After commissioner Rob Manfred officially mandated the 60-game season this year, the expectation from many is that we could see some surprise teams clinch a spot in the postseason. One of
the teams picking up love from baseball experts is the New York Mets.
The Mets are a good team on paper, but have been subject to plenty of setbacks since their World Series appearance in 2015. While that could change in 2020, there are still some issues that could hold back the Metropolitans this season. Here are three potential problems that stand out.
3. Luis Rojas' Inexperience
The New York Mets initially had Carlos Beltran slated as their manager entering the 2020 season. But thanks to the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, the team opted to promote quality-control coach Luis Rojas to the role of skipper. Rojas does have a pedigree in baseball, considering his father is former San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou and his half-brother is former outfielder Moises Alou. Additionally, Rojas received praise from young stars Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil for his coaching abilities in the minors. However, Rojas' first season will be exclusively against the teams in the American and National League East divisions. We've seen how terrible Mickey Callaway was at managing a game, so who knows how Rojas will do in 2020 with no room for error from the get go.
2. Can Mets Rotation Pick Up Slack in Syndergaard's Absence?
The Mets were once expected to boast arguably the best pitching rotation in the National League. But back in March, the team was notified that Noah Syndergaard required Tommy John surgery and would miss the remainder of the calendar year. That leaves the Mets in quite the predicament. The top of the rotation will undoubtably be led by Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz. But who would replace Syndergaard's production? The team did sign Rick Porcello this past winter, who posted an atrocious 5.52 ERA through 31 games with the Boston Red Sox in 2019. New York also added former St. Louis Cardinal Michael Wacha, whom accumulated a 6-7 record and 4.76 ERA in 29 games last season. If those two pitchers put up similar numbers in 2020, the Mets are in trouble.
1. Yoenis Cespedes' Health
Of course, we had to bring up the curious case of Yoenis Cespedes. The slugger was a monster for the Mets in his first two campaigns, but has been hampered by injuries ever since. After undergoing surgery on both heels in 2018, Cespedes further injured himself by fracturing his right ankle last year. Prior to the start of summer camp, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said he's optimistic that Cespedes will be cleared to play at some point in this shortened season as the team's designated hitter. Taking his age and absence from the game into consideration, it's hard to envision Cespedes making much of an impact this year. Hey, he could prove us wrong and light up the stat sheets -- or, he could pick up another injury in his final season with the Mets. There's really no in-between.