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The Syracuse Mets had their season opener on May 4 after the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic, and the team has started 2-10 this season. Fans are allowed to attend the games at NBT Bank Stadium, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, Syracuse is only facing five opponents within the Northeast Division of Triple-A this season.
Here is a breakdown of the remaining opponents that the Syracuse Mets will play at NBT Bank Stadium this season:
Lehigh Valley IronPigs
MLB Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Dates: May 18-23
The Mets and IronPigs started a six-game series on May 18 at NBT Bank Stadium. During this series, Syracuse will likely face Spencer Howard, the Phillies’ top prospect. Heading into the season, Howard was ranked the 42nd-best prospect by MLB.com and the 27th-best prospect by Baseball America. The 2017 second-round draft pick has four pitches in his arsenal, primarily relying on his four-seam fastball, which averaged around 94 mph in 2020. He has been called up to the majors this year, but only pitched four innings in three games against the Mets, Giants and Rockies, giving up four runs. Scouts such as The Athletic’s Keith Law see Howard as an above-average starter for the Phillies, who are in need of a pitcher in the back-end of their rotation.
Worcester Red Sox
MLB Team: Boston Red Sox
Dates: June 8-13, Sept. 14-19
This season, Boston’s Triple-A team made the switch to Worcester after 50 years in Pawtucket. Worcester defeated the Syracuse Mets four times in a five-game series earlier this season, with Jeter Downs — Boston’s No. 2 prospect according to MLB.com — tallying three hits in the penultimate game. Downs is a middle-infielder who joined the Red Sox in 2020 as part of the trade that sent Mookie Betts, a former outfielder for the Red Sox, to the Los Angeles Dodgers. While Downs may not be the star that Betts is, he does have a .811 OPS (on-base plus slugging) in his minor league career. The Red Sox have other notable prospects including outfielder Jarren Duran, who has a .998 OPS this season, and pitcher Tanner Houck, who has a pitch combination of a four-seam fastball and a splitter.
MLB Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Dates: June 22-27, Aug. 17-22
Because the Blue Jays are unable to play in their stadium in Toronto due to COVID-19 restrictions, they are playing their season at the Bisons’ Sahlen Field. While the Blue Jays play in Buffalo, the Bisons are playing their home games at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, New Jersey. Buffalo’s main two pitchers, Nate Pearson and Alek Manoah, are both top-five prospects in the Blue Jays’ system. Pearson is Toronto’s No. 1 prospect and is the 10th-best prospect overall, according to MLB.com. His stay with the Bisons will likely be temporary as he already played with the Blue Jays on May 9 against the Astros. Manoah, the 2019 first-round pick out of West Virginia who had a 2.81 ERA in college, isn’t projected to be called up to the majors until 2022, according to MLB.com. Buffalo’s dominant pitching leads all of Triple-A with a 1.82 ERA.
Rochester Red Wings
MLB Team: Washington Nationals
Dates: June 29-July 4, July 13-18, Aug. 24-29
The Rochester Red Wings, who were previously affiliated with the Minnesota Twins and are now affiliated with the Washington Nationals, have the same 2-10 record as the Mets. The poor start is attributed to the lack of talent on the roster, and MLB.com and ESPN regard the Nationals’ farm system as the worst in baseball with the team’s top-17 prospects currently playing in Double-A or below. Because of this, the Red Wings are primarily made up of major leaguers that have been sent down to the minors, such as third baseman Carter Kieboom, who was set to replace Anthony Rendon on the Nationals. Kieboom disappointed last season, only hitting .202. He was unable to crack the major league roster in 2021.
MLB Team: New York Yankees
Dates: July 27-Aug. 1
The Mets opened their 2021 season against the RailRiders, winning the first game but losing the remaining five. Luke Voit, the Yankees’ starting first baseman and 2020 American League home run leader, hit a homer on the first pitch of the opening game. The RailRiders have seen multiple major league-caliber players play this season, such as third baseman Miguel Andujar and pitcher Deivi Garcia. But Chris Gittens, who has been in the minors since 2014, is having a breakout season. Gittens’ slash line is an impressive .323/.523/.774, and he has an OPS of 1.297. While he may not get attention from the Yankees, Gittens makes the RailRiders a team that could win the Triple-A East.