Now that the New York Mets’ 2020 season is over, we are going to take a look at the year as a whole over the few weeks. We will break down the offense, starting pitching, relievers, coaching staff, declare a team MVP, and more. We begin our season review today with a look at the Mets’ offense.
The Mets were known for their pitching for a long time but the team’s identity shifted to the offense in 2020. The lineup was prolific over 60 games, leading the major leagues in batting average at .272 and third in OPS at .807 but surprisingly finished 13th in runs scored with 286. Poor performance with runners in scoring position played a role in this, but let’s go position by position to assess the Mets’ offense, starting behind the plate.
Wilson Ramos followed up a strong 2019 with a disappointing 2020 where he hit just .239 with 5 home runs and 15 RBI’s while struggling defensively. Tomas Nido looked poised to seize more at-bats, splitting time with Ramos before contracting the coronavirus and being sidelined for the rest of the season. The Mets traded for Robinson Chirinos, who provided a bit of competence but was nothing special, while Ali Sanchez flailed in his limited opportunities. This spot is definitely in need of an upgrade next season.
Expectations were high for Pete Alonso after a 53-homer rookie campaign and he went through a significant sophomore slump. Alonso still led the team with 16 homers but struck out 61 times in 208 at-bats while his batting average slumped to .231. Those struggles at the plate carried over into the field at times for Alonso, who began spending time at DH to let Dominic Smith start at first. There is every reason to write off Alonso’s year as the result of an unusual 2020 but pressure will be on him to bounce back next season.
Robinson Cano got most of the playing time at second base and built off of his solid finish to 2019. The Mets saw Cano hit .316 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs to go along with an outstanding .896 OPS. The question of whether Cano will stick at second defensively remains since the DH is likely here to stay, but it looks like he still has value left as a hitter.
Amed Rosario started out 2020 as the clear shortstop of the future but went through some serious regression at the plate, chasing too many pitches and eventually ceding at-bats to Andres Gimenez, the superior defender. Gimenez didn’t offer as much pop as Rosario but had a better approach at the plate while making some outstanding plays. The Mets will have to choose who is a better fit for the shortstop spot over the course of the offseason.
This spot started as Jeff McNeil’s but was given back to J.D. Davis when McNeil struggled in the field. The switch worked as Davis showed marked improvement as a defender while delivering solid production to start the year. A late-season slump opened some at-bats for the re-acquired Todd Frazier, who hit a few homers but didn’t offer much value.
The primary outfielders for the Mets were McNeil, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto and all three were tremendous. McNeil hit into bad luck early in the season and finished the campaign scorching hot, hitting .356 in September to raise his batting average to .311. Nimmo also came on down the stretch, finishing the year hitting .280 with eight homers, 18 RBI’s and a .880 OPS out of the leadoff spot. The real star of this group was Conforto, who was the most consistent hitter all season, hitting .322 with nine home runs, 31 RBI’s and a .927 OPS. Conforto’s defense was also superb and his breakout should lead to a long-term contract once new owner Steve Cohen takes over.
For the first time in team history, the Mets got to use a designated hitter. Yoenis Cespedes began the year in that role, slugging a few big homers before opting out after getting frustrated over his playing time. That loss was a big gain for Dominic Smith, who seized on his opportunity to play everyday and became the team’s cleanup hitter. Smith hit .316 with a team-high 21 doubles, 10 home runs, 42 RBI’s (which also led the team) and a .993 OPS. This development certainly makes Smith an important part of the Mets’ plans in 2021.
Check back tomorrow as our Mets’ season in review series continues with a look at the starting pitchers!