New York Mets Injury Report (April 26, 2021)

The New York Mets have had relatively good luck with injuries to start the season and even saw a bullpen arm leave the injured list over the weekend. Drew Smith left the 10-day IL and went to the Mets alternate site. The right-handed reliever was dealing with shoulder soreness after having an excellent spring training. Smith only allowed one hit in three innings with the same number of strikeouts and figures to rejoin the bullpen when fully healthy.

Carlos Carrasco is progressing nicely from the hamstring tear he suffered in spring training. On Saturday, Carrasco pitched four innings without any issues for the second consecutive outing. Since Carrasco does not have any lingering problems, the focus has shifted toward getting himself ready to make a full start when he rejoins the roster. Manager Luis Rojas said Carrasco is expected to make his Mets debut during the second week of May.

Seth Lugo is being treated very carefully as he works his way back from elbow surgery. He has begun to throw bullpen sessions and expects to throw live bp within the next couple of weeks. The original timeline had Lugo set to return in June, but he can return towards the end of May at his current pace. Since Lugo’s focus is relief pitching, there is no need to ramp him up to throw more than two innings.

Thor Inching Back

On Saturday, Noah Syndergaard pitched in an intersquad game for the first time. Syndergaard’s fastball is not at 100 mph yet, but a stellar 97 is still plenty for Thor. Rojas and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner were pleased with what they saw in the one-inning outing. Syndergaard threw all of his pitches to the five batters he faced. For the next six weeks, Syndergaard will go through a regular spring training atmosphere to get himself ready to pitch every fifth day. If Syndergaard progresses as expected, he will return to the mound in mid-June.

Dellin Betances has proven to be the pitching version of Jed Lowrie as he landed on the 60-day IL with a right shoulder impingement. He made one appearance this season before heading to the IL. Betances struggled to find his velocity or the strike zone during the spring, making him impossible to use in any critical situation. Whether he is actually injured or not, the Mets are buying themselves time to determine if Betances actually has anything left in the tank.

New York Mets: Three Fringe Players With a Chance to Make Roster

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets made their first round of cuts in spring training, but it only eliminated three players on the 40-man roster. Pitchers Franklyn Kilome, Sean Reid-Foley, and Thomas Szapucki became the first casualties of spring. With 37 players from the 40-man roster left in major league camp, who are three who could sneak their way onto the roster?

1. Drew Smith

Smith deserves to be on a major league roster, but it becomes a matter of the Mets making room for him. At the moment, he is more reliable than Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia, but both will make the Opening Day roster. Last season Smith found success with a cutter that had a 66.7 whiff rate. Smith has not allowed a base runner in his two outings this spring.

2. Jordan Yamamoto

Yamamoto may have lucked himself into a roster spot with the injury news on Carlos Carrasco. Joey Lucchesi would usually be ahead of Yamamoto for a rotation spot, but he has not pitched in a game yet. Yamamoto has started his spring training strong but allowing two runs in five innings pitched. His next outing should require him to pitch four innings and should determine if he is ready for a rotation spot if Carrasco has to miss time.

3. Albert Almora 

Almora’s minor league option made him a candidate to being the year in Triple-A with Jose Martinez as an offensive option off the bench. Martinez’s knee injury makes Almora a lock to make the roster for Opening Day. Almora has flashed his great defense in multiple outfield positions and also displayed a new leg kick at the plate. He will make a good pairing with Kevin Pillar as the backup group of outfielders.

Pair of Homers Power New York Mets to 2-0 Victory Against Astros

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The first two spring training games for the New York Mets have resulted in seven-inning, 2-0 finishes. On Tuesday, they were on the winning side for the first time. Mets pitchers had another strong showing, and solo home runs from Jeff McNeil and Albert Almora Jr. powered the offense.

Marcus Stroman got the start over Jordan Yamamoto and was as good as advertised. Stroman retired all six batters he faced and struck out two. His hard sinker resulted in three groundball outs, and he displayed his brand new changeup as well.

Yamamoto worked around a couple of hard-hit balls to deliver two scoreless innings following Stroman. Jerry Blevins, Drew Smith, and Sam McWilliams finished off the shutout. Mets pitchers have allowed just two runs over 14 innings pitched this Spring.

The bats are still quiet, but the dominant pitching held up the two solo homers. McNeil’s homer came against a hanging curveball from Framber Valdez. Over his career, McNeil has less power against left-handed pitching and is always looking to add more power to his game. Almora is another player looking for more power and has a consistent leg kick in his batting stance. In past seasons, he has used a toe tap which led to increased groundball rates every year of his career.

Prospects Ronny Mauricio, Mark Vientos, Brett Baty, and Pete Crow-Armstrong all made appearances once the starters exited. For Crow-Armstrong, it was his first game in professional baseball, and he struck out in his only at-bat. On Wednesday, the Mets travel to Jupiter to take on the St. Louis Cardinals. Jerad Eickhoff faces Kwang Hyun Kim at 1:10 p.m. ET.

 

 

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Pitcher Drew Smith

Simeon Woods-Richardson

Drew Smith made his way back from Tommy John Surgery to make the New York Mets opening day roster. Smith originally would have missed the first half of the season for rehab, but the pandemic allowed him to make his first outings back on the big league level.

Smith was a forgotten bright spot from the 2018 season. He was the only acquired relief pitcher that actually turned out to have success with the Mets. Smith factored into the bullpen picture for 2019 until TJS ruined any thoughts of that.

Despite making his first professional outing since the surgery at the big league level, Smith faired well. Over his first seven outings, he threw six innings, allowing two runs with six strikeouts and no walks. Smith found plenty of success using his fastball/cutter combination, which netted him plenty of swings and misses.

Sent Down Early

Instead of capitalizing on his success, the Mets optioned him on August 14, and he made one final appearance on August 30. It was a disastrous outing against the New York Yankees where he struggled in the one inning he threw. Smith allowed four hits, three runs, two walks, and one long home run. It was the complete opposite of the pitcher that was with the Mets earlier in the season.

Smith did not get into another game after that to right his stats. He finished the season with a 6.43 ERA, but it did not do justice to how well he pitched. Smith looked like a reinvented pitcher with his newly added cutter. With a fully healthy offseason and spring training, he is a very underrated option for the Mets bullpen in 2021. They would be crazy to waste the potential he showed in 2020.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

4-Seam Fastball: 55 (60), Lost an mph but still throws in the mid-90s, and the ability to use the fastball up in the zone set up the cutter.

Cutter: 80 (75), It had an unreal 63.2% whiff rate in 2020 and a .200 batting average against. While it is very tough to repeat the whiff rate, an xBA of .099 shows its potential.

Curveball: 45 (50), Only threw 13, but it will be a good third pitch in his arsenal.

Changeup: 35 (45), All 11 were thrown to left-handed batters. It still needs work in keeping it down in the zone. When he works at the knees and lower, it has terrific arm action to it.

Command: 70 (70), Always a good strike thrower out of the bullpen.

Overall: 40 (60), Good reason to have high hopes in him for the 2021 season. Just a matter if the Mets allow him to get a shot.

 

New York Mets Ride Peterson’s MLB Debut to 8-3 Win

The New York Mets opted for David Peterson to make his MLB debut against the Boston Red Sox, and he did not disappoint. Peterson had the longest Mets outing of the season and became the first rookie since Steven Matz in 2015 to get a win in his first career start.

The rookie left-hander continued to ease the stress the Mets had thinking about the starting rotation. Peterson threw 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits, two runs and struck out three. He was not dominating by any means, but his line is what the Mets want out of their fifth starter. Peterson also received help from his defense, which turned two double plays for him.

Red Hot Offense

The Mets’ offensive struggles from opening weekend seem far behind them now. Much like Monday’s victory, they used a crooked number in the second inning to build a lead they never gave up. J.D. Davis led the way with a two-run homer and a double. It was a well-rounded effort as Jeff McNeil and Robinson Cano each recorded two hits and a double.

The only two Mets who failed to record a hit were Pete Alonso and Yoenis Cespedes. While Alonso drew a walk, both have started the season 2-for-20 and 2-for-14, respectively, with half of their hits coming via the home run.

Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances continued to look strong out of the Mets bullpen, each hurling a scoreless inning. Drew Smith also struck out the only batter he faced in relief of Peterson.

After taking the first two games in Boston, they return home to face the Red Sox at Citi Field. They put themselves in an excellent position to build a lead in the division as Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz will throw the next two games. The first pitch between deGrom and Nathan Eovaldi is Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. in Queens.

 

New York Mets are counting on Drew Smith for the 2020 season

The New York Mets‘ relief corps appear to be in much better shape this year than last. Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia are looking to rebound to some degree, and they have the talent to do so. Seth Lugo is the highest floor option, but Dellin Betances gives the unit an amazing ceiling and Robert Gsellman, Justin Wilson, Jared Hughes and Brad Brach are excellent complementary pieces.

However, a name that may sneak up and contribute for the Mets later in the season is Drew Smith, the talented right-handed reliever that hasn’t had any luck with injuries so far.

The 26-year-old is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, he has been throwing off a mound since March and could be an option for manager Luis Rojas later down the road despite the fact that he is unlikely to be quite ready for the start of the season.

The Mets have plans for him this season

The New York Mets included Smith in their 60-man player pool of alternatives for the season, which means that the chances of him appearing in 2020 are quite high.

Smith had his Tommy John surgery in March 2019, so he certainly has time on his side. The third round selection in the 2015 draft pitched in 27 games as a rookie out of the Mets’ bullpen in 2018. He had a 3.54 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 28 innings.

The Mets had acquired Smith from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for first baseman Lucas Duda in July 2017. He has had impressive short stints in the minors and was even considered a top 30 prospect by the team at some point until he blew up his elbow.

With teams looking at a very short and compressed calendar of 60 games in 66 days, the Mets may be looking for fresh arms at some point in the summer, and Smith has shown the talent to warrant at least an extended opportunity in the bigs.

The Importance of the New York Mets Bullpen in a Short Season

As Major League Baseball continues to juggle the idea of playing baseball again this season, teams are scrambling to get their pitchers ready. The New York Mets will rely heavily on their bullpen through the first month of their season as pitchers get their endurance up to speed.

If there are only two weeks of Spring Training games before the season starts, it is not enough to get a rotation ready. Each starter will get three starts max, which forces the bullpen to throw more innings early in the season. With the way pitchers work today, we will not see them at their peaks for at least 2-3 regular season starts.

Bullpen Importance

The needed relievers make sense as to why a potential 30-man roster is in the works. Anywhere from 1-4 extra relievers are required in order to be competitive during the first part of the season. Late inning relievers like Edwin Diaz, Dellin Betances, and Seth Lugo will have their critical roles. Middle relief is where the key outs will be. If starters only go 4-5 innings during the first couple weeks of the season, someone has to bridge the gap.

Brad Brach, Justin Wilson, Jeurys Familia, and potentially Drew Smith are a few middle relievers who will have to finish the work for the starter. Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo are the only relievers who can pitch multiple innings due to their starting pitching backgrounds. Most likely, Lugo’s outings come late in games while Gsellman will take most of the multiple innings appearances from innings four through seven.

During 2019, in outings of more than one innings, Gsellman had a 2.18 ERA. It included multiple three-inning outings where he kept teams scoreless and the Mets in the game. When healthy, he can play as big of a role as Lugo, just earlier in the game.

Luckily the Mets employ Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman, two of the most in-shape pitchers throughout baseball. The Mets can be more flexible with how deep each of them pitch, compared to the average pitcher. While deGrom moves in silence without social media, Stroman displays all the works he is putting in for the eventual season. Depth is a key part for any championship team and the Mets can finally say they have it on both sides of the ball.

New York Mets: Four Players Who Should Make the 30-Man Roster

One of the rumors of the MLB’s season proposal is the expanded rosters that come with it. The potential 30-man rosters will allow the New York Mets to carry some extra depth throughout the season. Here are four players who can add the extra punch the team needs.

Drew Smith

Drew Smith had a projected timetable of April-May to return to game action from Tommy John Surgery. The extended time off should put him a position to pitch in spring training games. During his rookie season in 2018 he pitched in 27 games and had a 3.54 ERA. Smith is a very underrated part of the Mets bullpen and is still only 26 years old.

The biggest question comes in how he bounces back from the surgery. Smith has above-average stuff and the lack of urgency to pitch on back to back days with expanded rosters will help his case to make the roster. Even if he is not ready for the first month, he can play a part during the final two.

Rene Rivera

The luxury of having a third catcher is a tough decision, especially when the DH is going to be universal. Rene Rivera is the best defensive catcher in the organization and knows the pitching staff the best. He ranks over Tomas Nido, in my opinion, and hold real value with his defense.

The bat lags behind Wilson Ramos but the Mets could opt to make Ramos a DH for a majority of the season while the combination of Rivera/Nido handled a bulk of the catching. It limits the extra at-bats for Dominic Smith and Yoenis Cespedes but it helps the weakness of controlling the running game.

Daniel Zamora

With Justin Wilson as the only left-hander in the bullpen, Daniel Zamora is a clear cut candidate to land a job. He has less than 20 career innings but has shown the ability to get Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman out. Zamora’s role changes due to the three batter minimum rule but he did a terrific job getting out hitters from both sides of the plate during spring training.

Andres Gimenez

Is Andres Gimenez ready for an everyday role? Not quite yet but the 21-year old is on the fringe of stardom. The only way he should make the big league roster is if the entire minor league season is canceled. Instead of keeping him around to wait for 2021, he will receive the major league experience.

His role would feature more pinch-running and defensive opportunities. The roster is clogged as is, but it will be enticing to put the rookie in to start a few games. Unlike most of the roster, he is an unknown commodity who has the potential we saw from Amed Rosario in the second half of 2019.