New York Mets roster in 2020 has a need, a need for speed
By Tim Boyle
What’s missing from the New York Mets? It’s their need for speed.
Pitching, power, hopes, and a dream. The New York Mets have it all.
Well, almost. There’s one thing this team still needs. In the misquoted words of Maverick, I feel the Mets have a need—a need for speed.
Speed goes beyond stolen bases, but it’s the simplest measure of how fast a team is. The Mets finished 23rd in the league in this category last season. For many years now, they’ve found themselves near the bottom in this category. Things are unlikely to take a drastic turn for the best in 2020 with no especially speedy additions to the roster this offseason.
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Amed Rosario was the lone Mets player to reach double-digit steals in 2019. His 19 on the season accounted for a large chunk of the 56 swiped bags Mets players had.
After Rosario, there’s Michael Conforto with 7 stolen bases on the year. Conforto isn’t especially speedy. In fact, half of his career stolen bases happened last year. To get more than 5 from him in any given year is impressive.
One of the newcomers who could contribute positively on the base paths is Jake Marisnick. The glove-first outfielder stole 10 bases for the Houston Astros last year as a part-time player. Depending on how he’s used, Marisnick could do the same for the Mets.
The bench shouldn’t offer too many more stolen base opportunities. Instead of having speedy guys backing up the starters, the Mets appear prepared to move forward with depth more focused on bats than anything else.
Recent additions of Matt Adams and Eduardo Nunez on minor league deals do little help the team’s need for speed. Unlike last year when they had Rajai Davis and Carlos Gomez waiting in Triple-A for their chance, this year’s Syracuse roster looks to have professional hitters and not runners.
It’s a little curious they didn’t add a little more speed to the roster with the addition of the 26th man which would allow teams to lengthen the bench with a guy who can offer just one skill. There’s still time. At the moment, it’s a team full of guys who made a living out of whacking baseballs better than anything else. Fortunately, it has made up for their lack of speed at times.
There’s no question this lineup can score runs with this philosophy and punting when it comes to stealing bases. Plenty of good teams have won games without a number of quick-footed players. If the home run jump from last year was any indication, it’s certainly a direction to favor this year and beyond.
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Do the Mets need some more speed? Yeah, they do. Will it ultimately affect how the season goes? I think it’s a missing element the starting pitching and sluggers can hopefully solve.