With the New York Mets’ 2020 campaign over, I think it’s safe to say the season was abysmal at best. From key players opting out to pitcher injuries and slumps, the Mets finished 2020 with a 26-34 record and at the bottom of the NL East.
The Mets drama started in 2020 with Yoenis Céspedes not showing up to a day-game against the Atlanta Braves. It was then announced he opted out due to COVID-19 concerns. But more information was released recently saying he felt the Mets did not want him to hit certain contract incentives by having him be the designated hitter.
Then Marcus Stroman followed suit and opted out amid COVID-19-related reasons. An otherwise strong starting rotation was left without its No. 2 pitcher. The rotation continued to deplete due to season-long struggles by Steven Matz, who was moved to the bullpen, poor seasons by Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello, and even Seth Lugo, who was promoted from the bullpen to the starting rotation.
Despite the disarray of 2020, there is still hope in the eyes of Mets fans. Steve Cohen is coming to town and his reputation is already one of someone who is willing to spend money to get this team to where it’s supposed to be, rather than a laughingstock.
Aside from Cohen, there were three bright spots in the 2020 Mets:
Jacob deGrom: Coming off back-to-back Cy Young Awards, deGrom did not seem to slow down this season. Although he likely will not win the award for this short season due to conceding three runs in his last outing, deGrom pitched with complete poise while other starters struggled to get going. deGrom routinely hit 100 and 101 mph on the radar gun and struck out 13.8 per nine innings. He finished the season with a 4-2 record over 12 starts and posted a 2.38 ERA with 104 total strikeouts in 68 innings.
Michael Conforto: Conforto reached a new level during 2020, where he likely would have been named an All-Star had the season been played in full. In 54 games, the outfielder had a .322 batting average with nine home runs and 31 RBI. He finished the season with a .927 OPS and recorded a career-high .412 on-base percentage. Conforto, who is only under club control until next season, has had preliminary discussions about his future with the Mets, though with new ownership coming in, he has stated he doesn’t know what’s going to happen, though he wants to stay in New York.
Dominic Smith: The addition of the designated hitter in the NL was initially met with some hesitance from old-school fans who felt pitchers needing to bat added another level of strategy to the game. While true, the new role cleared room for Smith to get more playing time, which he greeted with open arms. His role became even more solidified when Céspedes opted out, as Pete Alonso was able to play more games as the DH, and Smith got more time at his true position, first base. Though he bounced around a bit and played some outfield, Smith added a much-needed spark offensively. His season ended with a .316 batting average and 10 home runs on 56 hits. He had 42 RBI, a .993 OPS, and a .377 on-base percentage.
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