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Revisiting Five Breakout Candidates for the Mets

It’s no question, this season has not gotten off to the start Mets fans were expecting. From the 15-19 record to the pause in the season due to a couple of Covid-19 cases, to the slump of some star players. Despite all of these things going on however, the Mets are still only 4.5 games out of first place in the N.L. East and only 1.5 games out of a playoff spot, thanks to this season’s different format. One thing that is always tough, is predicting who is going to breakout. Let’s check back in with the five guys who seemed to be headed for a great season.

Breakout Candidate 5: Steven Matz, LHP

To say that Steven Matz’s 2020 campaign has been a disappointment so far would be an understatement. Matz made five starts, going 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA. He struck out 23 batters while allowing nine home runs. Manager Luis Rojas saw what he needed to see and promptly sent Steven Matz to the bullpen so Matz could try to get his stuff back. In one relief outing this season, Matz threw a perfect inning against the Yankees while striking out two. Matz looked like he may have found his control again and maybe even a new home in the bullpen. Until of course, in typical Mets fashion, the Mets announced that Steven Matz would be heading to the 10 Day I.L.

Expectations for the Rest of the Year

It seems like Matz is going to miss about a week and a half to two weeks due to this injury so don’t expect Matz to go back to being a starting pitcher right away. If Rojas is smart, he’ll keep Matz in the bullpen for the remainder of the year and try to allow Matz to not only find his control again but build up some confidence. Besides, who knows if Matz may break out in a new role. Matz is eligible for arbitration this offseason so when he comes back off the I.L., you can expect to see him be working his tail off.

Breakout Candidate 4: J.D. Davis, OF/INF

J.D. Davis has been one of the Mets’ most consistent players, appearing in almost every single game. After taking a 99 MPH fastball off his left hip, Davis appears to be taking some time off to try and heal that hip. Through his 32 games this season, Davis is hitting .266 with four home runs and 12 R.B.I.’s. Davis has also played the 22 of his 32 games at third base while Jeff McNeil plays mostly in the outfield. Davis may only have four home runs this year, but those four homers have come in clutch situations with two of them coming in a one-run game and one being a game-tying home run.

Expectations for the Rest of the Year

Once Davis gets back from his sore hip, whenever that is, expect him to be about the same as before being hurt. Nothing too great, nothing too bad. Davis isn’t eligible to be a free agent until after the 2025 season but with Steve Cohen expected to take over the team any day now, nobody’s job is safe. Davis will be working his butt off to save his job.

Breakout Candidate 3: Brandon Nimmo, OF

Brandon Nimmo has never been a power hitter, more of a contact hitter, and a threat on the bases. Hitting .236 doesn’t help his case much, but being tied for sixth in the MLB for walks definitely does. Nimmo has 23 walks and 5 HBPs boosting his OBP up to .391. He is also tied for the fourth in MLB with two triples on the year to go with six doubles and five home runs.

Expectations for the Rest of the Year

Expect Nimmo to get his batting average up some. Nimmo will get this thing figured out eventually. This whole season has been a series of runs. From good runs to bad runs, Nimmo’s average has been up and down all year. Nimmo has also played pretty good defense this year. With Cohen taking over next year and Nimmo being arbitration-eligible next offseason, Nimmo will be trying to breakout and impress the new owner to keep his job.

Breakout Candidate 2: Amed Rosario, SS

Amed Rosario has definitely improved from last season. Rosario only has one error in 72 defensive chances this season leading to a .986 fielding percentage. His offense, however, has not improved as well. Rosario is hitting .210 with only two doubles and one triple. One of Rosario’s three home runs came in a weird situation. Some of the games that got postponed due to the Mets’ positive COVID tests were against the crosstown rival, Yankees. They were supposed to be played at Citi Field but the way the schedule worked out, they were made up in Yankee Stadium with the Mets as the home team. Rosario came up with the tying run on base in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, due to the doubleheader. Rosario proceeded to hit a walk-off home run to give the Mets a road walk-off home run.

Expectations for the Rest of the Year

Rosario, like Nimmo, is a contact hitter, so he should get his average up pretty soon. After all, we are only 34 games into the season. With this shortened season though, there’s not much time left to breakout. Rosario is going to have to pick it up quickly if he wants to save his job when Cohen comes to town.

Breakout Candidate 1: Michael Conforto, OF

Michael Conforto has been one of the bright spots in the dark Mets season so far. Conforto is hitting .320 with a .500 slugging percentage and seven doubles and five home runs. Conforto definitely seems to be settling in full time and becoming a comfortable everyday starter.

Expectations for the Rest of the Year

Conforto is definitely on the major up-rise of his career and could breakout even more in the second half of this season. Expect Conforto to put up All-Star caliber numbers, even though there is no All-Star Game this year.

BONUS: Dominic Smith OF/1B/DH

Dominic Smith was not even guaranteed a roster spot at the beginning of this season thanks to Pete Alonso’s incredible rookie year. After getting off to a somewhat slow start, Smith has caught fire, hitting .326 with seven homers and his second-best in the MLB 12 doubles. Not too many people were expecting Smith to put up these numbers but that’s the fun with breakout players, they’re incredibly hard to predict.

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