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 some surprises and disappointments from the year that was.
There are always surprises and disappointments over the course of a baseball season and 2020 was no exception. As is tradition in our Season in Review series, let’s look at three surprises and disappointments for the Mets in 2020, beginning on the positive side.
Jacob deGrom’s velocity: We all knew that deGrom was the best pitcher in baseball and it was going to be hard to find a way for him to reinvent his game. deGrom did that with a major uptick in velocity, regularly touching 100 miles per hour with his fastball as he led the National League in strikeouts with 104 in just 68 innings pitched. If those velocity gains carry over to 2021 it could be a scary prospect for opposing hitters throughout a full season.
The Rookies: The Mets had two rookies step up to play valuable roles in 2020 with David Peterson becoming the team’s second-best starter while Andres Gimenez raised questions about whether he should supplant Amed Rosario as the team’s starting shortstop. Gimenez’s outstanding plate discipline and tremendous defense was valuable while Peterson showed that he can pitch at the big league level, which is important given the sorry state of the Mets’ rotation beyond this season.
Dominic Smith: The Mets didn’t begin the year with a clear role for Dominic Smith, who began the season behind Yoenis Cespedes on the depth chart. Smith took advantage of Cespedes’ decision to opt-out and became the team’s best hitter, establishing himself as an important part of the Mets’ plans going forward.
The rest of the rotation: The Mets got good results from deGrom and Peterson but the rest of their rotation was bad. Steven Matz was awful, giving up 14 home runs in just 30.2 innings pitched while Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha had ERAs well north of five. Fill-ins like Ariel Jurado and Corey Oswalt didn’t do much better.
Pete Alonso: Alonso’s sophomore season was pretty much slump as he struggled to get going. While he did lead the team in home runs, Alonso was often overpowered with fastballs and carried some of his issues at the plate out into the field with him. Alonso shouldn’t be written off after a pandemic-shortened season but there will be more pressure on him to bounce back in 2021.
Brodie Van Wagenen’s moves: The Mets didn’t do a ton to tweak the roster in the offseason but the few moves Van Wagenen did make backfired. His choice to replace Zack Wheeler with the Porcello/Wacha duo blew up spectacularly while Dellin Betances was never a key part of the bullpen. Van Wagenen also traded a lot of prospects to acquire depth pieces like Jake Marisnick, Robinson Chirinos, Todd Frazier and Miguel Castro, valuable ammunition that the Mets could have used to supplement the big league roster or be pieces in bigger deals going forward.
Check back tomorrow as our Season in Review series continues with a look back at preseason predictions!