Mets & Yankees Prepare For MLB’s Return

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Baseball is set to return. Yes, finally you will hear the crack of the bats, angry players and maybe even see some great bat flips.
Unfortunately, though, there won’t be any Bartolo Colon-like moments. But that’s OK. Well, for now at least. While baseball will look a lot different in 2020, something is better than nothing.
Many MLB players will opt out of playing due to fears of the coronavirus. For the ones who will play, though, there is still a World Series trophy at stake. While there might be an asterisk next to the winner’s logo, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that baseball is indeed back.

Major League Baseball is set to return with a shortened 60-game season that kicks off on July 23-24.

The New York Mets and the New York Yankees are back in the Big Apple after sporadically training in Florida. Oh, and there might be a plethora of Subway Series games, too, because teams will face those within the same region.
Instead of the usual 25-team roster, 30 players will make up each team for the first two weeks of the season. Then, teams will have to cut two players after two weeks of player, followed by another two-player cut a month into the schedule. A total of 60 players will be part of the “taxi squad,” which means they can be quickly added to the roster if a player is diagnosed with the coronavirus.

The Yankees will start this 60-game season, which begins on July 23-24, as one of the World Series favorites. Though the Yankees lost the ALCS to the Houston Astros, the shortened 2020 campaign might play in their favor.
Aaron Judge looks to rebound and play the full 60 games this year, leading the way for the Yankees’ offense with second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who had a .327 average in his first year in the Bronx. But the entire offense will need to focus on hitting more consistently. Only four players hit for an average of .280 or higher, and that will simply not win you a World Series.

On the mound, the Yankees must pick things up compared to where they left off a year ago. CC Sabathia’s retirement might not be the worst thing, given he only started 22 games and had a 4.95 ERA.
Overall, the Yankees’ pitchers struggled in 2019, with James Paxton serving as the lone started who had a sub-4.00 ERA. That statistic alone should be concerning for Yankees fans. Sure, each of the team’s starters, besides Sabathia, had a winning record, but if the run support doesn’t show up early and often this season, there goes the team’s World Series dreams.

Fortunately, the Yankees make up for the weak starters with a strong bullpen, and that will not change in 2020. Zack Britton, who had a 1.91 ERA in 66 appearances, leads the way in tandem with closer Aroldis Chapman.
If the Yankees can up the consistency just a tad from last year, they can indeed make it and potentially win the World Series.

Heading over to Flushing, the Mets have plenty to be excited about this year. After finishing a disappointing third in the NL East in 2019, the orange and blue look to improve significantly in 2020.
The offseason drama of signing Carlos Beltran as manager, only to have him fired weeks later because of the sign stealing drama when he was with the Astros, is over and done with. Luis Rojas is ready to take control of the team, and the players are enthusiastic to work for someone who comes from a long line of baseball heroes.

Improvements will need to be made in order for the Mets to contend for a spot in the playoffs, though. It starts with the consistently inconsistent offense.
Robinson Cano enters his second year in Flushing, and he really needs to step up. The Mets are relying on him to continue his success from the second half of last season, and that means upping a mediocre .256 average. Jeff McNeil replaces veteran Todd Frazier at third base, and that might be a good thing for the Mets given McNeil’s consistent average, which was an impressive .318 last year.

A major question mark for the Mets still is the status of Yoenis Céspedes. General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen is optimistic he will play in 2020 after sitting out all of 2019 with several lower body injuries. He will likely serve as the designated hitter for the Mets, attempting to prevent further injury in the final year of his contract.
Of course, the Mets look to dominate on the mound once again. Back-to-back Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom will likely continue where he left off, dominating opposing batters. He thrives off pressure, and having only 60 games to do what he does best might mean he lowers his ERA under 2.00 once again.

Long Island native Marcus Stroman, who was adjusting to life in Queens, will join deGrom and Noah Syndergaard in the starting rotation. He had a 3.77 ERA in just 11 starts with the Mets last year, and that can likely be lowered in 2020. Fellow Long Islander Steven Matz’s status in unclear after the Mets signed Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, who the team believes will benefit from a change of scenery. But Matz performed better than both of them last year, starting 32 games with a 4.21 ERA compared to Wacha’s 24 starts (4.76 ERA) and Porcello’s 5.52 ERA in 32 games.
As both teams start to tighten up their rosters, one thing is certain. It will indeed be a wild year of baseball in New York.

2020 MLB Predictions

Joseph Wolkin
Mets: 35-25, Playoffs via wild card. Loses NLDS.
Yankees: 40-20,
AL East champion.
Loses in ALCS.

Josh Finkelstein
Mets: 33-27, Playoffs via wild card. Loses NLCS.
Yankees: 39-19,
AL East champion.
Wins World Series.

Dave Gil de Rubio
Mets: 34-26, Playoffs via wild card. Loses wild card.
Yankees: 39-21, AL East champion. Wins ALCS.
World Series champions.

Carter Gil de Rubio:
Mets: 35-25, Playoffs via wild card. Loses wild card.
Yankees: 45-15,
AL East champion.
Loses World Series.

Frank Virga
Mets: 33-27, Playoffs via wild card. Loses NLDS.
Yankees: 30-30, Playoffs via wild card.
Lose ALCS.

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