Projecting the New York Mets Everyday Lineup

The 2020 New York Mets starting lineup comes in with plenty of potential, but one of their biggest questions will be defense. Their lineup contains plenty of power as well, which should make up for the lack of speed it holds. Here is what it should look like come Opening Day.

Catcher: Wilson Ramos

Wilson Ramos is an undervalued catcher coming into Spring Training. He came off a strong year at the plate, hitting .288/.351/.416 with 14 home runs and 73 RBIs. Ramos defense is what held him back ranking in the bottom of most defensive metrics and only throwing out 15% of base stealers. Most of it was in part of the Mets inability to hold runners on, but the Mets should expect another strong year from the Buffalo.

First Base: Pete Alonso

There is nothing to say about Pete Alonso that everyone else has not said. He is coming off one of the best rookie seasons of all time and has emerged into a fan favorite. The home runs are likely to regress, but the real growth from Alonso will come in his walk and strikeout rates.

Second Base: Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano came in full of hype in his return to New York but struggled with injuries and his performance. Despite entering his age-37 season, his solid second half should give hope that he returns to All-Star form. Cano should keep his performance strong as he ages much like fellow Dominicans Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz.

Shortstop: Amed Rosario

Amed Rosario had a huge growth year in 2019. He set career highs in offensive stats across the board and improved defensively in the second half. Rosario’s walk rates and stealing ability still need to improve, but at age-24, he is trending in the right direction.

Third Base: Jeff McNeil

Jeff McNeil emerged as an All-Star outfielder but is likely to play a majority of third base. The position itself will be a revolving door early in the season, but once he should remain there every day as Luis Rojas settles on a consistent lineup. McNeil’s power emerged in 2019, which made him a very dangerous hitter due to his high ability to put the ball in play.

Left Field: J.D. Davis

Speaking of a revolving door, that is likely what the Mets outfield will be. J.D. Davis took the job in left field and ran with it to make Brodie Van Wagenen look like a genius for acquiring him. His defense is a significant issue, and any improvement can make him a real All-Star threat in the National League. The competition between Davis and Yoenis Cespedes should be exciting, especially if Cespedes shows he is fully healthy. The prediction is that Davis comes away with the job, but if Cespedes is in the 2015-16 form, then there is a real log jam there.

Center Field: Brandon Nimmo

Despite all the trade rumors, Brandon Nimmo has survived the offseason. His ability to get on base allows his flaws as a center fielder to go overlooked. Nimmo is still a serviceable center fielder, and with Jake Marisnick as a defensive replacement, it should help the Mets late in games.

Right Fielder: Michael Conforto

Michael Conforto has been the one consistent part of the Mets offseason. No drama or publicity and it translates to his play on the field. He has hit 25+ home runs in three straight seasons and has been someone the Mets count on to anchor the middle of the order. Conforto will see time in center field, but a majority of his time will be in right field.

DH to National League Would Benefit the Mets

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

2020 could be the last season of old school baseball as Major League Baseball is considering expanding the designated hitter rule to both leagues.

The DH has been specific to the American League since 1973 and is used in interleague play, the World Series and the All-Star game when the AL is the home team.

How does this help the New York Mets? Greatly, which is why many Met fans will put their baseball purist cards in their back pockets and sit back and enjoy the show.

The Mets have a slew of players who are much better hitters than they are fielders and have quite a number of solid hitters who play the same position.

If the DH comes to the NL, the immediate relief the Mets will get will be with 38 year-old second baseman Robinson Cano. Cano’s range in the field is narrowing but his bat still has some pop. The Mets could solve their Jeff McNeil problem with this new rule by making him their everyday second baseman and batting Cano, who is under contract though 2023, at DH most games. It would also open op a spot in the outfield and at third base, possibly giving J.D. Davis some more at bats.

The DH role could also be used in the case of Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso at first base. Since Alonso’s break out last year, Smith has been forced to play the outfield and serve as a pinch hitter.

Danny Abriano of SNY.tv believes the DH will benefit Ronny Mauricio, a prized shortstop in the Mets’ farm system that will be ready for the majors in 2022. With Amed Rosario still under team control, having the DH could push one of them to play another position or to DH so the club can gain an advantage from having both players in the lineup.

New York Yankees: Comparing Jeter and Cano to Torres and LeMehieu

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

I was watching the 2009 World Series DVD of the New York Yankees beating the Phillies and remembered how much I enjoyed watching the dynamic duo, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, hold it down in the middle of the infield. It got me thinking that the Yankees haven’t had two players of that caliber of talent since those years. However, Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu might just be the next big Yankee middle infield duo.

I was looking at both Jeter’s and Cano’s stats from the years they played together which was 2005-2013. In those years, Jeter batted .310 with 106 total home runs and 568 runs batted in. Cano put up a .309 batting average with 204 homers and 822 runs batted in. In those eight years playing together, Cano and Jeter put up some solid offensive numbers.

Between Cano and Jeter when they shared pinstripes, 12 all-star games were played, six Gold Glove awards were given, ten Silver Slugger awards were awarded, and one World Series ring was won. It’s no question that Jeter and Cano made up the best middle infield duo of those years.

Ever since Cano left the Yankees and Jeter hung up the cleats, the Yankees haven’t had that kind of middle infield power. Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres are phenomenal infielders, but they still lacked some of the things Cano and Jeter accomplished.

This upcoming year, Gleyber Torres is expected to slide over to shortstop and DJ LeMahieu will be playing at his natural position at second base. These two may have what it takes to put up the same numbers as Cano and Jeter.

LeMahieu is already a premier hitter and consistently has put up a high average throughout his career. Torres is lesser on the batting average but can pop 40 homers a year.

I personally think Torres and LeMahieu can match or even beat Cano’s and Jeter’s offensive numbers but defensively, Jeter and Cano will remain the best duo. They were both constant Gold Glove winners and put up high fielding percentages throughout their careers.

It’s no question that Torres and LeMahieu will be a strong middle infield for the New York Yankees. They’ll definitely be two of the players leading at the plate as the Yanks try and take home championship number 28.

The New York Mets Make it Official With Dellin Betances

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Dellin Betances

The New York Mets made the bullpen move the Yankees couldn’t make one Christmas Eve, secure an anchor. Well, it’s not so much that the Yankees didn’t need to secure an anchor for the bullpen, they have about 5 anchors in the pen. But the Mets did need to secure an anchor. And on January 2nd, they formally introduced former Yankee, Dellin Betances, as a New York Met.

Why the Mets?

Other teams were interested in the All-Star reliever, so why would he want to play for the Yankees cross-town rival? In Dellin’s words:

“The excitement of being here with the Mets and the possibility to play for Carlos Beltran and play with this team excited me.”

Remember, Dellin was teammates in the Bronx with Beltran from 2014 to 2016. He also was teammates with Mets infielder, Robinson Cano, from 2011 to 2013 as well. Some familiarity walking into a new setting is comforting, especially for a guy who came back from almost missing an entire season, to then rupturing his Achilles in his only appearance of 2019. Having former teammates/friends in Cano and his new manager will do a lot to help settle the occasionally erratic Betances quite a bit.

Home Town Hero

Much is to be said for staying in ones home town. Hell, we all had suspicions that Gerrit Cole would sign with the Angels or Dodgers due to his Southern California roots this offseason. And for Dellin, it was no different:

“New York is in my blood. I grew up playing in the Lower East Side. I went to high school in Brooklyn and I played minor-league ball in Staten Island. In 2011, I made my major league debut in the Bronx, and now I stand here and get a chance to wear this Mets uniform playing in Queens.”

Not everyone can make it in New York, in either borough. And nothing works quite like home cookin’. I’ll miss Dellin in pinstripes, but the Mets definitely could’ve done worse (much worse) in picking him up. Best of luck. Hopefully we’ll reconnect in another October Subway Series.

New York Mets: Robinson Cano Year in Review

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

The Mets biggest offseason splash was their decision to acquire Robinson Cano in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. Much like many of the Mets this season, he started off very slow in the first half, but figured things out towards the end of the season.

The decision to bring in Cano, along with Edwin Diaz, was met with much criticism. Cano had five years left on his expensive contract and was heading into his age-36 season. Brodie Van Wagenen felt bringing in Cano was worth giving up Jared Kelenic, the Mets first round draft pick from 2018.

Slow Start

Cano actually had a decent April, hitting .270 with three home runs, but hit a wall during May and June. He dealt with multiple injuries and looked uncomfortable at the plate leading to a .211 average with one home run in 34 games. To make matters worse there was drama surrounding Robinson Cano not running out ground balls. This led to Cano attempting to leg out a grounder, then promptly injuring his quad.

The lack of production from Cano and Diaz made Van Wagenen look like a fool for making the trade.

After the All-Star break, Cano came back with a vengeance. He hit .289 with six home runs and 14 RBIs. He was starting to look like the future hall of famer the Mets expected to acquire. Unfortunately, his hot streak was cut short as he pulled his hamstring on August 4th and at that point it seemed like his season was over.

Cano’s Leadership

In the month Cano spent on the shelf, he was always active in the Mets dugout. He could always be seen on the top step giving advice to young players like Amed Rosario. It paid off as the Mets made their charge towards the top of the wild card standings.

Once Cano saw the Mets had a legitimate shot at the postseason, he did whatever he could to return. At 36, hamstring injuries are very serious, but Cano only needed a month to return. He hit a very respectable .277 when he returned and showed no ill effects from the injury. He gave the Mets hope he could return to All-Star form in 2020 and, who knows, he might be playing for former manager Joe Girardi.

Grades:

Offense: B-, He looked awful to start the year but rounded into form at the end of the year.

Defense: C, He is still as smooth as ever, but does not move the same way. Understandable as he gets older.

Baserunning/Speed: D, No speed, still a decent baserunner

Intangibles: A, Always handles the media well and was terrific with the young players

Overall: C+, It is hard to think he will play at an MVP level again, but in the second half we got the Cano we expected.

The Mets will be stacked with infielders in 2020 and to get the most out of Cano they will have to give him days off and play Jeff McNeil at second base to keep Cano fresh. Cano was 29-for-70 (.414) in the first game after receiving any amount of time off. To keep their major investment fresh, they should keep him around 130-140 games played, if healthy all year.

New York Mets: Robinson Cano Expects to Return Tuesday

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

When Robinson Cano went down with a torn left hamstring on August 5th, it seemed to be a disappointing end to a subpar season. At 36-years old and having dealt with leg injuries all season, there was no reason to expect to see him play second base again this season. Cano has moved quickly through his rehab assignment and expects to return to the Mets on Tuesday.

Cano went 2-for-7 during his two games with the Brooklyn Cyclones and was running without any issues. He will join Brandon Nimmo as the latest Mets reinforcement returning from the Injured List. Despite a disappointing first season with the Mets, he had been 10-for-19 in the five games before he injured his hamstring.

Cano or Panik?

With Cano’s return the Mets now have a surplus of second basemen, including Jeff McNeil. With Cano and Joe Panik on the roster McNeil will be relegated to third base and the outfield. Since Panik has joined the Mets, he stabilized the position Cano left empty. As a Met, Panik is batting .260 with eight RBIs and played solid defense, but will likely lose some playing time to Cano.

Cano provides more power and a bigger presence in the Mets lineup. Since Cano has returned ahead of schedule, the Mets are going to be extremely careful with the amount he plays. Panik will still allow the Mets to have a quality bat off the bench and a capable replacement should Cano tweak the hamstring again.

The Lineup They Have Been Waiting For

Inserting a healthy Cano on the roster gives the Mets lineup the depth they have been missing all year. At their potential it could look something like this:

C: Wilson Ramos

1B: Pete Alonso

2B: Robinson Cano

3B: Jeff McNeil

SS: Amed Rosario

LF: J.D. Davis

CF: Brandon Nimmo

RF: Michael Conforto

Play with the order as you may, but any combination could match up with any team in baseball. It may be too little, too late, but the Mets are going to give it their best run until they are mathematically eliminated. With a lineup like that, they give themselves a chance to pull off a miracle.

New York Mets: Robinson Cano to Begin Rehab Assignment

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

When Robinson Cano tore his left hamstring on August 5, it was assumed his first season as a Met came to a sad end. Initially, Cano needed 6-12 weeks to return, but he has accelerated his recovery to a point where he can start rehab games.

Cano will play second base and bat second for the Brooklyn Cyclones on Saturday night. He took live batting practice and ran at Citi Field earlier in the week, which let him know he was ready for game action. Mickey Callaway said he will will leave it up to Cano to dictate when he feels ready to return to the lineup.

Will Cano Return This Season?

Cano will not have a large window to play minor league games since their seasons are concluding. The Mets will likely have no minor league affiliates in the postseason. The Cyclones are the fighting for a playoff spot and the presence of Cano should help them stretch out their season. Should Cano feel good in his handful of minor league games, the Mets could activate him when the rosters expand to 40 in September.

Cano had a brutal start to the season but showed signs of turning things around in the second half. He was hitting .289 with 6 home runs in the second half up until he injured his hamstring. In the five games prior to the injury he was 10-19 and was one of the major reasons the Mets were turning their season around.

Too Little Too Late?

He joins a cast of Mets who may return to a team who has too much ground to make up. Heading into the last day August, they are five games behind the Cubs and have a ton of work to get back in the race. Anything is possible in September, but they will need their reinforcements to bring the energy the Mets have lacked over the last week. The Mets will need a Cubs collapse, similar to 1969, to even have a thought of making it to the Wild Card game.

 

New York Mets: Marcus Stroman’s Mets Debut and Pete Alonso’s Slump

Are the New York Yankees interested in trading for Blue Jays pitcher, Marcus Stroman?

The New York Mets decision to bring in Marcus Stroman was a major trade that shocked the baseball world. Stroman is set to make his debut on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Mets fans are certainly excited to see him pitch.

What Can We Expect From Stroman?

Whether you like his antics or not, Stroman is very confident in his own abilities  and has the heart of a Lion. He will fit in very well in the bright lights of New York and the fans will love watching his personality on display.

Stroman features one of the best sinkers in baseball along with his sweeping curveball. He has the second highest groundball rate in baseball, which could be an issue for the the Mets defense, but their team defense has been much better of late.

What is Going On With Pete Alonso?

The Mets star rookie has been in a major slump since the All-Star break. He is just 8-for-64 since but has walked 15 times. Most of those walks are due to the fact that teams just are not pitching to Alonso. He has chased more pitches outside of the zone because all he wants to do is hit. Young hitters usually struggle a little when the league starts to make adjustments.

Some of these struggles occur because Robinson Cano has not been hitting consistently all season. Pitchers would much rather pitch to Cano instead of the power hitting Alonso. Cano has some big hits in Thursday’s win and if he finds any long term success, it could drag Alonso out of his slump.

 

New York Mets: The Veterans Get The Job Done Against the Padres

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

The first game of the three game series between the New York Mets and San Diego Padres were supposed to be a battle of youth. The match up everyone wanted to see was Pete Alonso against Chris Paddack, but there were not any fireworks between the two rookies. The Mets ended up winning 5-2.

The Veterans Take the Lead

The 36-year old duo of Jason Vargas and Robinson Cano put on a show last night. Vargas put on a clinic on the mound and kept the young Padres hitters off balanced. He threw six innings, allowing only one run and struck out eight. Vargas had a potent fastball-change up combo and none of his fastball’s were above 85 on the radar gun.

Cano had his first career three home run game and drove in all five runs for the Mets. Since the All-Star break, he is 13-38 (.342) and already surpassed his home run total from the first half. Cano also hit his three home runs on three different types of pitches.

Is Their Success For Real?

Both of these guys had strenuous starts to their Mets careers, but it seems both have turned the corner. Vargas definitely has increased his trade value, especially since the starting pitcher market is very thin. Cano is also slowly giving the Mets hope that trading for his contact was not a mistake.

The Mets still sit seven games out of the second wild card spot, but there are multiple teams within a game of the Mets. If the Mets can sweep the Padres, they will leap them and have a chance to do the same against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Noah Syndergarrd and Jacob deGrom are set to pitch the next two games, this gives the Mets a great opportunity to sweep the series.

 

New York Mets: Can Robinson Cano Turn His Season Around?

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

In his return to New York, Robinson Cano has certainly been a disappointment in his first season with the New York Mets. He has hit .245 with only six home runs and 22 RBIs.

The Mets shipped out a lot in the trade which also netted them Edwin Diaz and cash. The Seattle Mariners received Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Gerson Bautista, Justin Dunn, and top prospect Jared Kelenic.

What happened to Robby?

Cano has certainly disappointed during his short time in blue and orange, but as long as the Mets can turn around their season, he can turn around his.

Since the All-Star break, Cano has gone 6-for-19 and looks more confident now as well. Manager Mickey Callaway has continued to show confidence in Cano by never batting him below fifth in the order, no matter how bad Cano was slumping.

After pulling off a two-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins, the Mets have won four in a row. If the Mets want any chance at a postseason birth this year Cano has to be the one to lead the way.

Cano’s Revival?

He is a sleeping giant and once he gets going he will play like an MVP again. Cano has hall of fame numbers and wants nothing more than to play on a winning team again. Just like Adrian Beltre, I do not think his age has any effect on his production.

Even though it may not have seemed like it, this season-long slump took a huge toll on Cano. When someone has been great for as long as he had and all of a sudden hits a wall, it seems like you are trapped.

Outside of his decisions to avoid running out of the box, he has handled this the best way he could. Mets fans embraced Cano when he came here and they want nothing more than to see him play at the level he did as a Yankee.

Cano is not alone here, Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz are also trying to turn around their seasons. If all three of them return to form, the Mets could be a very dangerous team to finish the season.