Final Record: 77-85
RS/G: 4.17 (23rd)
RA/G: 4.36 (16th)
SB: 71 (20th)
ERA: 4.07 (16th)
Saves: 41 (15th)
Strikeouts: 1446 (8th)
(RS/G - Runs Scored Per Game, RA/G - Runs Allowed Per Game)
The New York Mets have been among the most active teams this off season. With recent additions of Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz & Wilson Ramos, the 2019 Mets are currently projected to win nine more games than a year before. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the team make another move (or four) before the winter is over, bolstering an already improved 25-man roster. From a fantasy baseball angle, the 2019 Mets have plenty of interesting players to consider on both offense and the mound.
The Superstar(s): Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto & Robinson Cano
Call me crazy, but we’re going deep on this Mets preview. With a handful of players who could be considered Superstar players rostered, it wouldn’t be of much service to only highlight one.
Make no mistake about it, Jacob deGrom is one of the highest skilled pitchers in the game today. The fact he won the 2018 National League Cy Young only helps to confirm that. While his 1.70 ERA is likely unsustainable due to fortunate home run suppression, the pull-back shouldn’t be too massive in the future. deGrom continues to pound the strike zone, getting a first pitch strike 66.5% of the time. An already strong swing and miss ability was amplified in 2018 to the tune of 15.1%, the fifth best mark among qualified starters last season. deGrom has now posted back-to-back 200 inning seasons and should be considered as early as the second starting pitcher off the board in 2019 fantasy baseball drafts.
Noah Syndergaard is the Lamborghini of the Mets starting staff. When healthy and right he has ace stuff and the ability to truly dominate a game. After only throwing 30.1 innings in 2017, Syndergaard was able to take the mound for 154.1 innings last season. Even then, it does not appear Syndergaard was completely himself. Syndergaard did miss a chunk of time with a finger injury in 2018, however, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much that injury could have affected his dominance while on the mound. His velocity remains elite and assuming Syndergaard can dial back in his control slightly with an uninterrupted season in 2019, he could easily re-enter the true ace conversation.
On the whole, Michael Conforto had a good season in 2018, hitting 28 home runs with 160 runs + RBI. Conforto started the season slowly as he returned from shoulder surgery. Conforto’s power was down considerably during the first half of the season, as he slashed .216/.344/.366 with a .150 ISO. With a little bit of time to shake off the rust, Conforto exploded in the second half hitting .273/.356/.539 with a .266 ISO and 17 of his 28 home runs. Throughout his early season struggles Conforto was able to maintain a strong batting eye at the plate. With a fully healthy season in 2019, Conforto could approach 40 home runs with a strong batting average/on base percentage profile. With an NFBC ADP of 111th currently, Conforto is a strong buy in my opinion.
Lastly, there is Robinson Cano, the aging Superstar. Rather than rehash all the reasons I believe Cano still has some juice in the tank, I’ll instead point you towards an article I wrote prior to the trade that sent him to New York.
The Sleeper: Amed Rosario
While Rosario is a pretty well known name at this point, the potential for a complete breakout season is what qualifies him as a Sleeper herein. Last season, Rosario tallied nine home runs and 24 stolen bases. It was two different halves for Rosario that led to those totals however. During the first half of 2018, Rosario had six stolen bases and five caught stealing. He turned things around big time during the second half with 18 stolen bases and six caught stealing. While six caught stealing is still a little higher than we’d hope, his speed metrics are elite. Entering his age 23 season, Rosario has the potential to learn from prior base running mistakes and approach the 40 stolen base threshold. That stolen base production, coupled with low double digit home runs, will make his current NFBC ADP of 138th overall look like a steal (intended).
The Guy to Avoid: Steven Matz
Often injured, Matz appeared on the mound for 154 innings in 2018. A 3.97 ERA and 1.25 WHIP were fine and didn’t hurt fantasy owners. Skill wise I’m not overly impressed however. A 56.6% first pitch strike rate introduces the potential for further control issues moving forward. Matz had a 23.2 K%, which is slightly above average, however, his 9.2% swinging strike rate calls into question the ability to repeat. Lastly, there is the fact that 154 innings pitched is his career high total. With a current NFBC ADP of 270th overall, the price isn’t high to take a chance on Matz, but I’d rather speculate on arms such as Kenta Maeda, Joe Musgrove or Tyler Skaggs, all of which are going around a similar ADP.
The Prospect to Watch: Peter Alonso
No surprises here, Alonso is on the majority of fantasy baseball player’s radar, with a current NFBC ADP of 246th overall. Alonso hit 36 home runs across AA and AAA in 2018 and should be able to carry his immense power over to the big leagues once the Mets call him up. The main questions surrounding Alonso for 2019 fantasy baseball are: When will he be called up? And, what will his batting average look like? With the current state of first base in our fantasy game, those questions become less important and the temptation to take a flier on the unproven Alonso is one I can get behind.