Monday, February 13, 2017

N.Y. Mets: The Future Starting Rotation is Now

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

The Truck o' Stuff has Arrived
Pitchers and Catchers are in the building.
The rest of the position players report Feb. 18


Thor    deGrominator    Dark Knight    Super Matz    and Zack Wheeler?

Entering Spring Training, manager Terry Collins let it be known there will be an open competition for the fifth rotation spot between Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo, and Robert Gsellman.

Both Gsellman, 23, and Lugo, 27, made their major league debut last season, and in the pressures of a pennant race performed very well.

Gsellman made eight appearances and seven starts, in which he went 4-2 with a 2.42 ERA, and a 1.276 WHiP with 42 strikeouts through 44.2 innings pitched.  Lugo made 18 appearances and eight starts, in which he posted a 5-2 record with a 2.67 ERA and 1.094 WHiP through 64 innings pitched, with 45 strikeouts.

It's been a long road back for Zack Wheeler, who will turn 28-years old in May.  He is arguably the incumbent heading into Spring Training to win the fifth spot.  But he last threw a major league pitch on Sept. 25, 2014 at Washington in a losing effort against the Nationals.  He has missed all of the last two seasons, save for facing four batters last year while rehabbing with Port St. Lucie.  He'll surely be on a pitch count this season, and will likely be shifting into the bullpen at some point anyway (despite preliminary protestations).

That in turn will leave the door wide open for either Gsellman and/or Lugo to step in.  Overall, this is a good problem for Terry Collins to have.

The same can't be said of TC's number four starter.  There is no doubting Steven Matz' physical ability, but questions abound where it concerns his durability.  Matz has yet to prove he can stay healthy.  Otherwise, Steven is a dynamite kid who has proven he belongs in the bigs.  The upcoming 2017 season will serve as a test, then, to see whether he can withstand the rigors of a long major league season.  Until then, Matz likewise provides Gsellman and Lugo yet another reason to stay sharp and prepare for duty on a moment's notice.

Then there's Matt Harvey ... the Darkened Knight.  His 2016 season literally fizzled out like a bottle rocket on the 4th of July.  And of course, he missed all of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery. It is reasonable to believe this man will be fueled by frustration.  Whatever his motivation, this much is certain: Matt Harvey still has much to prove, and his super agent Scott Boras knows it.  He is indeed a supreme talent, but the Dark Knight is now the measure of himself.  That being said, I hope Terry Collins learned his lesson as far as sticking to his guns when it comes to dealing with Harvey.

Jacob deGrom, who turns 29-years old in June, pitched 43 less innings in 2016 than during the 2015 season.  His ERA, WHiP, and rate of strikeouts were all down, while his rate of hits allowed and walks were up from the previous season.  Sure enough, deGrom succumbed to forearm and elbow discomfort in September and would undergo surgery to re-position the ulnar nerve.  Earlier this month, he said his elbow was pain free.

Noah Syndergaard's off-season weight-gain regimen seems all the rage.  The Mets Nordic ace gained roughly fifteen pounds in an effort to get stronger and increase his late season durability.  Thor claims he accomplished this while applying equal attention to a pitcher's need for flexibility.  Already in possession of a 100 mph fastball, he stated his desire to throw even harder.

From Marc Simon, ESPN

  • The Mets have never had five pitchers make thirty starts in the same season.  They've had four pitchers make thirty starts on six occasions: 1976, 1986, 1989, 1990, 2000, 2003.

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