Sunday, December 15, 2019

Uncustomed Heroes of 2019: Mets

The Mets in the 2010s can be described overall as 'unlucky'.

They make a World Series in 2015 and nearly win on the strength of a powerful roster, but their flagship stars (Yoenis Cespedes and David Wright) miss time to injury, their star at the top of the decade leaves for St. Louis and cements his HOF-status, and they come up with solid end-of-the-decade teams without a good division to dominate.

2019 was another good year for the Mets, but the presence of the Braves and Nationals in the NL East with them forced them to end the year in third without a playoff chance. The strong seasons of Pete Alonso and Jacob deGrom would have to wait to be redeemed.

 Brandon Nimmo was a guy who had a strong 2018 season, then once Michael Conforto back came back to earth, and had some very human numbers this year, hitting .221 in 79 games with only 8 homers. The team loves having him around, and despite trade rumors he's still a big part of the roster.
Why Him in 2019?: His inefficiency led to Jeff McNeil seeing more OF time.
2020 Prediction: Becomes a fourth-OF bench guy, and does fairly well with less pressure.

 The useful swing-man position vacated by Wilmer Flores was inhabited by JD Davis, former Astros farmhand. Davis settled in at left, batted .307 with 22 home runs and 57 RBIs. Yet his fielding numbers detracted from what would have been a fine, well-rounded season.
Why Him in 2019?: Became the more consistent outfield performer at the plate.
2020 Prediction: His role will diminish a bit, but the Mets will know when to use him, and his hits numbers will improve.
 Despite losing a starting job to Pete Alonso, Dominic Smith did fairly well as a bench substitute, with 11 homers in 89 games. His space as the hard-hitting Mets infield prospect has been usurped, but he did his best in 2019.
Why Him in 2019?: Performed better than expected upon giving the 1B spot to Alonso.
2020 Prediction: If someone doesn't trade for him this offseason, he'll be somewhere else in July.

 Steven Matz is definitely the dark horse of the rotation, but he still had some solid starts this year, with an 11-10 record and 153 strikeouts.
Why Him in 2019?: This was Matz' most consistent season to date
2020 Prediction: Will be the odd man out in a Mets rotation of deGrom-Thor-Stroman-Porcello-Wacha. But, once one of the latter two craps out, will have some impressive starts down the stretch.

 Marcus Stroman landing in Queens was certainly the OMG moment of the season, as many people didn't exactly mark the Mets as contenders. In his 11 starts after leaving Toronto, Stroman had a 3.77 ERA with 60 strikeouts and 4 wins. Not bad, but not to the caliber of his start.
Why Him in 2019?: The Mets' biggest mid-season move.
2020 Prediction: Chases 15 wins over a full, dominant season in NY.

 Seth Lugo picked up Robert Gsellman's slack as the best reliever on the team this year, with 104 strikeouts in 80 innings, as well as a 2.70 ERA and 6 saves. Lugo is a few years removed from his impressive WBC run, but he's still a big name in New York.
Why Him in 2019?: In a year of Jeurys Familia, Edwin Diaz and Justin Wilson occupying the pen, Lugo had the best numbers of 'em all.
2020 Prediction: Will be down a few pegs from 2019 but will definitely have some strong games.

 Edwin Diaz in Queens was a bit of a disappointment. The Mets signed this guy to throw 50 saves a year and be his 2018 self, and what does he give them? 26 saves, 7 blown, and a 5.59 ERA. Diaz felt like a shell of his former self, and clung to the few triumphs he had.
Why Him in 2019?: Signed to succeed, and fell hard, causing the questions of the second half to arise.
2020 Prediction: An improvement, in some form.

 Somewhere in 2019, the Mets became a habitat for veterans needing a brief team to try out for. Matt Kemp, Ervin Santana, Adeiny Hechavarria, Rajai Davis and, yes, Carlos Gomez all attempted to prove they had some left, and while Hecha had the best time of it, Gomez' was memorable, in that he [seemingly] ended his career with the same organization he started with.
Why Him in 2019? While Gomez' numbers were nothing to cry at [.198 with 3 homers in 34 games], it was kinda cool to see him back as a Met.

And eventually, after being dropped by the Giants, World Series hero Joe Panik even had some games with the Mets, covering for Cano at second. Panik didn't do too badly, either, hitting .277 and and 12 RBIs in 39 games.
Why Him in 2019?: Landed on his feet after being unceremoniously dumped in favor of a 2nd baseman that'd be similarly released a month later.
2020 Prediction: Someone will sign him to be a Neil Walker-type backup infielder.

Coming Tomorrow- I only have a few Nationals left, but seeing as they won the World Series, they're all kinda important.

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