ZiPS projections system really likes the 2021 New York Mets

The New York Mets, despite underachieving to a 26-34 record in the condensed 2020 season, have one of the most talented rosters in the major leagues. Yes, they have a couple of needs here or there, but as it is, the existing core could compete for a playoff spot and, with a high-profile addition or two, making a deep postseason run isn’t out of the question.

According to projection system ZiPS, created by FanGraphs’ writer Dan Szymborski, there is a lot to like about the 2021 New York Mets. The ZiPS system has been published for nine consecutive years.

For starters, ZiPS sees Jacob deGrom, once again, as one of the best pitchers in baseball, with a 12-6 record, a 2.85 ERA, and a 2.96 FIP in 28 starts. The system projects 40 walks and 217 strikeoutsin 176.7 innings for the Mets’ ace.
ZiPS is projecting a Mets’ injured starter, Noah Syndergaard, to have a good comeback season. In 126.7 innings, he has a 3.69 ERA attached to him, as well as a 3.68 FIP, 31 walks, and 125 strikeouts.

The rest of the rotation pieces, Marcus Stroman and David Peterson, are projected to have 3.88 and 4.14 ERA, respectively.

The Mets projections are encouraging

About the group as a whole, Szymborski wrote that “after deGrom, there’s a great deal of upside. The Mets were fortunate to get Marcus Stroman back with a qualifying offer; the calf injury that helped cost him 2020 isn’t expected to be a problem next year. Noah Syndergaard’s injury was far more serious, of course, but it’s much better for 2021 that he got his Tommy John surgery in March rather than the Mets playing ‘wait-and-see’ until late summer. David Peterson looked solid in stretches in 2020 and ZiPS isn’t banking on a repeat of his higher-than-expected walk rate.”

As for hitters, the Mets could get, per ZiPS, a rebound season from Pete Alonso, with a .246/.339/.524 slash line, 41 dingers, and 110 RBI.

However, the system forecasts a return to earth for Dom Smith, with a .271/.329/.474 projected line for the 2021 campaign.

Michael Conforto, at 3.9, and Jeff McNeil, at 3.6, are the Mets’ with the most projected Wins Above Replacement (WAR) according to ZiPS.

You can see the whole article and projections in this link.

Who is Trevor May? Analyzing the pitcher who reportedly agreed to join the New York Mets

New York Mets

According to several outlets, the New York Mets will sign right-handed reliever Trevor May. The money involved in the deal aren’t yet known, but they would be getting one of the best bullpen arms of the free agent pool. Tim Britton of The Athletic reported that it is a two-year contract.

But who exactly is Trevor May? He ‘may’ not be a household name, but the numbers and the stuff are both very, very encouraging.

Mets’ fans should know that, as it happens with lots of relievers these days, May began his career as a starter. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008, in round four, out of Kelso HS.

May spent four years in the Phillies’ system, but the Minnesota Twins traded center fielder Ben Revere to Philadelphia for Trevor May and fellow righty Vance Worley. He made his major league debut in 2014, pitching 10 games and starting nine.

The new Mets’ hurler underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2017. By that point, he was already a reliever. When he came back in 2018, he started a string of three excellent seasons out of the Twins’ bullpen, with a 3.20 ERA and a 3.08 FIP in 25.1 innings. He had a 12.79 K/9 and a 1.78 BB/9.

The Mets are getting a quality reliever

May produced a sub-3.00 ERA season in 2019, with 2.94 in 64.1 frames. This year, he had a 14.66 K/9, a 3.86 ERA, a 3.62 FIP, 2.74 xFIP. All in all, the new Mets’ signee has a 3.19 ERA since returning from Tommy John.

As you can see, May’s starter pedigree gives him a high floor when it comes to command. And, another positive of having been raised as a starter is his pitch mix. He has three offerings when the majority of relievers only have two.

May throws a high-velocity four-seamer 47.7 percent of the time, per Baseball Savant. It has been rising in velocity for three straight seasons, starting at 94.0 mph in 2018 to 95.5 last year to 96.3 in 2020.

The Mets also love his secondaries: a changeup, and this slider:

All things considered, Trevor May looks like a savvy investment for the New York Mets. He has a bit of a home run problem (1.93 HR/9 in 2020) but he makes it up with his top-notch stuff.

New York Mets to Sign Former Twins Reliever Trevor May

The New York Mets make their first big signing of the offseason by signing reliever Trevor May, pending a physical. After Tommy John Surgery in 2017, May has emerged as one of the best relievers in all of baseball. The new addition will definitely bolster an underachieving Mets bullpen from 2020.

The first three seasons of May’s career were forgetful as he worked mainly as a starting pitcher. May had a 5.14 ERA in just over 200 innings and became a full-time reliever in 2016. Tommy John Surgery was a blessing in disguise as it revived his career once he returned.

Since his return in 2019, May has a 3.18 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 153 strikeouts in 113 innings pitched. May comes off a 2020 season where his ERA did not justify how well he pitched at 3.86. He had a tremendous 21.7% HR/FB ratio, 3.62 FIP, 14.7 K/9, and 39.6% strikeout rate.

Where Does He Fit in the Mets Bullpen?

May is another power arm to throw during the late innings. He joins Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and potentially healthy Dellin Betances to shut down games. If the Mets failed to sign any quality starting pitching, May slides right into Lugo’s role while Lugo heads to the rotation.

May relies on a four-pitch arsenal in which he loves to change eye levels to set up his strikeouts. His fastball was thrown 47.7% of the time at an average of 96.7 mph in 2020. This led to a 46.9% whiff rate, 33.9% put away rate because May frequently pitched in the top of the strike zone.

May’s slider and changeup are used down in the zone to opposite sides of the plate. Both sit in the mid to high 80s and have similar whiff rates. The slider is thrown to the outside corner for righties, and the changeup is thrown on the outside part of the plate to lefties. May’s slider has a great vertical break, so it is used 32.6% of the time. The changeup is below average in movement, making sense as to why we see it less than 15% of the time.

This signing is the opening salvo of what looks like an exciting offseason. Mets fans were clamoring for a signing, and now they have their appetizer for the big meal coming up soon.

New York Mets reportedly in “deep talks” with one of the top free agent relievers

The New York Mets‘ bullpen had a disappointing 2020. Dellin Betances didn’t bounce back like the team had envisioned (7.71 ERA and 4.91 FIP in 11.2 innings,) Steven Matz and Robert Gsellman both had an ERA over 9.00, and Seth Lugo, the best reliever in the last few years, had to be moved to the rotation.

New Mets’ owner Steve Cohen and his right hand Sandy Alderson have both said they will spend if it means upgrading the roster, and so far, they have been connected with virtually every major free agent available in the market.

The bullpen should be one of those priorities, and according to a report from MLB.com’s beat writer for the New York Mets Anthony DiComo, they could be close to making the first big splash of their offseason.

The Mets are in advanced talks with top relief arm

Sources are telling DiComo that the Mets are “deep in talks” with free-agent reliever Trevor May. The sportswriter reported that “the former Twin ranked seventh in MLB with 14.66 K/9 this season, to compliment a 3.86 ERA. May has a 3.19 mark since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2018.”

To be clear, DiComo wrote in his Twitter account that it is not a done deal, “but there is smoke,” he said. May, a right-hander, would be a fantastic upgrade to a group that struggled mightly in 2020 and would be an option to set up for closer Edwin Diaz, who did have a bounceback season in the shortened year.

The Mets also need one or two starters, a starting catcher (since they decided not to trigger Wilson Ramos’ club option) bullpen help, and perhaps an outfielder capable of playing center. They have also been connected to George Springer in the last few hours, and they remain a player for both J.T. Realmuto and James McCann. As of now, Tomas Nido sits atop the catching depth chart for the Mets.

Find out what the Mets are planning to do with Steven Matz ahead of the non-tender deadline

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

The New York Mets, now that Sandy Alderson revealed that he will make baseball decisions from now on, are actively looking for ways to put the best possible roster for the 2021 season and beyond. That includes analyzing some potential free agent signings, trades, and deciding which players to keep and re-sign of their already existing core.

The New York Mets are in need of several starters. Marcus Stroman will be coming back next season and will join Jacob deGrom and David Peterson under contract, with Noah Syndergaard expected back sometime around June or July. The wild card here would be Steven Matz, who is arbitration-eligible.

The deadline for teams to decide whether to tender contracts to players eligible for the arbitration process is Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. ET. Matz had a horrible season in 2020, marred by a left shoulder bursitis and some ugly numbers.

The Mets’ lefty struggled in 2020

In nine games and six starts, the Mets’ lefty somehow managed to compile a 0-5 record and a -0.7 fWAR. In 30.2 frames, he had a 9.68 ERA and a 7.76 FIP, although his xFIP (4.15) wasn’t as bad as the other run-prevention stats.

According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Mets are likely to tender a contract to Steven Matz before Wednesday’s deadline. It isn’t a surprising development since the team can’t afford to lose capable starters that wouldn’t be so expensive.

If he returns his 2019 form (4.21 ERA in 30 starts and 160.1 innings) he could be a valuable back-end starter or a depth option should the Mets bring Trevor Bauer, Masahiro Tanaka, Jake Odorizzi or another alternative for the rotation via free agency or trade.

Matz is still 29 years old and has had success in the past. According to Tim Healey of Newsday, he has been working with Phil Regan with the hope of getting his career back on track. The Mets paid him $5 million in 2020.

New York Mets Opinion: Use Your Logic To Assess The Offseason

The glitz and glamor of Steve Cohen’s purchase of the New York Mets have faded away. Sportswriters and Mets fans have descended from their cloud nine celebrations. Baseball writers and “analysts” criticize the amount of time it has taken for Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson to construct their front office and roster.

As usual, Andy Martino of SNY and Joel Sherman of the NY Post are creating headlines based on feelings, not logic. Both are known for their loyalty to the Wilpon regime and their want for Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez to own the franchise. They will have you believe the Mets are already in a crisis, or even a failure, based on the Mets’ struggle to find a president of baseball operations.

If This Is A Failure, What Do They Classify The Wilpon Era As?

Now, I am not here to defend everything the new regime does, but I will be honest in telling you those reports are bs. Despite Cohen struggling to get interviews with his selected candidates, Alderson is a good as a backup plan as it gets. Even if the 3-5 year championship window Cohen is a high expectation, any good baseball executive would be crazy to turn down the opportunity the Mets present.

Why rush to hire someone when hiring the right guy is of the utmost importance? This is how the Mets latch on to a Brodie Van Wagenen failure, which decimated the farm system. There is also the potential Theo Epstein may want back in the game after his year off from baseball at the end of 2021.

To think some executives are shying away from the job is hard to believe. Imagine stepping into a job with the most money to spend, the best pitcher/maybe closer in baseball on the roster, and the offense which led the entire league in batting average in the previous season. To call the situation with the front office, a small concern is one thing but to claim that it is a failure makes it a wild claim.

Just a reminder that as of this article being posted, the date is December 1. The Mets do not touch a baseball field for at least another two and a half months. Should the Mets miss big time on their opportunity to improve the roster once spring training rolls around, then, by all means, call it a failure.

Context Clues

The Mets have the most leverage of any team in baseball. Teams can deny the Mets interviews all they want, but they cannot change the situation they are all in. Cohen did not suffer the $100 million-plus type losses from 2020 like the Philadelphia Phillies did. Agents throughout baseball know that as well, which is why this offseason revolves around the Mets. Them and the players they represent will wait until they hear the Mets offer before moving on. The anomaly is Charlie Morton, who understandably opted for location over money.

For the fans who are rushing to make their free-agent photoshops come true, please take a deep breath. Not having a general manager stops them from signing players, and we have seen the ability the Mets have to keep things quiet. Whether someone gets signed tomorrow or February 1, who cares as long as they are in a Mets uniform? Much like my original article about the sale, stay away from Martino and the NY Post.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Pitcher Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances was the big signing the New York Mets made last offseason to bolster their struggling bullpen. In his first season in Queens, injuries and lack of spring training held him back from reclaiming his role as one of the best relievers in baseball.

After three scoreless and walkless outings to opening up his season, Betances struggled to complete entire innings. As usual, Betances still needed a few outings to regain his upper 90s velocity and reign in his breaking ball. Unfortunately, we never saw the consistent high velocity, and Betances had trouble finding the strike zone.

Betances made 10 more outings before heading to the injured list with a right lat injury. In those 8.1 innings, he allowed seven runs and seven walks. While he did not allow an extra-base hit, combining eight hits with those walks led to bad outings.

Betances stint on the IL lasted just under a month, and he returned to pitch twice before the season ended. Both outings were typical of his season, one scoreless with two walks and the other allowing three runs. Betances had more outings where he allowed a walk than ones without a free pass.

Reasons For Struggles

Throughout his career, Betances has been known for his lack of velocity early in the season. Combining the lack of outings he made in 2019 due to injury and the lack of a full, healthy spring camp was something Betances did not adjust to well. Betances had the worst strikeout and walk rates of his career six consecutive seasons of double-digit K/9 numbers.

A positive for Betances is continuing to limit the home runs against him (0). Finishing the season with a 7.71 ERA gave Betances no choice but to use his option year to return for 2021. After two seasons riddled with injuries and dealing with a wacky season, Betances should right himself with a fully healthy offseason and spring training.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

4-Seam Fastball: 45 (60), Lowest average velocity of his career and a 13.2% whiff rate, also the worst of his career.

Curveball: 40 (50), Used to be a major weapon for him and lagged as a strikeout pitch.

Slider: 55 (65), Only threw 24 of them but hitters only batted .231 against it. It should be interesting to see how he balances the curve and slider in 2021.

Command: 20 (50), Never been a control artist but is much better than he was in 2020.

Overall: 20 (55), Betances may not return to being an All-Star, but he still has plenty of good years left in him.

New York Mets and Jacob Barnes avoid arbitration with one-year deal

A team can never have enough bullpen arms. Today’s game is especially demanding in that area, as starters’ average innings per turn is decreasing and relievers take a heavier load. The New York Mets know this, as the bullpen failed in the shortened 2020 season. Edwin Diaz returned to elite status, but Dellin Betances, Brad Brach, and others failed to reach expectations.

That’s why the New York Mets want to address the area during the offseason. In late October, they claimed right-handed pitcher Jacob Barnes off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels. Today, the team and the hurler avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $750,000 contract, according to Bob Nightengale.

The pact reportedly comes with some incentives that could net Barnes and additional $100,000. If you look at the surface numbers, the Mets aren’t getting a good reliever in Barnes, as he had a 5.50 ERA with the Angeles in 18 frames.

However, Barnes is a savvy addition to a club in need of several quality bullpen arms. He carries very good potential, as he had a 24/4 K/BB in those 18 innings and his fielding independent pitching (FIP) was a fantastic 2.25.

The Mets are making a worthwhile gamble

The Mets know they are getting a pitcher with iffy control (4.00 BB/9 rate in 198 career innings) but one who is capable of striking out a batter per frame, as evidenced by his 209 punchouts over that timeframe.

Barnes is primarily a two-pitch hurler. He throws a 90 mph cutter roughly 52 percent of the time and a 95 mph four-seam fastball 46 percent of the time. He rarely throws a changeup.

The Mets are hoping that pitching coach Jeremy Hefner helps him refine his repertoire and get the best possible results out of Barnes. If he has a good spring, he has a very good chance of starting the year in the active roster and contribute from the very beginning.

Barnes was eligible for salary arbitration. The deadline for the Mets, and all teams, to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible ballplayers is this Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Free-agent market for James McCann heating up, will the Yankees or Mets come out on top?

New York Yankees

Catcher is one of baseball’s most important position. They have to call a ballgame, prevent base stealers, field a very difficult position, and still hit four or five times per game. It’s incredibly demanding, and that’s why truly great backstops often earn their payday. Both the New York Yankees and Mets could be looking for a catcher this offseason.

The Mets have more of an obligation to add one, since they declined to pick up Wilson Ramos’ option for 2021. Tomas Nido is atop the catcher depth chart for the Mets, and that’s why they are fully expected to go after the big fish in the position, J.T. Realmuto. However, James McCann is widely regarded as the second best backstop of the 2020-2021 free agent class, and rightfully so.

The Mets are also considering McCann as an addition in this market. If they get him instead of Realmuto, they would, theoretically, increase their chances to add one between center fielder George Springer and star pitcher Trevor Bauer.
The Yankees, though, are also in the mix. Unlike the Mets, they have a couple of starting-caliber catchers in Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka. The former is known for his bat and offensive potential despite a mediocre 2020 season, and the latter falls short of that talent with the bat but makes it up with the glove and defensive work behind the plate.

Will the Yankees address the catcher position?

Nevertheless, the Yankees could address the catching position by adding McCann. After all, they said they would be willing to listen to offers on Sanchez, but his trade value has suffered a severe hit.

McCann’s market is heating up. He’s, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, drawing interest from the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, and Los Angeles Angels.

McCann backed up Yasmani Grandal in 2020, but played much more than a traditional backup and is seen as a starter by other teams.

The 30-year-old spent the past two years with the White Sox and put together the best campaign of his career in 2020 after being named to the American League All-Star team the season prior.

McCann is a good target for the Yankees and Mets because he’s good with the bat (seven homers, .536 slugging and 144 OPS+ in 111 plate appearances in 2020) and behind the dish (nine defensive runs saved at catcher with Chicago while throwing out 32% of would-be base-stealers in the last two years.)

New York Mets: Sandy Alderson will prioritize free agents over trades

New York Mets

The New York Mets are not too far off from being a contending team. They have an amazing offensive core in place, so much that losing Robinson Cano for the whole 2021 season can be fixed by just sliding Jeff McNeil or Andres Gimenez as the full-time second baseman. Their offensive depth is very good, especially in the infield.

However, ever since the Mets welcomed new owner Steve Cohen and president Sandy Alderson, the new regime is clear that some improvements are needed if they want to make a deep playoff run next year and leave behind the awful 2020 experience.

The New York Mets need an ace to pair with Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, once he regains full health. A reliever or two should also be a priority, as is adding a starting catcher, another depth starter, and maybe an outfielder capable of playing center.

Cohen and Alderson have made it clear that while they won’t spend for the sake of it, they are more than willing to flex the Mets’ financial muscle if it means the roster will be improved.

What will the Mets do?

Alderson offered a bit more clarity about the Mets’ winter plans in an interview with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM.

“We expect to be somewhat active in the free agent market as opposed to the trade market. We don’t want to give up our young guys,” Alderson said, noting that the Mets plan to “recommit to our farm system and try to stay away from…our really prospects in significant trades.”

While those remarks don’t entirely dismiss the possibility of adding someone via trade, they do imply that the Mets aren’t likely to bring Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Indians.
In the last couple of years, under Brodie Van Wagenen, they traded prospects Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Simeon Woods-Richardson, and Anthony Kay, among others.

“There are only two currencies in baseball: players and money,” Alderson said. “Right now, especially in the upper levels of our system, we don’t have the players. We have some money at this point. So, we’re going to sort of balance those two things.”