Here are the final grades for the 2020 Mets. To qualify for a grade, you needed to amass either 100 PA or 19 IP. A failure to reach those totals results in either an incomplete (Luis Guillorme) or F (Paul Sewald). The grades are a combination of role on the club, preseason expectations and actual production. This makes it possible to get a Grade A as a middle reliever, even if no one actually did. On to the grades!

Pete Alonso – It wasn’t a particularly good year for MLB first basemen. Only six 1B qualified for the leaderboards and had a wRC+ of 125 or more and Alonso wasn’t one of them. Last year there were 10. Alonso showed signs of breaking out down the stretch and if it was a 162-game season, perhaps he would have finished with numbers closer to the ones he put up in his rookie season. But it wasn’t and he didn’t. Grade: C-

Robinson Cano – The veteran enjoyed his best year since 2013 thanks to above average marks in ISO (.228) and BABIP (.319). And range aside, his defense was pretty solid, too. It’s a huge question mark if he could have kept it up over a full season but that’s not what 2020 required. Grade: A-

Michael Conforto – After back-to-back seasons with wRC+ numbers in the 120s, Conforto put up a 157 mark this year. Only a killjoy would point out his .412 BABIP, the fact that he struck out in 41.3% of his PA in his last 10 games and that he ended the season on the IL. But much like with Cano, this grade is based on what did happen, not what might have happened in a full season or what might happen in 2021. Grade: A

J.D. Davis – As expected, Davis saw a significant drop in his BABIP, a fall of 37 points. But it was also a 78-point drop in ISO that helped define his season. He was still decent as a hitter but his defense, which seemed promising when he first switched back to the infield, was what really ended up making him a below-average player. Grade: D+

Jacob deGrom – It doesn’t look like he’ll win a third straight Cy Young Award but he was in the running until his final start. He was on pace to do slightly better than his 2019 season but not quite as good as his 2018 campaign. We take for granted how great deGrom is. Grade: A

Edwin Diaz – It was a roller coaster ride for Diaz in 2020, who lost his closer’s job early in the year only to win it back with some numbers that seemed cartoonish. He struck out 50 batters in 25.2 IP yet somehow you didn’t feel 100% confident he was going to get the job done. It was better to look at his line the next day in the box score than watch it unfold live. But there are no style points at the end of the day. He’s right on the cusp for me but given how shaky he seemed in his role before the year started, it seems like he should get the higher score: Grade: A-

Jeurys Familia – The Mets want him to be a high-leverage reliever but his command issues make that just about impossible. He’s still got pretty good stuff and is tough to hit. But when he issues 19 BB in 26.2 IP and adds 3 HBP – well, he’s always on the cusp of allowing a big inning. The expectations were just about non-existent coming into the year and, well, he wasn’t useless. It’s just that he’s a sixth inning guy at this point in his career. Should he be blamed for how much the Mets pay him and when they put him in the game? Grade: C

Andres Gimenez – At the start of the year, many people wondered what Gimenez was even doing on the roster. By the end of the season, he had the bigger half of a platoon and finished 10th on the club in PA. There were fears that MLB pitcher would knock the bat out of his hand yet he had a respectable .136 ISO with 8 XBH including 3 HR. Gimenez successfully stole bases on eight of his nine attempts and finished with a +3 DRS in 281 innings split among three infield positions. Grade: A-

Jared Hughes – Didn’t allow a run in his first six innings. But in his last 14 games, he had a 6.48 ERA, a 1.980 WHIP and opposing batters had a .927 OPS against him. Maybe not quite Bashlor-esque but pretty close. Grade: D

Seth Lugo – When you tell anyone within earshot that you want to be a starting pitcher, you can’t put up a 6.15 ERA in seven games as a starter. And he gave up runs in three of his nine appearances as a reliever, too. Grade: D+

Steven Matz – This was supposed to be the year where he turned the corner. After back-to-back healthy seasons where he was essentially a league-average starter, 2020 was going to be Matz’ chance to shine. Instead he allowed 33 ER in 30.2 IP and is a non-tender candidate: Grade: F

Jeff McNeil – After a slow start, McNeil finished in the ballpark of where he was the previous two years. A move away from the infield and disappointing power numbers have to impact his grade, though. Grade: B-

Brandon Nimmo – No one thought he was going to win a Gold Glove Award but Nimmo was even worse than expected defensively in center field. And his knucklehead manager turned him into a platoon player based on an extremely small sample, even for the small sample season of 2020. But he finished third on the team with a 148 wRC+, only nine points behind a guy with an 86-point edge in BABIP. Four of the five projection forecasts had Nimmo with a sub-.800 OPS this year. Marcel had him with an .836 OPS. He turned in an .888 mark. Grade: B+

David Peterson – He began the year as a depth piece at the alternate site and finished the season as the team’s second-best starter. Saved his best for last, as he gave up just 2 ER in his final 13 IP and tallied 14 Ks. Peterson pitched much better than his peripherals and no one should consider him an SP2 going forward. But he was pretty darn valuable in 2020. Grade: A

Rick Porcello – He was signed to give quality innings, to be one of the game’s best SP4s. Porcello did a fine job of giving innings but the quality wasn’t what was expected. Instead of being a top SP4, he was a below-average one. Grade: C-

Wilson Ramos – When you commit to Ramos as your catcher, you’re saying you’ll live with the defense because the offense is pretty good. Ramos improved defensively in 2020, partly because 2019 was so bad. But his offense is in free fall. After he posted a 131 wRC+ in 2018, Ramos fell to a 105 mark in 2019 and a mark of 89 this season. And his poor offensive year was felt even more because the team desperately needed his RHB. Grade: D+

Amed Rosario – He was essentially a replacement-level player in 2020. We all figured he was going to lose his job to a prospect, but we thought it would happen in 2023 or so, not 2020. Rosario essentially duplicated his rookie season. That type of production was ok for a 21 year old with no MLB experience. It was completely unacceptable from a guy in his fourth year in the majors. Grade: D-

Chasen Shreve – If the season ended on September 17th, Shreve would have had a 1.99 ERA. But he pitched four more games and got blown up in two of those. In one of those games he was used in the eighth inning and the other game he came on in the ninth. Some guys are late-inning relievers and other guys are middle relievers who can soak up innings. It’s no shame to be a middle reliever. Shreve was great in that role and not-so-hot as a late-inning guy. Grade: B

Dominic Smith – The year opened up with Smith on the bench, behind both Yoenis Cespedes and Davis. It ended with him being the top offensive player on the team. Did the hits fall in for him? With a .368 BABIP, without a doubt. But he also had a .299 ISO, so it’s not like it was all bleeders and opposite field bloops. He didn’t look overmatched in the outfield and had a 0 DRS in 161.1 innings in LF this year. Grade: A+

Michael Wacha – You try things in life with the understanding that not all of them are going to work out the way you hope. There was nothing wrong signing Wacha to be a swing man. It’s unfortunate that injuries thrust him into a role as a SP right off the bat. It’s even more unfortunate that the team gave him six consecutive starts. It’s disgusting that they gave him a seventh start. It’s not Wacha’s fault on how he was used. It is his fault for going 0-7 when it came to giving a Quality Start. Grade: D-

Justin Wilson – The final numbers don’t jump out at you but Wilson was done in by two appearances. His first bad outing came when he pitched for the fourth time in six days, which just shouldn’t happen for a non-closer with a 10-man bullpen. His second lousy appearance came when he pitched after having six days off. That shouldn’t happen, either, but that was a direct result of the missing games due to the Covid outbreak. Minus those two games, Wilson had a 0.96 ERA and a 0.964 WHIP in 21 games. Grade: B

*****

Luis Rojas – No one knows what authority a manager has to make moves in the dugout here in the 21st Century. So, Rojas will get two grades. The first grade is for the PR aspect of his job. His players love him, the GM never complained about him carrying out orders, which was a marked contrast to the previous skipper. And there were no meltdowns with the press. For PR, Rojas gets a Grade: A

But Rojas was given a team that won 87 games the year before and finished below .500 and outside of the playoffs, despite having the DH to get an extra bat in the lineup and having an expanded playoff field. Yes, injuries to two pitchers made things difficult for him and the free agent pitchers his boss handed him flopped. But he never anticipated problems and was slow to react when Plan A went south. The SP choices were questionable and the bullpen was worse. You wonder how long he would have stayed with Cespedes if he hadn’t opted out, why Guillorme didn’t get more playing time and why Todd Frazier did. You only get so many bonus points for not batting Cano third to start the season. For being in the dugout, Rojas gets a Grade: D

Brodie Van Wagenen – He botched his first managerial hire and then doubled down with it, saying he didn’t know why Carlos Beltran cheating with another organization was a Mets problem. Woops. He then turned around and hired a guy who didn’t even make it to the final round of interviews in the first go round. And while this skipper was admired by both his players and the press, he also managed his team to a .433 mark, which is a 70-win season if you play 162 games. That’s either an indictment of Rojas as a manager or Van Wagenen as a manager. Neither one is good for the GM

Van Wagenen’s free agent signings for 2020 – Porcello, Wacha and Dellin Betances – were all busts. The player he let leave in free agency (the one he publicly said wasn’t worth what the Phillies paid him) threw 71 innings with a 2.92 ERA and finished tied for 8th in the NL with a 2.0 fWAR. His trade for a backup CF cost him a relief pitcher in Blake Taylor that the Mets certainly could have used this season. The five hitters he acquired from outside the organization during the year hit .185 (25-135) and the two pitchers he imported combined for a 6.23 ERA. The catcher that he gave up on last year had a .458/.536/.917 line in 28 PA against the Mets this year while his catchers, well, his catchers stunk. The best thing you can say about Van Wagenen’s performance for the MLB club in 2020 is that he didn’t trade Smith for pennies on the dollar. Grade: F

*****

The Mets of recent years have opted to spread the wealth in free agency, opting to bring in several mid-range guys each year, rather than going for one or possibly two guys at the top end of the market. And the approach has not exactly paid dividends. There have been 10 free agents signed in the last three years with an AAV of $5 million or more and only Wilson produced even a “B” grade for the club in 2020. As important as opening up the checkbook will be this offseason, it will be just as important to make good evaluations on the players they go after.

20 comments on “Final report card for the 2020 Mets

  • TexasGusCC

    I disagree with the statement that Rojas was given a team that won 87 games last year. No he wasn’t. He was given a team with two usable starting pitchers not five, like last year’s team had. True, his bullpen usage wasn’t good, but many managers suck at it and need some help. The Mets didn’t win because of the lack of starting pitching, nothing else. If Peterson played the role of last year’s Matz, still there was no Vargas/Stroman, Syndergaard or Wheeler for the other three spots, and they had more hitting this year! That is a lot to lose.

    The rest of the grades are fair.

  • Name

    I’m shocked you gave Lugo such a low grade!

    I personally would have gone with a more average grade on Davis (probably B-), but my pre-season expectations were probably lower than yours. After posting such extreme home/road splits last year i thought they would normalize closer to his road splits than his home ones, and so his hitting was actually a slight exceeds for me. Defense he was not good but he wasn’t good last year so that was not unexpected.

    • David Klein

      Davis was a singles hitter with atrociously bad defense he earned his grade

      • TexasGusCC

        David, I read your comments about Davis yesterday in Chris’ post and wondered what you saw. Davis did a pretty good job when he took over for McNeil, but as the year went on he regressed. Surely he has more work to do, but atrocious? To me atrocious was Alonso’s first base play this year, and Davis was better at his harder position. And as for singles? Davis wasn’t as good as he was last year but he had a .220 ISO last year and a .142 ISO this year. That’s not as good as we would like, but calling him a singles hitter?

        • David Klein

          A 142 iso is in fact a singles hitter and he’s basically a 1 war guy

        • Brian Joura

          If right before the first game of the 2020 season was played you were told that Gimenez and Davis each had at least 100 PA and Davis’ ISO was only .006 higher than Gimenez’ – you would have been massively disappointed.

          Now, Gimenez did better than anyone thought he would have. But the fact remains that calling Davis a “singles hitter” is less of an exaggeration than calling Davis a no-doubt starter going forward.

          • TexasGusCC

            Look, you guys can bring the stats and claim your point. But, Kris Bryant had a .145 ISO and Javy Baez had a .158, that doesn’t make them singles hitters. Last year Davis had 22 homeruns in 450 plate appearances; this year he’s a singles hitter. It’s pretty hard to stay consistent and we all know Davis had a lesser season than last year, but if your eye tells you he’s a singles hitter, then… Even Conforto’s .193 doesn’t come close to Davis .220 from last year, and Conforto was the cleanup hitter.

  • Steve S.

    I agree generally with the grades for BVW and Rojas. And, for the latter, some of the mistakes on the base paths and in the field can be blamed on him, as well. Play the game right, or else!

    I would give Brodie a D because he oversaw two good drafts.

    • David Klein

      Draft is impossible to grade until years from now I give him an F

  • TJ

    Initially seeing the Brodie grade, I took it as harsh. However, unless he is getting a bunch of extra credit for administering through a pandemic, and separating the emotions from a disappointing season, it is hard to give him anything better than an F.

    I understand that he could not have predicted a pandemic or losing Syndergaard for the season, but the veteran signings failed, Marisnick barely played, and Stroman only threw a hand full of innings, last season. The abuse he has imposed upon the system pitching is just unforgivable. Granted, none of these guys are all-stars, yet, but Taylor had good numbers for the Dodgers, and Kaye is likely a serviceable lefty bullpen piece. Giving up low cost years of control for these type of guys with options is extremely costly. You don’t need to hire a fleet of Math PHD number crunchers to realize that. For a piece that will put a team over the top, ok, but as a standard of operation it is unacceptable.

    • Rob

      On top of that the kevin smith deal made no sense to me. He seemed like he was ready for a shot.

  • Mike W

    BVW deserved the F. His moves were mostly atrocious. Can’t really judge his drafts yet, because they didnt play this season. I think there is no doubt, that most of us want BVW out the door. Need a real baseball GM. I would really like to see that pile of baloney presentation that he sold the Wilpons to get hired.

    Maybe we should have traded Davis after last season, when his value was much higher.

    My only disagreement with the grades is Wacha. Wacha is an F.

    Thanks for the report card Brian. Great job.

  • David Klein

    Why is my comment above awaiting moderation? The f comment meant the grade I’d give Brodie.

    • Brian Joura

      Not sure why this happened. There was also a gibberish post from me so it seems like a pocket dial situation might have been responsible for both. I’ve restored your post and deleted mine.

  • MattyMets

    Lugo grade seems a bit harsh. He was mostly good as a reliever and had a few good starts. I’d have given him a C. Also, I assume you only gave Matz and Van Wagenen F’s because there isn’t a lower grade.

  • JImO

    I am a big fan of Brodie’s drating (strategy and results). I am not a fan of any other aspect of his performance thus far.

    Deciding whether to hold or fold on Matz is a key off-season action, It won’t grab national headlines but Mets fans will be watching.

  • NYM6986

    Can live with your grading and logic behind it. BVW deserved his failing grade for simply not putting a better team on the field. For misdiagnosing that Porcello and Wacha, two pitchers with prior success had much left in their tanks. For only having Petersen in the wings when it will went down the drain and not some others ready to step up. All teams have injuries, some significant and others routine. Rojas will learn from his mistakes as he’s only a rookie. BVW is a smart guy but it’s on the job training for this former agent. Time for a change.

  • Jules Greenstein

    I agree with pretty much all the grades except the one on Davis. I remember him hitting around .300 until he went into a horrendous late season slump. If the season were longer, I think he would have come out of it. I would classify his 3B defense as erratic rather than atrocious, with brilliant plays followed by bad ones. Since it was improving, I would continue to work with him at 3B.

    • Brian Joura

      You should look at OPS or wRC+ rather than AVG as a stat to judge offensive production.

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