Who’s The Odd Man Out in the Mets Starting Rotation?

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

For better, or worse, the New York Mets have depth in their starting rotation. They have a back to back Cy Young winner (deGrom), a Norse god (Syndergaard), a homegrown kid (Matz), a separate Cy Young winner funny bear with a proven track record in the postseason (2013 NLCS MVP Michael Wacha), and a Gold Glove-winning WBC champion/MVP (Stroman).

The only problem is… they all expect to be starters. And there are only 5 in the rotation. So who’s the odd man out?

Who’s Likely in the Rotation?

Well, deGrom is coming off of his second consecutive Cy Young season. He’s not the odd man out. When you look at Porcello’s career, he has a good to the exceptional season after a bad season consistently. And last year was a bad season. So he’s in.

Stroman did not fare well transitioning from the AL to the NL last year. His ERA, home run per 9, walks per 9, and WHIP all went up. But, he’s still an elite caliber pitcher who’s in the last year of his contract. The smart move would be to have Stroman as your number 3 starter. Because at the very least, if he’s having a great 2020, but the Mets aren’t, him being in the rotation gives you the opportunity to shop him to a team looking for a second-half rental.

Thor had a good full season, his first since 2016, but he wasn’t great. He seems to fit as a later in the rotation arm, rather than the team’s number 2. Those earned run, and home run totals, coupled with that bloated ERA just isn’t a good look for someone who became the heir apparent to Matt Harvey’s “Dark Knight” moniker.

Then, you have Rick Porcello, who boasted a 5.52 ERA in 2019, a significant increase from the year before. The Mets are hoping for a bounce-back year, but his numbers have never been considered elite.

In a Fight Between Matz and Wacha, the Winner Is…

Matz should be the 5th guy in the rotation. At the end of the day, Wacha has been hurt an awful lot. He hasn’t thrown a complete season since 2017, his WHIP was over 1.5 last year, and his two home runes/four walks a game… it’s not good enough to be a starter.

Maybe the Mets should just go with a 6 man rotation.

The Futility of Projections for Mets and Yankees Players

Simeon Woods-Richardson

We are less than 100 days away from Spring Training, so Mets and Yankees fans should be rejoicing everywhere. However, as is with every year, statistical projections are made for player’s offensive and defensive output well in advanced.

Can we just stop to take a look at how futile this is by looking at some Yankees and Mets players?

2019 vs 2020 Projections for Yankees Sluggers

Big things were expected of Miguel Andujar and Giancarlo Stanton in 2019. But, we all have eyes, we saw what happened. Both got hurt early, and both played next to no time during the regular season. For Andujar, it was his surgically repaired labrum in his right shoulder. For Stanton, it was a plethora of injuries. Let’s look at some of the projected offensive numbers for Miguel Andujar in 2019:

610 plate appearances, .283 batting average, 25 home runs, 85 RBI’s.

And now for 2020:

285 plate appearances, .279 batting average, 12 home runs, 40 RBI’s.

Who in their right mind predicted that Andujar was going to suffer from season-ending surgery in the FIRST SERIES of 2019? No one? Thought so. So who’s to say that Gio Urshela won’t suffer a similar injury, paving way for Andujar to fulfill those 2019 projections?

Now let’s look at Stanton’s 2019 projections:

560 plate appearances, .265 batting average, 42 home runs, 105 RBI’s.

Now, Stanton in 2020:

307 plat appearances, .266 batting average, 19 home runs, 48 RBI’s.

What is the absolute point in drawing up projections for the year after an injury? Especially when players haven’t even reported to Spring Training yet?

And Now the Mets

It’s equally convoluted for pitching as it is for hitting. Here are some projections for Syndergaard in 2019:

196 innings pitched 12 – 9 record, 3.50 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 200 strikeouts.

Not too far off the mark for where he ended up. His 2020 projections are:

174 innings pitched, 10-7 record, 4.03 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 179 strikeouts.

Why the spike in ERA, and drop in innings pitched and strikeouts? What has he shown to indicate that will happen in 2020? Are we predicting he’s going to get hurt when there was 0 prediction Andujar and Stanton would in 2019?

Things were even worse for Steven Matz in 2019:

He was projected to be below or right at .500, he finished above .500. He was projected to have less than 150 strikeouts (average), he had over 150 in 2018 and repeated the feat in 2019. Hell, one projection predicted he wouldn’t even post a record. The rest was pretty spot on for where he finished.

Projections Take the Human Element Out of Baseball

Analytical number crunching of baseball players is fine, but they are more than just numbers and equations. They’re people. Who’s to say that Thor or Matz won’t be better than Jacob deGrom next year? deGrom is going to be 32 next season and has pitched over 600 innings in the last 3 seasons. Why is he projected to give up only 19 HR’s next year? He’s going to not be as effective as he was the last 2 seasons because… HE’S A LITTLE BIT OLDER AND THERE WILL BE MORE SCOUTING DONE ON HIM!

After never hitting above .235 in a single season, Urshela is projected to hit .283 next year. What if Andujar wins his job back in Spring Training and is the opening day starter? And what if Urshela tears the labrum in his throwing shoulder, mimicking what happened to Andujar in 2019?

For the love of Pete, we all love playing MLB’s The Show, but even Madden gets wrong how good a football team is going to do each season, how well the stars of the league perform that season, and even who wins the Super Bowl. Just let the grown men play the game as the humans they are, not the AI programs we treat them as.

 

 

The New York Mets Got the Best Award They Could Get for the Decade

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Post awarded the New York Mets with the most obvious award the Mets could win for the soon to be ending decade. Jacob deGrom won Athlete of the Decade. I mean… who else in New York was going to win Athlete of the Decade?

Other Candidates For the Award

Derek Jeter retired in 2014, Mo in 2013, Davi Wright in 2018. There was absolutely no one else in New York who could’ve won the award from the Post. Let’s face it… no one on earth could be a back to back Cy Young award winner like Jacob deGrom. Sure, Noah Syndergaard MIGHT have gotten close, if he didn’t get as hurt as David Wright.

What About the Yankees?

Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettite, and Jorge Posada retired pithing a year of each other between 2012 and 2014. The only one who could have gotten close to deGrom in terms of statistical comparison is Rivera. But no matter how lights out a reliever is… they never are as good as the starting pitcher. It would explain why Rivera finished in 8th for the CY Young voting in 2011 by the simple virtue of “When does a relief pitcher finish in the top 10 for CY Young voting?” The answer is… next to never!

What About Position Players?

Which position player out hit deGrom in the 2010s? Yes, Robinson Cano had a great time as a Yankee, but he was gone by 2014. By comparison, Yoenis Cespedes had a better time offensively than Robinson Cano had since 2014. And, who else took control of the city the way Cespedes did in 2015/2016? The answer is… NO ONE!

deGrom deserved player of the decade because deGrom has been the best pitcher in New York since 2016. Our pitching and starting rotation has been garbage in the Bronx since at LEAST 2015. I’m just glad someone in New York deserved. And the fact it was someone as worthy as deGrom makes it all the more bearable.

New York Mets: Jacob deGrom Year in Review

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom had another stellar year for the New York Mets, which earned him his second straight Cy Young award. He has not only cemented his place within the top three pitchers in baseball but has also put himself on the same level as the legendary Tom Seaver.

There indeed are not enough adjectives to adequately describe how dominant deGrom was. Despite winning the Cy Young award, there was a bump in the road for him early in the season. During April, his ERA was 4.85 and looked nothing like the deGrom of old.

May Through September

It did not take a long time to figure things out for deGrom as he put up a 2.07 ERA throughout the rest of the season. His unique ability to put together a strong start despite not having his best stuff is what puts him into the elite category of pitchers. deGrom has also survived despite having an offense and bullpen that forced him to only finish with nine wins.

deGrom also showcased his talent at the plate as well. He hit .200 with two home runs and six RBIs. deGrom only laid down one sac bunt all year, but he did have more freedom to swing the bat than most pitchers in baseball. The Mets provided deGrom with a five-year extension before the season, which looks like a steal just after year one.

The Ace

deGrom is heading into his age-32 season and the Mets need to take advantage of having him in their rotation. Guys like Stephen Strasburg and Madison Bumgarner have shown how big of an impact an ace can have in October. In 2015, deGrom was dominant in October, and the Mets have to figure out a way to sneak into the playoffs in 2020.

Grades:

Pitching Repertoire: A+, Five dominant pitches that he throws at any count and anywhere he wants.

Control: A, 44 in 204 innings is as good as it gets in today’s game

Composure: A+, The best in baseball in staying in the moment without letting anything get to him and top tier at limiting the home run

Durability: A+, 32 starts for the second straight year, 200+ innings for the third consecutive year

Intangibles: A+, The quiet leader of the team

Overall: A+, The man, won a Cy Young, does not get better than that

 

New York Mets: The Dominance of Jacob deGrom

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

New York Mets ace and back to back Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom, was always a good pitcher, but over the last two seasons he has taken his game to an elite level. Not everything was sunshine and rainbows for him, during the 2017 seasons there were trying times for deGrom.

In 2017, deGrom’s ERA was inflated to 4.75 after his June 6th start against the Texas Rangers. He was tagged for eight runs and looked like a defeated man in the dugout. As he was sitting there alone, Terry Collins came over to counsel his struggling ace as he looked frustrated. This played a role in deGrom’s turnaround.

The Rise to Dominance

After that game, deGrom started to become the top pitcher he has been for the last two and a half seasons. He put up a couple seasons prior with his ERA ranging from 3-3.5. Those days would end when he took the mound for his following start. For the rest of the 2017 season deGrom had a 2.85 ERA and limited hitters to a .223 batting average.

The next two seasons were even stronger which earned him his two consecutive Cy Young awards. Since June 7, 2017 deGrom has a 2.24 ERA and has been the best pitcher in baseball over that time period. He got to a point that not many pitchers reach and made it look extremely easy at times.

deGrom has the “killer mentality” and all he worries about is delivering the perfect pitch. It is the only thing he controls and wants nothing short of perfection. His commitment to excellence is second to none and the Mets are very lucky to lock him up for the prime of his career.

The only thing left to put deGrom’s career on par with Tom Seaver’s is to win the coveted World Series Championship.

Mets’ Jacob deGrom wins second consecutive NL Cy Young Award

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

For the second consecutive season, New York Mets’ ace right-hander Jacob deGrom has been named the National League’s  Cy Young Award winner by the BBWAA.

deGrom bested the other two finalists, Washington’s Max Scherzer and Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers, receiving 29 of the 30 first place votes.

“The deGrominator” became just the sixth National League pitcher to win the award in consecutive seasons. Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux are the others.

The award is the seventh won by a Mets pitcher: Tom Seaver won three (1969, 1972, 1975) followed by Dwight Gooden (1985), R.A. Dickey (2012) and deGrom (2018).

“deGrom led the National League in strikeouts, ranked second in ERA and third in innings, making him the only pitcher to finish even in the top seven in all of those categories. He also led the league in both Baseball Reference and Fangraphs’ valuations of pitcher WAR, while finishing second in WHIP and third in ERA+” –  (mets.com)

Per the Elias Sports Bureau, deGrom ended the year with a 23.0 scoreless inning streak, the longest by a Met to end a season in franchise history. The previous best was 15.0 scoreless innings by Rob Gardner (1965), Terry Leach (1982) and Noah Syndergaard (2018).

Mets News: Alonso, deGrom named finalists for NL ROY, Cy Young

The New York Mets normally don’t hear their players’ names called for the annual BBWAA awards handed out at the end of each season. Yesterday, the BBWAA announced the three finalists for their year end awards. Mets 1B Pete Alonso was named one of the three finalists for NL Rookie of the Year and Jacob deGrom is back in the hunt for another Cy Young Award.

2019 BBWAA Awards Finalists

AL MVP: Alex Bregman, HOU; Marcus Semien, OAK; Mike Trout, LAA
NL MVP: Cody Bellinger, LAD; Anthony Rendon, WSN; Christian Yelich, MIL

AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole, HOU; Charlie Morton, TBR; Justin Verlander, HOU
NL Cy Young: Jacob deGrom, NYM; Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD; Max Scherzer, WSN

AL Rookie of the Year: Yordan Alvarez, HOU; Brandon Lowe, TBR; John Means, BAL
NL Rookie of the Year: Pete Alonso, NYM; Mike Soroka, ATL; Fernando Tatis Jr., SDP

AL Manager of the Year: Rocco Baldelli, MIN; Aaron Boone, NYY; Kevin Cash, TBR
NL Manager of the Year: Craig Counsell, MIL; Mike Shildt, STL; Brian Snitker, ATL

Both deGrom and Alonso are favored to take home their respective awards according to a late-season MLB poll.

From Anthony DiComo of MLB.com:

Alonso, an overwhelming favorite to be named NL Rookie of the Year after hitting a Major League rookie-record 53 home runs in his first season, joined Atlanta’s Mike Soroka and San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. as finalists. The BBWAA will reveal the winner on Nov. 11, during a 6 p.m. ET show on MLB Network.

deGrom, who won the NL Cy Young Award last year, took a step closer to repeating when he joined a group of finalists that also includes Washington’s Max Scherzer and Los Angeles’ Hyun-Jin Ryu. Although deGrom didn’t quite match his 2018 Cy Young numbers, he finished 11-8 with a 2.43 ERA and a league-high 255 strikeouts in 204 innings. The winner will be announced on Nov. 13, also at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.

deGrom would be taking home the seventh Cy Young Award in Mets history. The previous winners were: Tom Seaver in 1969, 1973 and 1975; Dwight Gooden (1985), R.A. Dickey (2012) and deGrom last season.

Alonso would be the Mets’ 6th NL Rookie of the Year joining Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Darryl Strawberry (1983), Gooden (1984) and deGrom (2014).

 

New York Mets: A Bittersweet Victory

The Mets came into Wednesday night’s game needing the impossible to happen to keep their season alive. In a blowout victory, headlined by a masterful Jacob deGrom and an offensive onslaught that was overshadowed by the Mets being eliminated from playoff contention.

Jacob deGrom sealed his lock for the NL Cy Young award with his seven shutout innings. He struck out seven and only allowed three baserunners. deGrom finished his season with 23 consecutive scoreless innings and a 2.43 ERA. His last two months of the season have pushed him up the ranks as Hyun-Jin Ryu has not pitched nearly as well as he did early in the season.

Alonso Moves Closer

Pete Alonso blasted a 437-foot home deep in to the left-center field bleachers for his 51st home run. The home run moved him just one behind Aaron Judge for the most by a rookie. Alonso will now have four games to tie and potentially break the rookie home run record. The pitchers he will face though are no pushovers. Alonso will face Jordan Yamamoto, Dallas Keuchel, Mike Foltynewicz and Mike Soroka.

The Mets piled on 10 runs against the Marlins staff, but they lost Jeff McNeil for the rest of the season. He was hit in his wrist with a pitch and it resulted in the wrist being fractured. Despite the season coming to an end, the Mets certainly would have wanted to keep McNeil healthy through the end. In the two prior seasons they have suffered big injuries at the end of the year. Michael Conforto in 2017 and Brandon Nimmo in 2018.

Unfortunately, the Mets were eliminated from postseason contention after the Brewers won. The Mets magnificent second half should not go over looked. Coming out of the All-Star break we all knew the Mets needed a miracle to get back in the race. They went 36-20 in the second half and showed they are able to contend with the top teams in baseball. In 2020, they have to show they can play well from game 1 through game 162.

What Does The Future Look Like?

The Mets finally have a young core that will be in place next season. With the exception of Zack Wheeler, their entire starting rotation is under contract next season. If the Mets can solidify their bullpen, they will put themselves in a prime opportunity to contend for a division crown. Resigning Wheeler also would not hurt either.

The biggest questions lies in management. Mickey Callaway helped lead this team out of the gutter, but he was part of the reason why they played poorly. Callaway wants to stay, but in the end Brodie Van Wagenen will decide if he gets the boot.

New York Mets: Final Week Rundown

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

For all intensive purposes, the Mets are not mathematically eliminated, but we know what lies ahead for them. With seven games left, the Mets will attempt to make up a 4.5 game deficit in the National League Wild Card hunt. Even if they finish just short of the postseason, they should look to finish on a good note.

Do not get your hopes up as the Mets only have a two percent chance to make the postseason. The Mets have a good chance to make up some ground with four games against the Miami Marlins. After that they take on the Atlanta Braves, who have owned the Mets all season.

Nationals/Brewers

Somehow, the Nationals and Brewers are tied for the two wild card spots. The Nationals blew the huge lead they had in the top spot and the Brewers have managed to catch them without Christian Yelich. The Brewers have six games left against the Reds and Rockies, so barring a major collapse, they should be expected to keep their playoff spot.

Where things can get interesting is with the Nats schedule. All eight of their games come against teams who are over the .500 mark. They have a 9-11 record during September which has lead to them losing their top spot. The Mets best hope will come from the Nats continuing their collapse over the last week.

deGrom on Three Days Rest?

If the Mets can make up enough ground by the end of the series, we may see Jacob deGrom pitch on three days rest on the last day of the season. deGrom’s next start is on Wednesday against the Marlins, a team he has had plenty of success against this season. He has never pitched on three days rest, but there is no doubt he will give the Mets the best chance to win an important game.

A strong last two days of the season will also seal Jacob deGrom’s second Cy Young. Before anything else, the Mets have to win every single game and beat the insurmountable odds up against them.

New York Mets: Great Win, But Nothing to Show for It

The New York Mets rode the right arm of their defending Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom, to a big 8-1 victory to start their series against the Cincinnati Reds. Unfortunately, due to wins from the Nationals and Brewers, the Mets did not gain any ground in the wild card race.

deGrom gave the Mets exactly what they needed from their ace. He threw seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts. The masterful outing lowered his ERA to 2.51 and continues to make a case for why he deserves to the Cy Young winner again. Mickey Callaway was enticed by the idea of throwing deGrom for the eighth, but a five run lead made it easy for him to turn the game over to the bullpen.

Run(s) Support?

This was a game filled with storylines and it was led by Pete Alonso’s 50th home run of the season. It gave the Mets a five run lead and he became the first Met to ever hit 50 home runs a season. Alonso now needs three home runs over the last nine games to pass Aaron Judge for the MLB rookie home run record.

Jeff McNeil and Amed Rosario put out homers to provide the all the run support deGrom needed. McNeil ended up finishing the game a triple short of the cycle. Michael Conforto also broke out of his slump with a hit and two walks.

Diaz Big Out

Edwin Diaz had gone eight days without pitching, but Mickey Callaway turned to him in a big spot. He entered the game with 5-0 lead with runners on second and third and Eugenio Suarez at the plate. Diaz struck him out with a 99mph hour fastball to end the inning. At this point in the season, Diaz will take any positive he can get.

Unfortunately, the win just kept the Mets in place. With nine games to go, they need luck on their side to make up three and a half games. At this point they will need to win out and hope for a miracle.