New York Mets Player Evaluations: Pitcher Walker Lockett

Daniel Marcillo
Jul 20, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Walker Lockett (61) throws the ball against the San Francisco Giants in the fourth inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Walker Lockett was a late member to the New York Mets roster during the COVID shortened 2020 season. Lockett made two appearances within two weeks before the Mets put him on waivers and was claimed by the Seattle Mariners.

Lockett made his season debut on August 14 in a start against the Philadelphia Phillies. It was typical of his Mets career as he allowed five runs and seven hits over six innings of work. The only blemish on the start through four innings were back to back RBI singles in the second. J.T. Realmuto struck in the fifth innings as a three-run home run derailed the start, but Lockett struck out four of the final five batters he faced.

On to Seattle

Two weeks later, Lockett pitched two scoreless innings against the New York Yankees in his final outing with the Mets. After the traded deadline and out of minor league options, the Mets left him on waivers. The Mariners took a chance with Lockett, and he pitched better with them. Lockett had a 4.32 ERA in five games, but his strikeouts went down while the hits increased.

Lockett opted to use his sinker than his 4-seam fastball for the first time in his career. It has good movement, but he could not consistently throw it in the bottom half of the strike zone. His curveball continued to emerge as a good second pitch, but his changeup regressed slightly. Lockett’s 4.54 FIP was the best of his career, but it will not mean much if his groundball rate continues to hover in the 40% range.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Sinker: 20 (30), Batters hit .450 against the pitch thrown 32.6% of the time. It will be the reason Lockett’s career does or does not improve.

Curveball: 75 (55), His best pitch but does more damage with its movement across the zone.

Changeup: 20 (30), Still a pitch Lockett has to master. The whiff rate dropped from 29.5% to 10.3%.

Cutter: 40 (30), Threw it the most of his career (20.4%) but has to emphasize staying on top of the pitch, so it does not frisbee in the top of the zone.

4-Seam Fastball: 50 (N/A), Only threw 10 on the season; doubt we see it in 2021.

Command: 40 (45), Good at limiting walks but will not live up to his potential until he learns how to work down in the strike zone.

Overall: 40 (35), Still young enough for one more team to want a shot at him.