Monday, June 29, 2015

N.Y. Mets: Rolling out the welcome Matz

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS: Steven Matz joins a starting rotation six years in the making.  Let Flushing's Fearsome Five Era begin.

No one can predict the future.  But, as a long time baseball fan I'm sure in my ability at recognizing the start of something good...

Document the day Steven Matz made his MLB debut in your minds, for Flushing's Fearsome Five is now seemingly assembled:

Steven Matz - Matt Harvey - Jacob deGrom - Zack Wheeler - Noah Syndergaard

Although still technically a year away, this rotation has been 6 years in the making.

Give Omar Minaya his due credit for drafting Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, and Jacob deGrom, while Sandy Alderson did very well to secure prospects Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard in trades.  

Three of them were drafted in the 1st round, and the other two were drafted in the 2nd.

Steven Matz might have been the last of the aforementioned pitchers to make his MLB debut, but formation of this potentially Fearsome Five effectively started with him back in 2009.  The Mets made Matz the 72nd overall pick in the 2nd round of that year's June amateur draft.  

However, it took him 2+ years to rehabilitate from Tommy John surgery early in 2010 before making his professional minor league debut late in 2012.  Then in just over 2-years time he fast-tracked through the Mets system starting with Kingsport, followed by stops in Savannah, Port St. Lucie, and Binghamton. He started the 2015 season with Las Vegas, and was leading the Pacific Coast League in ERA and strikeouts upon his call-up to the Mets.

  • Sunday at Citi Field, Steven Matz tossed 7.2 innings, allowed 2 earned runs on 5 hits and 3 walks, and fanned 6 batters to earn his first major league victory.  He threw 110 pitches with 72 (65%) going for strikes.  He was also 3 for 3 at the plate, with a double and 4 RBI.

On July 26, 2012, the Dark Knight became the first Fab-Five to debut in Flushing.  The Mets selected Matt Harvey with the 7th overall pick of the 2010 draft.  In 2013, he was an All-Star, and finished 4th in Cy Young Award voting.  After 26 starts, however, he required Tommy John surgery which kept him out of action through the 2014 season.

With Matt Harvey out, Jacob deGrom stepped in.  He debuted on May 15, 2014, and merely went on to win Rookie of the Year honors.  The Mets drafted Jacob deGrom in the same 2010 draft with the 272nd overall pick in the 9th round.

Prior to deGrom, however, Zack Wheeler was the second of the Flushing Five to debut with the Mets. He joined Matt Harvey back on June 18, 2013, and for a short time helped form the rotation's original dynamic duo.  In July of 2011, Zack Wheeler was obtained from the Giants in exchange for Carlos Beltran.  San Francisco selected Wheeler 6th overall in the 2009 draft.

Unfortunately, he's the only one presently missing from the equation, succumbing to Tommy John surgery back in Spring Training.  All fingers are crossed for Wheeler's successful return in 2016.

In fact, Tommy John surgeries have prevented Harvey, Wheeler, and deGrom from forming a true triumvirate for a second straight season.

Then along came Noah Syndergaard.  His Mets/MLB debut came on May 15th of this year.  Thor was obtained by the Mets in December of 2012, as part of the big R.A. Dickey trade with Toronto.   The Blue Jays selected Syndergaard in the first round of the 2010 draft with the 38th overall pick.

Ideally, these 5 pitchers would comprise the Mets starting rotation for the next decade. That, however, is unlikely.  If the Mets are to improve their offense with premium talent, and to a lesser extent improve defensively, surely one of these pitchers must be included in a trade.

The only question would be whom to include.

I have an odd answer.

Matt Harvey is obviously out of the question.  But, he, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and now Zack Wheeler, have all had Tommy John surgeries.  Noah Syndergaard has not.  

Read into that what you will....

Best case scenario would be the Mets get to keep them all (future financial considerations withstanding).  Retaining all five would prove difficult, but certainly not out of the question.  In the short term, however, the Mets would be limiting themselves to improving the offense through waivers, free agency, and from within.

Truth is, I'm leery of trading any of these pitchers at this point, particularly in light having all five potentially manning next year's starting rotation together for the first time.  This could evolve into something very special.

Instead, the onus should be on the general manager and ownership to improve the team around them. 

Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon are clearly the Mets expendable pitchers.  In the absence of a blockbuster deal, Sandy Alderson needs to creatively package these, and other expendables, for a stop-gap offensive infusion, improving the bench, or fortifying the bullpen.

Meanwhile, ownership ultimately needs to spend more money than originally planned. That's what good clubs do at the trade deadline.  That's what proactive clubs do, particularly when their division is up for grabs.


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