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Sizing up the 2019 Mets

The rotation, led by Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, could be baseball's best if there are no significant injuries.

Mets infielder Amed Rosario during a spring training

Mets infielder Amed Rosario during a spring training workout on Feb. 19, 2019 in Port St. Lucie. Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

ROTATION

The story for the rotation this season is the same as it’s been each of the past few years: It could be the best in baseball if the starters put it together and stay healthy at the same time. Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, if he pitches a full season, should be reliable. Zack Wheeler maintaining his second-half form and Steven Matz taking another step forward would be huge. The Mets are banking on Jason Vargas being a good enough No. 5, but the depth behind him, led by Corey Oswalt and Walker Lockett, is thin.

GRADE: A

BULLPEN

The relief corps could be a strength in 2019, though it’s worth remembering that the Mets felt that way last spring and it turned into a major flaw. This year, All-Star closer Edwin Diaz and setup man Jeurys Familia should stabilize the back end. Beyond that pair, the Mets will rely on Seth Lugo (2.66 ERA in 2018) repeating his breakout season and Robert Gsellman (4.28) being better, perhaps with more carefully monitored usage. Justin Wilson is the primary lefty. One or two of the Mets’ relievers with little experience — Tyler Bashlor? Eric Hanhold? — emerging as a legitimate major-league option would deepen the bullpen considerably.

GRADE: B

MIDDLE INFIELDERS

In second baseman Robinson Cano, the Mets added not only an offensive threat from the left side but a new infield elder statesman to tutor shortstop Amed Rosario, 23. The 36-year-old Cano played well after serving an 80-game PED suspension in 2018 and hasn’t shown any sign of decline. Rosario made great strides late last season — he had a .284/.318/.413 slash line with 15 steals in 20 tries — and needs to keep going to be the sort of speed/power dual threat the Mets have long imagined.

GRADE: B+

CORNER INFIELDERS

Despite all the potential at both corners, uncertainty abounds. Jed Lowrie and Todd Fraizer, both injured during spring training, should get most of the at-bats at third base. Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith are the primary options at first, and although both could be good, neither is proven in the majors. J.D. Davis figures into the equation as a backup at both spots.

GRADE: B-

OUTFIELD

For a more expansive report at the Mets' outfield heading into 2019, see our closer look and grade here.

CATCHING

Wilson Ramos is a huge upgrade at the plate and behind it compared to other recent Mets catchers, but that’s worth something to the team only if he can stay healthy, which has frequently not been the case. Perhaps learning their lesson after floundering when Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki got hurt within a day of each other last year, the Mets are deep at catcher, with d’Arnaud, Devin Mesoraco and Tomas Nido filling out the depth chart.

GRADE: B-

BENCH

The Mets’ bench bunch is going to be a nebulous group because of a new emphasis on defensive versatility and regularly resting starters, but deepening the roster — and organization — was a focal point during the offseason. Davis, who can play all four corner infield/outfield spots, could be the greatest offensive threat among the reserves, but other than that, it’s a glove-heavy bunch: Keon Broxton/Juan Lagares, Adeiny Hechavarria (in camp on a minor-league deal), d’Arnaud/Mesoraco.

GRADE: B+

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