The strength of the Mets is their young pitching staff. Assuming their young pitchers can stay healthy, the Mets will have one of the best and youngest starting rotations in baseball over the next 5 years.
Here is the way I see the future Mets starting rotation beginning in 2015. Returning from TJ surgery, the 25-year-old Matt Harvey will be the Mets ace. For the 2013 season Matt Harvey was an All-Star with a 9-5 record and an ERA of 2.27 with 191 SO in 178 innings. I see the 25-year-old Zack Wheeler as the Mets number two. This year Wheeler has an ERA of 3.90 with 105 SO in 108 innings. Behind these two the next three starting spots will be chosen from the following very capable current list of starters. Dillon Gee and Jon Niese are two 28-year-old veterans. Gee sports a 2.56 ERA with a 4-1 record this year. Niese, being a lefty starter, is a keeper with a 2.96 ERA and a 5-4 record this year. Both these young veterans should continue to improve. Then we have the surprise success story. His name is Jacob DeGrom. The 26-year-old DeGrom has 72 SO in 73 innings with an ERA of 3.18. The 32-year-old Carlos Torres has proven to be successful as a spot starter and a long-reliever. Torres currently sports an impressive 2.88 ERA with 63 SO in 59 innings. Sitting in the high minors waiting for their opportunity are the 24-year-old Rafael Montero, 21-year-old Noah Syndergaard, and the 23-year old Stephen Matz. Of these three you probably never heard of Matz. Matz, a left-handed pitcher, was the Mets number one draft choice in 2009. After TJ surgery he is now healthy with a fastball that consistently reaches 95.Yes, the Mets have assembled an impressive list of young starters that can rival any team in baseball.
The Mets late inning bullpen is also very impressive. Even if the Mets 2014 anointed closer Bobby Parnell, lost for the season with elbow surgery, cannot return to form in 2015; the Mets still have the closer position covered by the 25-year-old Jenrry Mejia. Mejia was converted from a starter to a closer. This year Mejia responded positively to the change by recording 11 saves in 13 opportunities with 65 SO in 64 innings. For setup relievers the Mets have the 25-year-old Jeurys Familia who has a 2.06 ERA with 40 SO in 48 innings. Mejia and Familia seem to be in a constant battle for the closer position which brings out the best in both of them. Other possible setup relievers include Vic Black, received in a trade, sporting a 1.76 ERA with 22 SO in 21 innings and the lefty Dana Eveland who has a 2.63 ERA in 13 games. Every team must have that one lefty specialist to get that one lefty batter out and the Mets lefty specialist is Josh Edgin who has 13 SO in 15 innings and an ERA of 1.76.
I give the Mets future pitching staff a grade of A. As is often said, “You can’t have enough good starting pitching.” We have seen far too often young pitchers going down with arm injuries that require TJ surgery. Having this many solid young starters and with their two old veteran pitchers Bartolo Colon and Daisuke Matsuzaka performing at a high level, the Mets have the trading chips to bring back a power hitting young outfielder and a young All-Star caliber shortstop. To get a big name position player I believe the Mets will also have to part with one of their young pitchers. Which one will go? Niese is in demand by other teams because he is a lefty starter. If Matz is ready for the big leagues I could see the Mets letting Niese go. The good news is that other young Met pitchers are also in demand. Pitching is really a nice problem for the Mets.
The expression good pitching will defeat good hitting may be true but good hitting is needed to be a serious playoff contender. We will look at the Mets possible starting positional players for 2015 and beyond in the next posting.
To be continued: