Comparing the New York Mets’ rotation with the rest of the National League

New York Yankees, Marcus Stroman
Aug 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman (7) pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

According to Fangraphs’ Depth Chart projections, the New York Mets have the third best rotation in all baseball. The unit as a whole has a 18.1 projected WAR, a number that only the Washington Nationals (19.2) and the New York Yankees (19.1) can surpass.

How does the Mets’ rotation measure up against other top units in the National League? Well, pretty good, actually.

For this exercise, we will use the Steamer 2020 projections instead of the Depth Charts.

What does Steamer think of the New York Mets’ rotation?

Now, the Steamer system makes several important assumptions that we will use to project some of the teams’ rotations for this exercise. For example, it assumes that Rick Porcello and Steven Matz will both be in the Mets’ rotation, while Michael Wacha will be a reliever/spot starter.

Steamer also thinks that Sean Newcomb will be the Atlanta Braves’ fifth starter over talented youngsters like Kyle Wright or Bryse Wilson; and that both Luke Weaver and Mike Leake will be in the Arizona D-backs’ rotation at the expense of Merrill Kelly or Alex Young.

Also, we are only considering the project rotation. Injuries happen, as do ineffectiveness, spot starts, double-headers, suspensions, and other circumstances that force teams to alter their plans and give starts to additional pitchers other than the top five arms.

These are the five best-looking rotations in the National League so far:

Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Anibal Sanchez, Joe Ross.) Projected WAR as a unit: 17.6

New York Mets (Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz, Rick Porcello.) Projected WAR as a unit: 17.3

Cincinnati Reds (Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray, Anthony DeSclafani, Wade Miley.) Projected WAR as a unit: 15.6

Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Kenta Maeda, Julio Urias, Ross Stripling.) Projected WAR as a unit: 14.7

Chicago Cubs (Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, Jon Lester, Tyler Chatwood.) Projected WAR as a unit: 12.2

The reigning World Series champs get the slight edge over the Mets. Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin all project comfortably over 4.0 fWAR each.

The Mets’ unit is very strong, and if Matz or Porcello falters, they have Wacha locked and loaded. In fact, it isn’t unclear what the team will do with their rotation. For all we know, they might go with all six. The only locks appear to be deGrom, Thor and Stroman.

The Reds have put together a sneaky-good rotation, with at least three players projected to surpass 3.5 fWAR in Castillo, Bauer and Gray.

Here are the rotations of the rest of the teams in the NL East:

Atlanta Braves (Mike Foltynewicz, Mike Soroka, Cole Hamels, Max Fried, Sean Newcomb.) Projected WAR as a unit: 11.6

Philadelphia Phillies (Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Jake Arrieta, Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez.) Projected WAR as a unit: 10.6

Miami Marlins (Pablo Lopez, Caleb Smith, Sandy Alcantara, Jordan Yamamoto, Elieser Hernandez.) Projected WAR as a unit: 7.6

It is fair to say that the New York Mets are in very good position.