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Grading the Mets ahead of the 2021 MLB season | amNewYork

Grading the Mets ahead of the 2021 MLB season

Jacob deGrom Mets
Mets ace Jacob deGrom
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Considering the resources spent by Steve Cohen to improve his team, the Mets are in far better shape compared to the last few seasons. 

AmNewYorkMetro graded the club on each of the four major assets in the game: Offense, defense, starting pitching, and bullpen. Here is how the Mets fared:

Offense

This could very well be the most fearsome lineup the Mets have ever put together in the franchise’s history.

An organization predicated on solid starting pitching has catapulted into the 21st century with a well-rounded, lethal lineup that as complete as it is intimidating. 

Brandon Nimmo is one of the premier on-base men in the game to help put ducks on the pond for the meat of a Mets order that will see stars in Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto, and Pete Alonso immediately follow. 

Dominic Smith, who was a top-10 offensive player in the National League last season, prompts the second half of the lineup with Jeff McNeil — one of the top natural hitters in the game — not far behind. 

Lindor’s presence as a switch hitter allows the Mets to break up its lefty-heavy lineup as Nimmo, Conforto, McNeil, and Smith are southpaws. 

Grade: A-

Defense

The Mets are certainly sacrificing defense for its dangerous-looking lineup as they are playing a number of men out of position.

Smith is a natural first baseman playing left field while Nimmo is a corner outfielder playing center. JD Davis’ glove had been a topic of worry for team president Sandy Alderson at third base while Jeff McNeil hasn’t instilled much confidence with his play at second. 

Mets manager Luis Rojas has made note of Davis and Smith’s improvements in the field, but live-action in the regular season will be a completely different animal.

Grade: C

Starting Pitching

A staff that is headlined by two-time NL Cy Young Award winner and arguably the greatest pitcher in the game today, Jacob deGrom, is in pretty decent shape. 

But the Mets could have one of the better rotations in the game once everyone gets healthy — which is an easier concept the grasp than it is to practice. 

Carlos Carrasco, the team’s No. 2 starter, is expected to return sometime in May while he nurses a torn hamstring while Noah Syndergaard should complete his Tommy John rehab by June. 

In the meantime, Marcus Stroman will assume the responsibilities of being the team’s No. 2 starter with veteran free-agent signing Taijuan Walker following.

Manager Luis Rojas could move Walker down to the No. 4 spot temporarily to evenly distribute his southpaws. David Peterson impressed in his rookie season last year while the reclamation project that is Joey Lucchesi had a strong showing in spring training. 

Now we’ll see if this depth is strong enough to keep the rotation afloat until it gets back to full strength.

Grade: B-

Bullpen

There are more questions than foregone conclusions when it comes to the Mets bullpen.

Will Edwin Diaz continue his strong form from the second half of 2020 and spring training?

Can Jeurys Familia ever be a reliable late-innings guy?

Does Dellin Betances even belong on the big club after struggling with his velocity yet again this spring?

What role awaits Seth Lugo when he returns from injury?

The Mets brought in Trevor May and Aaron Loup to stabilize the pen, but there is still a bevy of unknowns before truly calling this group reliable.

Grade: C-

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