keep in mind the Mets were three games out of a playoff spot despite a dreadful performance from their closer. If he can get anywhere back to that level, the Mets suddenly become a championship contender.
In the rotation, Stroman is the key player to watch. With deGrom struggling with a back issue during summer camp and Syndergaard ruled out, Stroman will take on a much bigger role. The injury sidetracks his progress. His track record says he’s capable of being an ace.
Finally, outfielder Brandon Nimmo is a forgotten player but could be key for the Mets. His offensive numbers were down last season while he battled injuries.
But he was outstanding in 2018 and excels at getting on base. Nimmo is the type of player who can provide energy for his team, which is something the Mets will need.
New York Mets Schedule Breakdown
With 40 of their 60 games coming against NL East foes, the Mets don’t have an easy schedule in 2020. The Marlins aren’t a pushover, while the Braves, Phillies, and Nationals will also have postseason aspirations. New York had a losing record against the Braves and Phillies, which must change in 2020.
The team’s remaining 20 games will be played against teams from the AL East. Of those 20, six will be played against the vaunted Yankees, which puts the Mets at a disadvantage compared to the other teams in the NL East. Facing the Rays, Red Sox, and upstart Blue Jays won’t be easy either.
Much like last season, New York’s fate could come down to the bullpen.