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 continue today with a look at the Mets’ coaching staff.
2020 was going to be a difficult season for any coaching staff to work through but the Mets certainly had a unique challenge. Luis Rojas was given a late start to spring training after the Mets moved on from Carlos Beltran after his involvement in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal was publicly revealed and the coronavirus pandemic cut the season to just 60 games. The team also fell flat, winning just 26 games and missing out on an expanded postseason. Where did it all go wrong? Let’s review the coaching staff on today’s edition of the Season in Review series and find out.
Manager: Rojas, a long time coach in the organization, certainly had his growing pains as Mets’ skipper. There weren’t as many unforced errors from Rojas as there were from Mickey Callaway but he did struggle to get a feel for how to best utilize his admittedly shaky pitching staff. Rojas also made some baffling lineup usage after the acquisition of Todd Frazier but it is fair to wonder how many of those decisions were dictated from above. For what it’s worth it does seem like the players like playing for Rojas, but making a judgment on him after one underachieving shortened season is tough.
Pitching Coach: The Mets drew rave reviews when they brought in Jeremy Hefner to serve as their pitching coach for his approach towards analytics but the results simply weren’t there. Hefner can certainly take a bit of credit for helping Jacob deGrom find another gear with his velocity but he didn’t make much out of others on the staff. Whether that is an indictment on Hefner’s coaching ability or the arms provided by Brodie Van Wagenen isn’t clear.
Bullpen Coach: Ricky Bones returned as the bullpen coach and that unit was also up and down. Edwin Diaz started out sluggishly but finished strong, which is nice, but Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, and Jared Hughes simply weren’t consistent. This, similar to Hefner, could be a case where it’s tough to determine whether the team’s failures lay with the coaching or the talent.
Hitting Coach: This is a bit tricky since Chili Davis was the actual hitting coach but worked remotely due to the pandemic. Tom Slater and Ryan Ellis were on site and the group actually led the league in numerous categories but struggled to hit with runners in scoring position. The offense was very good as a whole but you have to wonder if the struggles of guys like Pete Alonso could have been helped with Davis in the building, which is an unfortunate byproduct of the circumstances.
Bench Coach: Respected veteran Hensley Meulens was brought in as the bench coach and seemed to do a good job in his responsibility. There is no evidence he did poorly but little to make him stand out either so he’ll receive the same grade as Rojas.
The Rest: The base coaches were Gary DiSarcina and Tony DeFrancesco, who also worked primarily on defense and base running, neither of which were areas the Mets excelled in. That alone will lead to a bad grade for the rest of the staff.
The coaching staff certainly had a mixed year and its future is clearly in question with the pending change in ownership. The front office will likely get reshuffled and the new regime could look to bring on their own manager to start clean. It could be a tough break for Rojas but it is worth noting that Sandy Alderson, who is expected to return as the president of baseball operations, has a relationship with Rojas through their years working in the organization.
Check back tomorrow as our Season in Review series continues with a look at surprises and disappointments!