Can the New York Mets be legitimate contenders in the 2020 season?
With a pitching staff that includes Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz, and a lineup that features Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil, the Mets have the potential to make a deep run when baseball resumes.
Yoenis Cespedes coming back from injury will only boost their chances.
The outfielder hasn't appeared in a game for New York in almost two years. After having undergone multiple surgeries on his heel in 2018, Cespedes sustained a right ankle injury during an encounter with a wild boar the following year.
"I think there is a strong chance he is going to be ready once the 60-game season starts," a club source told the New York Post's Mike Puma on Wednesday. "And having his bat in the lineup, that is special."
The report added that before spring training was suspended back in March, Cespedes was "taking live batting practice and shagging flies" but still hadn't mastered base-running.
"[Cespedes] is serious," the source said. "A lot of stuff happened to him with his contract, and he came to spring training on a mission. There was a lot of doubt he would be ready for the season, but I think this whole COVID-19 situation, it gave him a lot of time to heal up and be able to do stuff."
Cespedes could really shine in the upcoming season at the designated hitter position. He had an .892 OPS in 81 games for the Mets in 2017, along with a slash line of .292/.352/.540.
If the 34-year-old is able to bounce back and channel the power he had before his slew of injuries, he could be a huge boost for the Mets at the plate.
More good news arrived for the Mets this week with the signing of their 2020 first-round draft pick. According to MLB's Jonathan Mayo, the team officially signed 19th overall pick Pete Crow-Armstrong at full slot value on Thursday:
"I've never really felt anything like this before," Crow-Armstrong said after being drafted, per the New York Daily News. "In the moment, it was shocking and it was a bit of a rush. After that, it's just a ton of excitement to get ready and start with the Mets. I'm thankful for the organization. Man, I can't wait."
The center fielder was a top 25 draft prospect—No. 20 for MLB Pipeline. Coming from Harvard-Westlake in California, Crow-Armstrong is a strong defensive player but has some work to do at the plate. He reneged on his commitment to Vanderbilt in order to sign a minor league deal with the Mets.
If he's able to develop his offensive power to match the rest of his abilities, the 18-year-old has the potential to be a solid all-around player for an exciting upcoming Mets team.
Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.