As we draw closer and closer to Spring Training, the 2021 NY Mets roster is starting to take shape. Sandy Alderson and company have made plenty of moves to improve the squad thus far, and don’t seem to be done adding just yet.
The catcher position has been addressed, the bullpen has been strengthened, the rotation has been improved, and they picked up one of the premier players in the game.
This Mets team is looking really strong, and this figures to be a great season in Queens. Here is Part One of the 2021 NY Mets Opening Day roster predictions breaking down the position players, with some late off-season additions along the way.
2021 NY Mets Catchers
The Mets went out this offseason and addressed the catching position by adding James McCann via free agency on a three-year deal. Since being non-tendered by the Tigers following the 2018 season, McCann has turned himself into a different ball-player.
After joining the White Sox in 2019, McCann hit .276/.334/.474 with 25 homers, 29 doubles, 116 wRC+, and 3.8 wins above replacement. He has also looked much more comfortable behind the plate.
McCann should handle the bulk of the playing time with Nido backing him up. Nido is an interesting case for the Mets.
Last off-season he worked with Gradum baseball to improve his swing. He showed life at the plate in spurts, but ultimately missed most of the 2020 season due to COVID.
Nido is back working with Gradum again this offseason. We know he is great defensively, but it’ll be interesting to see if with the changes to his swing he can hit his way into more playing time in 2021.
Either way, the Mets figure to be in good hands behind the dish on both sides of the ball this season.
Let’s start with the big splash up the middle. The addition of Francisco Lindor to this squad not only boosts the unit offensively but also significantly improves the up-the-middle defense.
Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez were solid ball-players, but the Mets now have one of the premier players and personalities in the game manning the shortstop position every single day. This will be a huge addition to the lineup.
With Robinson Cano suspended for the season, Jeff McNeil figures to now slide in as the everyday second baseman. McNeil will get to play his natural position and should continue being a table-setter at the top of the lineup.
With no designated-hitter (at the moment), slugging youngster Pete Alonso will remain as the starting first baseman. ‘The Polar Bear’ now has even more fire-power around him in that lineup and a lot less pressure, look for him to bounce back in a big way.
Now if the DH is ultimately brought back to the NL in 2021, Dominic Smith a much better defender at first, figures to see some time at the position as well.
J.D. Davis and Luis Guillorme will split most of the time at the hot corner. Davis was a star at the plate in 2019 but struggled in 2020, and over his career has not been all that good defensively.
Guillorme, on the other hand, is viewed as one of the best defenders in the organization and is coming off a breakout 2020 season at the plate in which he hit .333 with a .865 OPS and 141 OPS+, granted in just 68 plate appearances.
While I would prefer an upgrade at third via trade, such as Kris Bryant or Eugenio Suarez, I am okay with this platoon heading into 2021. I am a Guillorme believer, and ‘Just Dingers’ Davis should bounce back offensively this season.
Peraza and Martinez are two of the more interesting depth players the Mets took a flier on this offseason. Peraza is still just 26, and his speed and defensive versatility could bring a solid asset to the Mets bench.
Martinez has crushed left-handed pitching over his career (.915 OPS), making him a nice veteran bat off the bench for this lefty-heavy Mets lineup.
One more splash I feel the Mets have in them this off-season is coming to terms with Jackie Bradley Jr. The two sides have been in contact for a while and it is a great fit, it seems as if it’s just a matter of time before they reach an agreement.
I personally am not a big JBJ fan, but there is no denying he makes the outfield defense significantly better. Shifting Nimmo, one of the worst defensive center fielders in baseball, over to left would be a huge win for the Mets.
An outfield alignment of Nimmo-Bradley-Conforto should absolutely bring a huge smile to the faces of Mets fans and the Mets pitching staff. While JBJ is another lefty and as streaky as it gets at the plate, the Mets offense is loaded enough that they can afford to go defense first in center.
Like Peraza and Martinez, Mallex Smith is an interesting depth piece that could sneak his way onto the roster with a strong spring. Smith has struggled offensively over the past two seasons, but possesses game-changing speed and can play all three outfield positions.
If he can regain his 2018 form (.367 OBP and 40 stolen bases), Smith could become a nice asset off the bench for Luis Rojas.
And of course, let’s keep in mind that if there is no DH in the NL this season JBJ to the Mets may not be a thing, and we would likely see lots of Dom Smith in left. The Mets are certainly hoping to avoid that situation but seem prepared to do whatever it takes to keep Smith’s electric bat in the lineup every day.
This Mets team has a really solid offensive core and they’ve shored things up a ton defensively compared to the last few seasons, they should absolutely be able to make some noise in the NL East this season.
Keep it peeled to OTH for part two of my 2021 NY Mets Opening Day Roster Predictions, featuring the starting rotation and bullpen.
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