New York Mets Player Evaluations: Pitcher Jared Hughes

Jared Hughes sprinted his way to the New York Mets after a bout with COVID-19, which kept him out of summer camp. Hughes was often called into duty once he was on the roster, and unfortunately, it caught him to him by the end of the season.

Hughes is known for his tremendous bowling ball sinker, which produces plenty of groundballs. He was a good as any reliever in the Mets bullpen through the first day of September. Hughes had a 2.51 ERA; batters hit .173 against him in 14.1 innings.

In his last six outings of the season, Hughes had nothing left in the tank. He allowed eight runs in the same amount of innings and allowed over two baserunners an inning. Hughes’s lack of control outside the strike zone led to six walks, and in the zone, it led to a .368 average against him.

Sink to Win

Hughes was able to neutralize righties using that hard sinker, holding them to a .340 slugging. Lefties were much better, slamming a .541 slugging percentage against him. The odd part about his season was his ERA below 1.50 with zero or one day rest but over 4.50 with more days of rest. Hughes got more rest in September, which seems like being taken out of the groove of pitching consistently allowed the fatigue to catch up to him.

Hughes 5.6 BB/9 and 8.5 K/9 were the highest of his career. He also produced the most soft contact since 2011, which shows that if his control was right, he was a useful reliever. Hughes’s concerning part comes with his ERA, WHIP, and FIP, all being the highest of his career.

Hughes heads into free agency and is looking for another one year deal to latch on with a franchise. His sinker fell victim to some bad luck with a .346 average but only a .261 xba. Hughes had plenty of success with his secondary pitches, which makes him a good risk on the marker.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Sinker: 50 (60), The overall numbers did not look good, but the movement is still as strong as ever.

Curveball: 80 (80), Wipeout pitch with a 46.7% whiff rate and good horizontal movement.

Changeup: 55 (50), Only threw 59 but had success with them.

4-Seam Fastball: 40 (45), The one hit in three put in play was a home run

Command: 45 (50), The high walk rate was a blip on the radar.

Overall: 45 (55), Would not be a bad idea for the Mets to bring Hughes back.

New York Mets: Late Mistakes Costly in 5-3 Loss to Phillies

The New York Mets finally got a good outing out of a starting pitcher but it could not mask the fatigue of the bullpen. One run allowed in the seventh and two in the eighth gave the Phillies bullpen enough wiggle room after Jake Arrieta pitched seven strong innings in the Mets 5-3 loss.

Manager Luis Rojas tried to push Jared Hughes through another outing but it did not work out. Over 1.1 innings he allowed three runs, four hits, and walked two. A two-out double led to a Roman Quinn RBI single to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.

In the eighth, Rhys Hoskins’s leadoff walk and a Didi Gregorius single set the table again for the Phillies. The inept Mets defense showed again when J.D. Davis made a poor throw to Dominic Smith on a Jean Segura infield single. The error gave the Phillies a 4-2 lead and an Adam Haseley hit by pitch by Brad Brach made it a 5-2 game.

Arrieta Flashback

Arrieta had an ERA above six heading to his start, but he did not show it against the Mets. He held the Mets to two runs over seven innings and also struck out seven. The two runs came on a Michael Conforto two-run home run in the fifth.

The Mets had an opportunity to tie the game in the eighth. Smith made it a 5-3 game with an RBI single and gave Robinson Cano and Pete Alonso opportunities to hit with runners on first and second with one out.

Cano’s hit a line drive that Hoskins snagged with a dive, preventing it from becoming an extra-base hit. It effectively killed the momentum the Mets had in the eighth. Alonso got to a 3-2 count but popped up a slider from Tommy Hunter to end the rally and continue his hitting struggles with runners in scoring position.

Rick Porcello had a strong start going six innings, allowing three hits, two runs and struck out six. He retired the last 12 batters he faced and gave the Mets exactly what they needed out of him. The Mets did not help themselves out by going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and leaving six on base.

The Mets try to get back into the win column on Saturday by sending Seth Lugo to make the start. He faces Spencer Howard at 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Sunday’s Doubleheader Disappointment to the Yankees

New York Mets, Edwin Diaz

After a terrific start to their five-game series against the New York Yankees, the New York Mets continuously beat themselves towards the end of the series. The bullpen disappointed the Mets in both games of the doubleheader, setting their season back even more.

The Mets were in a perfect position to turn things around from Saturday’s loss with a five-run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. Jared Hughes and Edwin Diaz combined to allow five runs in the inning, including an Aaron Hicks line-drive home run to tie the game. Diaz pitched in the eight, allowing Gio Urshela to hit a game-winning RBI single.

Adding On the Pain in Game 2

Deivi Garcia shut down the Mets in his major league debut. He threw six innings and struck out six while only allowing one unearned run. Seth Lugo went 3.2 innings for the Mets, striking out seven and only allowing one run. The bullpen disappointed again as Drew Smith allowed four runs in extra innings to give the Yankees a good cushion for the bottom of the inning.

The Mets added on a run, but Wilson Ramos struck out with the bases loaded in another frustrating loss. Over the three-game losing streak, every flaw Brodie Van Wagenen created and failed to fill was exploited. To make matters worse, the poor managing of rookie manager Luis Rojas was fully exposed as well.

On Monday, the Mets head back to their home park for a makeup game with the Miami Marlins. Jacob deGrom takes the mound for the 1:10 p.m. ET start against Trevor Rogers.

New York Mets: Offense Puts the Game Away Late in 8-3 Victory

Tuesday’s game for the New York Mets started with some worry as David Peterson landed on the 10-day Injured List with left shoulder fatigue. Corey Oswalt received the spot start and survived long enough that the Mets offense gave him the support he needed.

Oswalt lasted 4.1 innings, allowing five hits, two runs, no walks, and striking out four Marlins. He retired nine in a row at one point before running into trouble in the fourth inning. For a spot start on late notice, it was about the best the Mets could ask for. Justin Wilson, Jared Hughes, and Dellin Betances had shutout outings after Oswalt exited.

Edwin Diaz had a chance to finish off the victory but labored through his one inning of work. Francisco Cervelli led off with a double and a couple of infield singles, with a throwing error from Diaz got the Marlins a run. From that point, Diaz calmed himself down to strike out the final three batters he faced to end the game.

Plenty of Offense

For the second consecutive night, the Mets offense gave their pitching plenty of runs to work with. Brandon Nimmo led the way, finishing just a double short of the cycle. Amed Rosario had a much-needed breakout night with the bat. He recorded his second home run of the season and drove in three runs. Every Met in the starting lineup except Jeff McNeil and Tomas Nido recorded a hit.

The Mets went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base. When the offense records multiple hits w/RISP then they can live with a night like this. The issues arise when they record zero or one hit in these critical situations.

Jacob deGrom returns to the mound on Wednesday as he tries to make it three straight Mets victories. Pablo Lopez opposes him at 7:10 p.m. ET from Marlins Park.

New York Mets Can’t Get Out of Their Own Way in 2-1 Loss

New York Mets, Billy Hamilton

The New York Mets season has two scripts to it. Either their pitching forces them to lose by a touchdown or they leave a small village on the bases. In the 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals, it was the pathetic offensive effort that prevented them from getting a victory.

It looked like the Mets were going to chase Max Scherzer early in the game. Through two innings, he was well over 60 pitches and looked like the same Scherzer they faced a week ago. Per usual with the Mets, they tacked on to their league-leading LOB tally to let him off the hook.

The Mets left seven men on base, and when they did get into scoring position, they failed to record a hit all four times. Luis Guillorme drove in the only Mets run with a sacrifice fly. He also played a strong up the middle defense with Andres Gimenez at shortstop.

The Mets’ best chance to tie the game came in the seventh inning when Guillorme led off the inning with a double. Instead of leaving Billy Hamilton in the game to bunt him to third base, manager Luis Rojas opted to pinch-hit with Pete Alonso. At almost any other point, this is a brilliant move to make, but in the current situation, it becomes very questionable.

Alonso is the epitome of how bad the Mets are with runners in scoring position. Bunting the runner to third base, gives the Mets a chance to score a run with anything outside of a pop-up or strikeout. The clutch hitting is dreadful, and the Mets need any help they can get to make getting the runner in easier. With Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil due up, it would serve them perfectly to hit with a runner on third base.

Instead, Alonso could not get Guillorme to third base, let alone drive him in with no one out. Nimmo walked, then McNeil hit into a tough luck double play, which summed up how dreadful the 2020 season has been for the Mets. Ironically, Guillorme ended up striking out to end the game when Alonso could have pinched hit in the ninth.

Porcello’s Tough Luck

Rick Porcello had a very similar start to his last one against the Nats. He surrendered a run in each of the first two innings but shut the door for the following four innings. Porcello struck out five and worked around eight hits to lower his ERA to 5.68. The high ERA is nothing special, but comparing it to the 13.50 from two starts is a good step forward for him.

Jared Hughes and Edwin Diaz both combined for three scoreless innings in relief of Porcello. Both are pitching well as of late and would be terrific parts of a late-inning bullpen if the offense could ever get them a lead.

The defense for the Mets excelled, but they had to sacrifice offense for it. Despite not having their A+ offensive lineup, there still should be enough power in their defensive lineup for them to score more than one run. If Rojas is looking for more consistency from his lineups, he should stick with the defensive centric lineup. At 7-11, there is not much to lose in a season that seems already lost.

As of 10:25 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the Mets have not announced their starter for Wednesday’s game. It will either be Franklyn Kilome or a bullpen game. Whoever the start is, they will face off against veteran Anibal Sanchez at 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Offense, Bullpen Picks Up deGrom in 4-2 Victory

New York Mets, Andres Gimenez

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom is the king of day games but did not have his best stuff on Sunday. Despite only getting through five innings, he gave the Mets all they needed to get the 4-2 victory as they attempt to climb back to .500.

A lingering issue with his middle finger started bothering deGrom in the second inning. It forced him to elevate his pitch count and even drew a visit from the trainer. deGrom worked through the outing to pitch five innings, strikeout six and hold the Marlins to two runs. It was his second win of the season, and the only blemish on his line was a Jesus Aguilar two-run homer in the fifth inning.

Gimenez Leads the Way

Andres Gimenez continued to prove his worth at the big league level. He recorded three hits, including a double, and showcased his speed on the bases. Gimenez had a bunt single, stolen base and scored on a shallow sacrifice fly.

The Mets also took advantage of a weak Marlins outfield defense to record their runs. In the third inning, Jeff McNeil was robbed of a single with the bases loaded, but the fielder’s choice gave the Mets a 1-0 lead. Following that, a Corey Dickerson error gave the Mets their second run of the game.

A base hit from Brandon Nimmo in the fourth and a sac fly from McNeil in the sixth were all the Mets needed. It was important for the Mets to put together good at-bats in these situations where putting the ball in play score the Mets runs, instead of relying on the home run.

Bullpen Flexes Muscle

The bullpen depth the Mets signed in the offseason finally showed up. Jared Hughes and Dellin Betances started with back to back scoreless innings then the Edwin Diaz roller coaster began. By bringing in Diaz during the eighth, with a lead, it was clear the Mets want him back in the ninth when fully ready.

Diaz looked sharp, striking out the first two but then a single and double put the tying run in scoring position. In a situation where he would break, Diaz struck out Monte Harrison to get the Mets out of the jam. Seth Lugo slammed the door shut in the ninth as the closer role is firmly his at the moment.

Steven Matz takes the mound on Monday as the Mets begin a four-game set with the struggling Washington Nationals. The 7:10 p.m. ET game has the same matchup as last week with Patrick Corbin on the mound for the Nats.

New York Mets’ reliever reveals he had COVID-19

New York Mets

The New York Mets are about to receive a veteran reinforcement to their bullpen corps, as they try to navigate a difficult schedule this season that includes the current World Champions and teams like the New York Yankees, the Atlanta Braves, the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, just to name a few.

Right-hander Jared Hughes, who was signed by the New York Mets on June 30 to a minor league deal, was placed on the injured list back on July 10 with an undisclosed issue. However, he revealed today that he tested positive for COVID-19 in early July, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

According to Anthony DiComo, Hughes was scheduled to throw live batting practice Sunday and could be just days away from activation off the injured list. The Mets need him and Brad Brach to strengthen the relief pitching in what is shaping up to be a tight race for the playoffs.

The Mets are about to gain a valuable righty

The 35-year-old hurler missed all of summer camp and the Mets declined to explain why. However, the pitcher himself came forward with an explanation today, saying that he suffered the disease, just like Brach.

Last week, when addressing the absences of Brach and Hughes, Mets’ manager Luis Rojas said to the press that in them, he has “a couple of weapons pending.”

Indeed, Hughes could be an extremely useful piece as the Mets bridge the gap between the starters and closer Edwin Diaz. Last season, he had a 4.04 ERA in 72 games with the Cincinnatu Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies, with a 5-5 record, 54 strikeouts and a 1.18 WHIP.

Hughes is known for the heavy usage of his sinker, relying on the offering roughly three quarters of the time. The pitch has helped him maintain a very low career ERA of 2.88, with a 4.11 FIP. He complements his arsenal with a changeup, a curveball, a four-seamer and a slider.

New York Mets: Brad Brach and Jared Hughes Head to Injured List

Brad Brach and Jared Hughes were the last to members of the New York Mets player pool who have not arrived at summer camp yet. With just a few days before the season begins, the Mets put them on the Injured List but did not specify the injury.

The assumption is that both players tested positive for COVID-19. Since teams do not list a reason for COVID related IL stints, the only confirmation will come from the players themselves. Both players did not have any lingering injuries, and if they suffered an injury, like Jacob deGrom, they would have reported that first.

Replacement Options

The Mets looked to have about two extra relievers when camp broke, but now they will have to replace Hughes and Brach as well. Out of the starting pitchers, Walker Lockett or Corey Oswalt likely make the team for starting pitching depth. For the relievers, the Mets can opt for veterans Hunter Strickland or Chasen Shreve. If they wanted to stay within the organization Paul Sewald, Tyler Bashlor, Daniel Zamora are candidates along with top option Drew Smith. 

The options are not limited to the listed names since the Mets added more pitchers to their player pool. deGrom’s health and the length that Brach/Hughes remain on the sidelines.

New York Mets: deGrom Deals With Back Issues, Cano Finally Shows

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets had quite a few headlines from Tuesday. Jacob deGrom left his start with a back issue after one inning and it overshadowed the return of Robinson Cano to summer camp after an eight-day absence.

The first nightmare of summer camp occurred when deGrom surprisingly left the game early. His performance did not indicate any issues, but a grimace for deGrom as he walked off the mound showed something was wrong. It was his second to last start before Opening Day, but the injury changes things around.

All the Mets released a confirmation on deGrom’s injury. He also dealt with similar issues during 2018 Spring Training, but it did not keep him from being ready for Opening Day. Judging from deGrom’s ability to finish the inning, his early exit seemed like a precaution to keep their back-to-back Cy Young winner from causing more damage to his back.

Cano Back in Flushing

While the reasons for Robinson Cano’s absence from summer camp is still a mystery, he returned to camp on Tuesday. Since the Mets’ organizational policy is to keep quiet on player’s absences, the only place to get an answer is from Cano himself. Cano did not speak to the media on his first day back.

Cano’s starting lineup status is still in question for the beginning of the season. Manager Luis Rojas said it all depends on how he progresses in the next week but looks to be in great shape. With an aging veteran like Cano, they know how to get themselves in-game shape better than anyone else. He had a slow start in 2019 and hopes to erase that from Mets fans memories.

Cano’s appearance at camp leaves Brad Brach and Jared Hughes as the final two players who need to report to camp. Rojas had no answer on when to expect them to join the team. Both do not carry the weight of Edwin Diaz or Seth Lugo in the Mets bullpen but are both good enough pitchers where their absence will hurt the team. Their absence opens up opportunities for Drew Smith and Paul Sewald to make the roster.

Jared Hughes signing could be huge for the New York Mets

New York Mets

I apologize for the not-so-funny headline. However, I need to point out that the Jared Hughes addition by the New York Mets on Tuesday night has the potential to pay dividends in a big way in what is shaping up to be an odd season.

The New York Mets’ bullpen is already a strength, as incredible as it may sound. Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia could be poised for rebound seasons, and if you want sure things, you have Seth Lugo, Justin Wilson and Brad Brach. Robert Gsellman and Dellin Betances (who, if healthy, could be the best relief arm in the team) complete an impressive group.

However, there is not such a thing as too much depth, and Hughes signing could be more than just that. The deal, per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, is worth a prorated $700,000, or about $260,000, so the righty isn’t expensive at all.

Yes, he is on the wrong side of 30 (he will turn 35 during the season) but the Mets are getting quality here. He has a 2.88 career ERA in 524 games and 519.0 innings, a fantastic arm that puts him among the most consistent relievers of the circuit.

The Mets could have a key bullpen contributor in Hughes

Hughes had a somewhat down year in 2019, pitching to a 4.04 ERA and a 5.29 FIP in 71 1/3 frames, but that has been about his worst performance since 2013, when he had a 4.78 ERA. Look at his yearly ERA marks since that season:

2014: 1.96

2015: 2.28

2016: 3.03

2017: 3.02

2018: 1.94

2019: 4.04

Hughes signed with the Houston Astros in the spring but requested to be released after the COVID-19 caused the shutdown in the industry. If he is healthy and pitches up to his skills, he will surely have a spot in the New York Mets’ middle relief in 2020.

He will be an asset for manager Luis Rojas, thanks in large part due to his ability to keep the ball on the ground: he has a career 61.5 GB percentage, which helps him somewhat offset his lack of Ks (6.07 K/9.)