Pete Alonso defines the 2020 Mets. But he is joined by a supporting cast of at least two players who came into their own in 2019…
The 2020 Mets are rightly The Pete Alonso Show. Adulated and adored by fans, Alonso is without question the face of the Mets based on the astounding season he had this year. And also – for just being Pete Alonso.
But just as surely, the story of the 2019 Mets was the emergence of Amed Rosario and J.D. Davis.
The Emergence Of Mr. Consistency
Buried in the depths of the Houston Astros vast pool of talent, Davis was acquired on January 6, 2019. The trade by the Houston Astros with Cody Bohanek (minors) to the New York Mets for Davis, Ross Adolph (minors), Scott Manea (minors) and Luis Santana (minors) barely caused a blip on the MLB Transaction Wire.
The move was little noticed in the wake of the bombs Brodie Van Wagenen had ignited beforehand in acquiring Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, the AL Saves Leader in 2018. And later with the signings of Jeurys Familia and Jed Lowrie, J.D. Davis was merely background noise in an active Mets offseason.
As these things sometimes go, it took the Mets a while to realize what they had in Davis. The first inkling probably occurred at the end of April when Mickey Callaway and the team noticed that Davis was batting .302 with a .405 On-Base Percentage, together with a .913 OPS (well above the major league average of .745).
The pattern, however, did not continue, and Davis’s numbers descended to a .278 batting average with a drop to .343 in OBP by the end of June. Neither Callaway nor Davis gave in.
Davis hit the .300 mark on August 5 and never looked back from there. Moving from his natural position at third base to left field where he made only two errors in 78 games, with four assists and one double play to his credit, Davis solidified his place in the Mets lineup.
While not overwhelming, the power of Davis is his consistency and his ability to maintain a batting average at or near .300. Twenty-two home runs in only 139 games are nothing to sneeze at either.
J.D. Davis’s future with the team is built in cement. The only question is where he will play in 2020. In that way, he is much like Jeff McNeil, who is still in search of a permanent position in the field with the Mets.
Much will be determined by what Brodie Van Wagenen does with Todd Frazier, whose one-year deal with the team has expired. Most likely, the Mets will not re-sign Frazier leaving third base open for either or both Davis and McNeil. The other remaining a nomad in the field but secure in the Mets Lineup for many years to come.
The Groundswell Of Amed Rosario
The emergence of Amed Rosario in 2019 is far different from that of J.D. Davis. Rosario was only 21 when he made his debut for the Mets on August 5, 2017.
Touted as THE draft choice of the Mets, Rosario carried the tag through two mediocre seasons with the team. Mostly ignored was his hitting since not much was expected there, it was Rosario’s fielding that drew the negative attention of the Mets.
Interestingly though, Rosario would make one more error during this season (17) than he did in 2018.
The difference, though, is the way Rosario carried himself this year. No longer the kid caught in the bright lights, Rosario welcomed Robinson Cano to the team in Spring Training, and everything changed from there.
The two were and still are inseparable. If Cano did nothing else for the Mets in 2019, he at least deserves an honorable mention as the Met’s MVP.
Rosario’s bat is the surprise. The numbers serve to speak for themselves:
If Yogi Berra was right when he said, “Baseball is 90% mental, and the other half is physical,”, Amed Rosario is the poster boy for his claim.
2020 Mets: The Pete Alonso Personna Is Contagious
The Mets, by their three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves to end their season finish at ten games over .500 with 86 wins.
They won nothing when you look at the final standings for 2019.
And yet, if you’ve followed baseball as I have for more than a half-century, you gravitate to the feeling the Mets have only just begun.
It may begin with Pete Alonso, but the supporting cast will make the difference.
J.D. Davis and Amed Rosario are just the beginning, and not the end of the Polar Bear’s cast to call on in 2020 and beyond…