Five Breakout Candidates for the Mets

Every season one team seems to find a player (pr players) who breakout and rises to the top. This year, five different Mets look like potential breakout candidates.

Let’s be honest here for a second. Everybody was expecting a lot from Pete Alonso last year, but probably not quite as good as his season was. Coming out of Spring Training, there was an argument as to whether or not Alonso should be on the Opening Day Roster. If the Mets had chosen to keep him off the roster, they would have gotten an extra year of control. However, they chose not to wait until mid-April and instead promoted him to the big leagues for Opening Day. One rookie of the year award, Home Run Derby Championship and an MLB record 53 home runs later, the decision worked out pretty well for Polar Bear Pete and his breakout season.

These five guys, are destined to breakout and have a stellar year in 2020.

5: Steven Matz, LHP

If Steven Matz could have pitched his entire career the way he did in the six games he pitched in 2015, we could potentially be talking about a multi-time Cy Young award winner. Instead, Matz came back down to earth in 2016, going 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA. Then in 2017, Matz went 2-7 posting a 6.08 ERA. His numbers have since began to come back down to earth once again. Last season Matz finished 11-10 with a 4.21 ERA while striking out a career high 153 batters.

What His Role Will be

2020 could either be a pitchers dream, or a pitchers worst nightmare. The shortened 60-game season means pitchers may only get about 12-15 starts. That’s if they don’t miss any starts due to injury. Matz is looking at being a third starter this season behind Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman. Matz would be the fourth starter but ace Noah Syndergaard went down with Tommy John surgery earlier this off season. This is a huge year for Matz, as he is eligible for arbitration this off season. Expect Matz to work his hardest to earn that money this winter, and in turn, have a great breakout year.

4: J.D. Davis, OF/INF

J.D. Davis was acquired from the Houston Astros on January 6th, 2019 to be a key bench player. Due to a couple of injuries to key guys, Davis quickly saw his role change to everyday starter. Davis went from starting in only 25 games for the Astros in 2018 to starting in 99 games for the Mets in 2019. Thanks to that boost in games started, Davis saw his stats drastically increase beyond his expected per game pace. In the 25 games started with Houston, Davis hit only .175 with only one home run and two doubles. In his 99 games started with the Mets last year, Davis hit .307 with 22 home runs and 22 doubles.

What His Role Will be

Yes, Davis will definitely have a different role this coming shortened season, as Yoenis Cespedes is coming back healthy. With Cespedes back, Davis probably will not see as much playing time as last year, but will definitely still see a lot of playing time. Davis is considered by many to be a “Swiss Army Knife” of baseball as he can play any outfield position and just about anywhere in the infield. Between platooning in the infield and outfield, and with the addition of the designated hitter to the National League this year, expect Davis to be a real threat in this Mets lineup.

3: Brandon Nimmo, OF

Brandon Nimmo was plagued by injuries last season. It all began on April 17, 2019. Nimmo left the game with a stiff neck. He only missed two games, but then a month later, he was out again. This time, however, was more serious than the last. X-rays revealed a bulging disk in Nimmo’s neck which caused him to be out about three-and-a-half months. Nimmo only ended up playing in 69 games and struggled in those games. He only hit .221 with eight home runs while striking out 71 times.

What His Role Will be

Nimmo falls into the same boat as J.D. Davis. He definitely won’t come back to a guaranteed starting spot every day. Nimmo will most definitely work his tail off to try to get a starting spot every day, but if there is one spot on the Mets roster where it will be tough to fight for a spot, it would be the outfield. One would assume the Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto have two of the three outfield spots all but locked up. Cespedes, however, may get more time as DH with the concern of him re-aggravating one of his many injuries. If rookie manager Luis Rojas decides to put Cespedes at DH for a lot of the season, Nimmo would most definitely get a lot of playing time in the outfield and have a great shot to breakout.

2: Amed Rosario, SS

When Amed Rosario came up to the big leagues, the expectations for him were high. His rookie year, he only had 165 at bats and batted .248 with only 12 extra base hits. Two years later, Rosario had his average up to .287 while adding 52 extra base hits. Rosario is also a speedy guy, stealing 43 bases in the past two seasons. His defense could definitely use a little help, but it isn’t bad. In three years as a short stop, his fielding percentage is at .968

What His Role Will be

Rosario will definitely be an everyday player. Him and Robinson Cano will control the middle infield. With the shortened season, Luis Rojas will probably not be giving out as many off days as he would have if this were a regular length season. That being said, Rosario will most likely be on a short list of guys who may play all 60 games this season, while the Mets try to secure a playoff spot. Being in the league for three years already and still only being 24 years old, definitely makes a good case for Rosario being a great candidate to finally settle in, and have a breakout season.

1: Michael Conforto

Many may believe that 2017 was a breakout year for Michael Conforto, after being named an All-Star. His numbers drastically improved from 2016 to 2017. In the past two years, his numbers have been increasing more and more. Last year, Conforto put up his best numbers by far, posting a .257 average while adding 33 home runs and 92 RBIs.

What His Role Will be

Conforto will have one of the three outfield positions locked up come July 24th against the Atlanta Braves. He will be an every day player, barring any injuries, and will get plenty of opportunities to show his stuff against some of the top pitchers in the big leagues thanks to the shortened schedule. The Mets will face off against the Yankees, Rays and Nationals who are all arguably in the top tier of starting pitching rotations. Conforto is not only the oldest and most experienced of these five guys, but he already has one All Star selection under his belt to give him the confidence he will need to go up against those pitchers and succeed.

Who makes your list for the Mets’ 2020 breakout candidates? Join our forum and discuss!


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Aidan Fean
I am a hardcore baseball, basketball and football fan and I love to share my ideas with as many people as I can.

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