2021 Preview: NY Mets

Welcome to the final TEN DAYS before opening day! I hope you have been enjoying spring training as much as I have. Baseball is close! I am overjoyed! At the beginning of March, the official Ball Boy Blog previews of all 30 teams began. The previews feature all the Free Agent signings, trades, NRI, bold predictions, and some cool fun facts at the end! We are starting at the top of the 2020 ranks and working our way down from best to worst! Enjoy!

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NL Team: New York Mets

Last Year Record: 26-34 finished 4th in the NL East.

Record x2.7: 70.2-91.8

Vegas Projected: Vegas has the Steve Cohen Mets winning 90.5 games. I am on board with the 90 wins, as I also have them projected to win 90 games, however, with a 4th place finish in the extremely tough NL East.

Impact Departures:

RHP Chasen Shreve(non-tendered), RHP Nick Tropeano(non-tendered), SP Ariel Jurado(non-tendered), RHP Paul Sewald(non-tendered), RHP Dedniel Nunez(Rule 5), OF Jake Marisnick(FA), RHP Michael Wacha(FA), RHP Rick Porcello(FA), OF Yoenis Cespedes(FA), 3B Todd Frazier(FA), RHP Erasmo Ramirez(FA), C Rene Rivera(FA), RHP Jared Hughes(FA), 2B Jed Lowrie(FA), C Wilson Ramos(FA), 2B Eduardo Nunez(FA), LHP Justin Wilson(FA), C Robinson Chirinos(FA),

Traded:

INF Andres Gimenez, SS Amed Rosario, RHP Josh Wolf, OF Isaiah Greene, INF Federico Polanco


Key Arrivals

Free Agent Signings:

-SP Marcus Stroman accepted his QO to stay with the team. There was a lot of speculation that Stroman wouldn't take the offer, and he would test free agency. But with the Mets being under new ownership that expects to win a World Series in 3-5 years, it makes sense why Stroman stayed.

-RHP Taijuan Walker- 2yr $20mil deal with a player option for a 3rd season. The 28yo Walker was looking for a multi-year deal worth $10mil annually. Over the 2020 season between the Mariners and Blue Jays, he posted a 2.70ERA over 53.1IP. He did, however, have a 4.60SIERA and dropped to 93.5MPH average fastball velo from 95.1MPH.

-OF Kevin Pillar to a 1yr $3.6mil deal with a $2.9mil player option with no buyout OR $6.4mil club option with a $1.4mil buyout. The 32yo Pillar is best known for his world-class defense in CF. Last season he posted a .288/.336/.462 slash in 223PA and will provide excellent depth for the Mets.

-LHRP Aaron Loup- Loup is coming in as the most experienced LHP for the Mets pen. He owns a career of 3.38ERA. He has held lefty hitters to a .232/.301/.319 and righty hitters to a .264/.333/.428. Both those lines show a steady and reliable pen arm for the Mets'

-OF Albert Almora Jr- Back to his entire last season in 2019, he hit .236/.271/.381 in 363PA. He only appeared in six MLB games during the 2020 seasons.

-INF Jonathan Villar- Villar should give the Mets a super-utility option based on his speed alone. 2020 wasn't great for Villar as he ended with a .232/.301/.292 slash line between Miami and Toronto. Back in 2019, with the Orioles, he was the best player on the team, slashing .274/.339/.453, 24HR, 40SB.

-RHP Sam McWilliams was signed to a$750K 1yr deal. The 25yo has not made his MLB debut yet; the 6'7" P only has pitched 44IP with an 8.18ERA. Over a total of 535IP in his MiLB service, he owns a 3.85ERA with a 7.0K/9.

-RHP Jacob Barnes agreed to a 1yr $750K contract with $100K available in incentives. In 2020, with the LA Angels, he had 18IP with a 5.50ERA but a 2.25FIP and 1.27WHIP with 24K.

-RHP Trevor May- 31yo May has been excellent since 2018, pitching in 113 games and 113IP of 3.19ERA, 4.03K/BB, 12.2 K/9. In 2020 May had 23.1IP with a 3.86ERA/3.62FIP with 38K and a 14.7K/9.

-C James McCann- Since 2019, the catcher has slashed .276/.334/.474 over 587PA with 25HR. He also threw out 37% of base stealers.

-C Caleb Joseph to a split contract. The deal puts him on the 40-man roster. The 34yo spent the 2020 season with the Blue Jays on the Taxi Squad. He did appear in 3 games and go for 1-8 with 1HR. He is a career .222/.270/.351 hitter in 1367PA. He has thrown out 31% of base stealers and is an above-average pitch framer.

Traded for:

-SS Francisco Lindor- Lindor is a 4x All-Star, 2x Gold Glove, 2x Silver Slugger with a .285/.346/.488 slash over 6 MLB seasons

-SP Carlos Carrasco- Carrasco's 11 seasons ended with the trade as he leaves with a 3.77ERA, 25.5K%, over 1242.1IP.

-SP Joey Lucchesi- Excellent 4th/5th starter option in Lucchesi, who recorded ERAs in the 4.00s in 2018 and '19 before tossing just 5 2/3 innings in the bigs last year. Lucchesi's not eligible to become a free agent until after 2024.

-RHP Jordan Yamamoto- Yamamoto looked to be coming on as a vital piece of the rotation in 2019; he quickly tailed off in 2020 before an injury ended his season. He gave up 23ER, 27H, in 11.1IP.

-Josh Winckowiski, Sean Reid-Foley, Tennsy Diaz- Both Reid-Foley and Diaz have made their MLB debuts. Reid-Foley has thrown 71.2IP of 4.40ERA over the last three seasons with a 76:48 K-BB ratio. Diaz has one MLB appearance and a solid track record of success at the AA level. Winckowski, 22, has reached just the High-A level throwing 127.1IP with a 2.69ERA.

Claims:

-LHP Stephen Tarpley- While pitching with the Marlins and Yankees, he owns a 6.65ERA, 27.2% strikeout rate over 44.2IP. He did post a dismal 11ER over 11IP in 2020. The 27yo has an excellent record of success at AAA with a 2.88ERA over 62.2IP.

-RHP Jacob Barnes, RHP Nick Tropeano

Key NRI:

OF Mallex Smith, INF Jose Peraza, C Bruce Maxwell, RHP Arodys Vizcaino- each camp on MiLB deals and is non-roster. Each could crack the roster with a strong showing.

LHP Mike Montgomery- Since the start of the 2017 season, he has served as an above-average swing option with a 4.03ERA over 351IP. In that span, he has a 53.1% groundball rate.

RHRP Tommy Hunter- The 34yo pitching in 24G with the Phillies in 2020, posting a 4.01ERA/3.57SIERA over 24.2IP.

RHP Trevor Hildenberger- The 29yo didn't pitch in 2020, but in 2017, he had a 3.21ERA/3.01FIP with a 58.8% ground ball rate over 42IP. In 2018-19 it was a different story as he had a 6.35ERA/4.58FIP and a 44.5% ground ball rate over 89.1IP. He reunites with former Twins teammate Trevor May.

LHP Jerry Blevins- The 37yo Blevins returns to queens, where he spent 2015-18 and had great success as he pitched to a 3.38ERA/3.61FIP over 138.2IP. After struggles and rule changes in 2019 and 2020, the former left specialist will enter Mets camp with a great chance to be the lefty out of the pen. Daniel Zamora is the only LHRP on the Mets 40 man as of 12/12.

RHP Jerad Eickhoff- The 30 yo will hope to land with the Mets in the bullpen and stay in the NL East. Between 2015-19 he owns a 4.15ERA/4.39FIP over 440IP.

INF Brandon Drury- Over the last three seasons, he has slashed a .205/.254/.346 slash over 582PA. Drury provides depth at 2B, 3B, and corner OF.

NRI:

INF Wilfredo Tovar, LHP Tom Windle, RHP Harol Gonzalez, RHP Ryley Gilliam, RHP Ryor Megill, RHP Marcel Renteria, RHP Jared Robinson, C Nick Meyer C David Rodriguez, INF Jake Hager, INF Wilfredo Tovar, OF Johneshwy Fargas, OF Drew Ferguson

Tendered:

RHP Robert Gsellman, SP Steve Matz, 1B Dominic Smith, 3B JD Davis, OF Brandon Nimmo, OF Guillermo Heredia, OF Michael Conforto, RHP Miguel Castro, RHP Edwin Diaz, SP Noah Syndergaard, SP Seth Lugo

Returning from IL:

RHP Seth Lugo- Underwent surgery on his throwing elbow, and he will not throw for six weeks. The surgery was on 2/12.

RHP Marcus Stroman(restricted), C Thomas Nido, RHO Robert Gsellman, RHP Noah Syndergaard

Prospect Watch in Camp

-OF Khalil Lee, RHP Oscar De La Cruz, INF Ronny Mauricio, C Francisco Alvarez, INF Brett Baty, RHP Matt Alan, OF Pete Crow-Armstrong, INF Mark Vientos, RHP Ryley Gilliam- Each of these guys are top-30 prospects within the organization.

-The Rookie I am watching for the Mets in 2021 is LHP Thomas Szapucki. After posting a 2.63ERA between A, A+, and AA in 2019, he could leap to the MLB this spring with the Met's needing LHP in the bullpen. In 2019 he had 72K-26BB and held opposing hitters to a .214BA over 61.2IP. UPDATE: Szapucki was optioned to AAA camp.

-P Frankly Kiome, Sean Reid-Foley both were optioned to AAA camp.

Fantasy Impact Players

Pitchers- Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, Edwin Diaz, Trevor May,

Position- C James McCann, 1B Pete Alonso, 2B Jeff McNeil, 3B J.D. Davis, SS Francisco Lindor, OF Dominic Smith, OF Michael Conforto

Upcoming 2022 Free Agent

-OF Kevin Pillar carries a $2.9mil player option for 2022. I don't doubt he will cash that in unless he has a fantastic age 32 seasons.

-Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto has gained high praise from everyone in the front office and coaching staff. Both will get long-term deals, and they will both be under 30.

-Marcus Stroman, after accepting his QO, the Mets will hope to be able to see a great season from him, and one that is worthy of an extension for the will be 31yo.

-34yo Dellin Betances, 32yo Jeurys Familia, 34yo Aaron Loup will be free agents at season end. (Note, the ages above are the end of the season.)

-OF/INF Jonathan Villar is also a free-agent come seasons end.

-Lastly, Thor himself will be 29yo come seasons end and a free agent. Look for Thor to get his money if he can prove dominant coming back from TJ surgery.

Storylines to follow

-If it hasn't happened yet, I am sure it will in the coming days, but a potential Francisco Lindor extension followed by a Michael Conforto extension. Which will then be followed by a Stroman and Syndergaard extension.

-No one, and I mean no one spins it better than deGrom especially entering into his 30's and hitting 102MPH.

-The rotation race will be tough as both Jordan Yamamoto and Joey Lucchesi are shining bright in the big apple.

-Seth Lugo should be getting moved back to the pen in 2021, with the rotation featuring deGrom, Carrasco, Stroman, Peterson, and Syndergaard back in the summer.

-The NRI's I am watching in the camp are a bunch of veteran bullpen pieces. LHP Mike Montgomery(53.1% groundball rate since 2017), LHP Jerry Blevins(A former lefty specialist), RHP Trevor Hildenberger(44.5% groundball rate in 2018-19). Keep an eye on these three as they could anchor the Mets pen in 2021.

Bold Predictions

-I will call the breakout for C James McCann; since the start of the 2019 season, he has slash .276/.334/.474 in 587PA. McCann is finally coming in as the primary catcher for the Mets and has an opportunity to ball out for really the first time in his career. He is also a whiz behind the plate, framing and throwing out 37% of would-be base stealers.

-I have two guys I am looking at as rebound candidates for the Mets RHP Joey Lucchesi and RHP Jordan Yamamoto. Both of their seasons were lackluster. Lucchesi was pitched in just 5.2IP, while Yamamoto only threw 11.1IP. Both have shown upside in spurts; let's see if they can put it together for the Mets in 2021.

Fact Check:

Garth Brooks Once Tried Out for the Team: He had no hits in seventeen at-bats and was cut from the team. He also tried out for the Padres and the Royals at different times.

The Secret Service threatened Their Mascot. Mr. Met set off multiple metal detectors during a 1997 visit from Bill Clinton. Secret Service members told the Mascot they would shoot for his head if he tried anything.


Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed reviewing the Mets with me today. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.

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