New York Mets: Should Seth Lugo Be A Utility Pitcher?

The New York Mets have seemingly struck gold with Seth Lugo, as he’s become one of the premier relievers in all of baseball. Over the last two seasons, Lugo has pitched 181.1 innings in the last two seasons to the tune of a 2.68 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 3.38 xFIP, 3.10 SIERA, and a 3.8 fWAR.

The starter converted to reliever has expressed interest in starting again, and with Noah Syndergaard out, should the Mets consider trying to make Seth Lugo a utility arm, getting him to both start some games, and come out of the bullpen. With a 60 game season, Lugo could pitch the Mets out of trouble to close crucial games out, or get the Mets 4 solid innings to start a game and hand it to guys like Robert Gsellman and Justin Wilson for the 5-7 innings.

Is Lugo the Mets Best Pitcher Not Named deGrom?

If you think about the Mets without Syndergaard, who else is as valuable and pitches to as high of a volume out of the bullpen as Lugo? When you look at peripherals and even result-based metrics, you can’t say that he’s not their second best pitcher, and out of the bullpen he’s their best bet, as while yes Betances is better, being able to use Lugo as much as the Mets have been able to does matter.

The Mets need their pitching to hold up as their bullpen’s potential with a better Diaz and a healthy Betances. Their bullpen being as good as expected with their talent gives them a leg up over their division, but what about a super pitcher?

Having Something The Other Don’t

The NL East contenders do not have the type of pitcher Lugo is, and so by using him to his full potential, you create a sort of super pitcher role that not only can other teams in their division not fully prepare against, but cannot use against the Mets, as none of them have a great reliever with that much versatility, and so they will often struggle more than the Mets in terms of pitching

The Mets have 60 games to take every little advantage they’ve got with a loaded up roster and win the NL East, and if they use Lugo as a utility arm, they’re going to enjoy bypassing the wild card and going straight to the NLDS.

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: How the New Season Plan Affects the Mets

Monday marks the first day the MLB and the Players Association will meet to discuss plans to restart the 2020 season. The meeting is the only good news about it. There is no love lost between both sides, and there is no guarantee they agree on anything.

Hopefully, the MLB proposes their plan on Tuesday after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to a representative from each team on Monday. New details from the plan lead with a schedule of around 80 games with the season starting in early July. Teams will play their division rivals and the other teams in their region to limit travel.

Ideally, teams will play in their home ballparks, which helps cut down travel. As reported by us last week, the designated hitter will be universal throughout baseball. The newest information comes in an extended postseason, which includes seven teams from each league.

During this week’s meetings, the biggest dealbreaker comes in the form of pay cuts and health safety for all MLB personnel. In March, the union was against any idea of reducing salaries.

How Does This Affect the Mets?

An 80-games season should push the New York Mets to make the most out of the season. Seth Lugo draws even more consideration to become a starter. Using the projections made earlier this week, he will make no more than 16 starts and using his career averages as a starter, Lugo will throw around 88 innings. Eight more than he pitched as a reliever in 2019, but less than his highest amount.

An 80 game season forces the Mets to make tough decisions with their depth. The depth the Mets have is always a good problem to have, but balancing it out is tricky. Dominic Smith, Jed Lowrie, and Yoenis Cespedes are all projected to come off the bench. If healthy, one will slide into the DH role, but all three have proven to be good bats when healthy.

Thanks to versatile players like Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis, and most of their outfielders, Manager Luis Rojas can mix and match. Despite getting two weeks to get back into playing shape, most players will need the first couple weeks of the regular season to find their groove as well.

The short season increases the urgency to win quickly. Even with an extended playoff format, no team wants to play in a one-game playoff to decide their fate. The Mets also draw the most competitive division in baseball as the Pirates and Orioles seem like the only teams who are lighter competition.

The depth the Mets have is as good as any in baseball, but their unproven manager has to show he knows how to slide each piece into the perfect place. As we saw with Mickey Callaway, a good manager is a difference between a failed season and a World Series victory.

New York Mets: Is the Starting Rotation Actually Set?

Each day inches closer to the hope of baseball returning, and the New York Mets will have some crucial decision to make with their roster. Seth Lugo is a versatile weapon in the pitching staff and could sneak his way back into the starting rotation during this shortened season.

The original thought when Noah Syndergaard had to get Tommy John Surgery was Michael Wacha sliding in to take his place. As the season gets shorter and shorter, the idea of Seth Lugo moving into the rotation should have weight.

Reasons to Start Lugo

If Syndergaard were healthy, the urgency would not be as high. The Mets need to replace his production, and there is no guarantee Steven Matz, Rick Porcello, or Wacha could do the same. Lugo has a 4.06 ERA during his career as a starter, compared to 2.52 in the bullpen. His K/9 is three better as a reliever. A move to the rotation moves him from a dominant reliever to a solid starter.

There are concerns about Lugo’s workload as a reliever, which limited his usage early in the season. The extended period on the sidelines has allowed his injured elbow to heal. If the season is 100 games and everything works as planned, Lugo makes no more than 20 starts. His average 5.5 innings per start would equal 110 innings. It would be the most he has thrown in a season, but there are ways to limit the number.

The shortened season could include a roster expansion from 26 to 30. The Mets could implement a six-man rotation that includes Lugo in the mix. In that situation, he could pitch out of the bullpen late in the season as well. It would keep him around the 100 inning mark Lugo reached in 2017 and 2018.

Lugo could also remain in the rotation until the Mets acquire a starter. He spends half the season starting and the rest in the bullpen. It becomes another way for the Mets to get the most out of him.

There are plenty of avenues for the Mets to go with Lugo. Teams throughout baseball do not have weapons like these, and the Mets should make the most out of a shortened season.

The Wonder of the 2016 New York Mets

The 2016 New York Mets had a unique season in the franchise’s history. After falling short in the previous year’s World Series, the Mets retooled their middle infield and bullpen with an expectation to return in 2016. Though falling short to Madison Bumgarner and the Giants, there is always wonder of what would have happened if the Mets made the NLDS.

Injuries were the theme of the 2016 Mets. Zack Wheeler was out for the entire season while recovering from Tommy John Surgery. Jacob deGrom, Josh Edgin, Hansel Robles started their seasons on the Injured List. Throughout the year, David Wright, Lucas Duda, Yoenis Cespedes, and the list goes on of other Mets who spent extended periods on the IL. To make matters worse, Michael Conforto and Matt Harvey performed nowhere near expectations. The most used lineup only made it to the field nine times all season.

Late But Key Pickups

Next ma up was the motto for these Mets. Jose Reyes, James Loney, and Seth Lugo were just a few essential parts that helped guide the Mets in the second half. On August 24, the Mets dropped to 63-63 on the season and one the outside looking in of the wild card race. It was on a night where Jacob deGrom was dreadful, and it was his second to last start before injuries ruined his season.

September was a crazy ride for the Mets. Their starting pitching at the beginning of the season was Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Bartolo Colon. By September, it was Syndergaard, Colon, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, and the combination of Rafael Montero and Gabriel Ynoa.

This was way before Lugo and Gsellman were anywhere near household names. Lugo had a 6.50 ERA when he came up, and Gsellman started the year in double-A. Both pitched to a 2.67 and 2.42 ERA respectively and solidified the Mets rotation out of nowhere. Montero and Ynoa were no help to the rotation, but the Mets managed to go 18-10 over September/October to sneak into the postseason.

The efforts of Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed, Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles, and Fernando Salas also go overlooked in giving the Mets a quality bullpen, especially when the short least the rookies in the rotation received. The health of Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera allowed the Mets to keep starters on the field despite losing others to injuries.

What the Playoffs Could Have Looked Like

If the Mets happened to get past Bumgarner things would have gotten very interesting from there. They would have faced a Cubs team which the Mets went 5-2 against and swept in the 2015 postseason. After Syndergaard threw a gem in the wild card game, it left the Mets with a rotation no one saw coming. 43-year old Bartolo Colon would have become the oldest pitcher ever to start game one of the postseason. Lugo or Gsellman would start game 2/4 with Syndergaard starting game 3. They would have faced the combination of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Kyle Hendricks.

The lineup would also be interesting with Granderson, Cespedes, and Cabrera as the regulars. The supporting cast would be the likes of T.J. Rivera, (slumping) Jay Bruce, James Loney, and Jose Reyes, who all were nowhere near the Opening Day roster. Rivera was the only one in Spring Training with the Mets. Rene Rivera and Travis d’Arnaud would be managing the catching duties.

Could They Beat the Cubs?

They lack of quality pitching behind Bumgarner is what did the Giants in. During a one-game playoff, you can ride his greatness to a win, but it was impossible to do to a team as strong as the cubs. That said, there is no reason to think the Mets could not have broken the Cubs hearts again and extended the curse for another year. Outside of Aroldis Chapman, the Cubs bullpen did not offer anything better than what the Mets had.

The Dodgers were very similar to what they beat in 2015, and their rotation was worse without Greinke. The biggest question would have been how the Mets could get by with the unproven Lugo and Gsellman. The games Colon and Syndergaard pitched would become must-win games just based on the uncertainty of the other half of the rotation.

Beat the Tribe?

Topping the Indians would have been a much tougher feat due to the entire roster matching up better than the Mets. Though like the 2019 World Series, the Astros seemed like the sure bet, but anything happens when you get to the World Series. Things have not been quite the same for the Mets since 2016. The Mets could have seriously changed the landscape of baseball should they have managed even one run off Bumgarner.

New York Mets: Lugo, Lockett Impress in Tie Against Marlins

The New York Mets had a change of pace in their Monday meeting with the Miami Marlins. Walker Lockett made a start for the Mets, and Seth Lugo saw game action for the first time in the Spring. Unfortunately, they may have lost Michael Conforto the same day they regain Lugo.

Conforto did not injure himself in Monday’s game. The injury occurred a couple of days ago while making a diving catch a couple of games ago. Conforto tried to battle through it but is flying to New York to get the injury examined more in-depth.

Pitching Shines

Walker Lockett started the game with three impressive innings. He allowed three hits and struck out two as he tries to prove he can be a valuable member of the Mets starting pitching depth. Also joining him was Corey Oswalt, who only allowed one run over four innings with five strikeouts.

Seth Lugo picked up right where he left off in 2019. He struck out one in a very easy 1-2-3 inning. Lugo will not need too many innings to get himself right for Opening Day. Tyler Bashlor was the other Mets reliever to throw. He bounced back from his poor outing to pitch a scoreless ninth inning.

Quiet Offense

Spring Training’s worst scoring offense showed up once again to only muster five hits and one run on the day. Two of the hits were triples from Jake Marisnick and Amed Rosario, who are slowly working their ways out of slumps. Eduardo Nunez provided the lone run on a ground out after Marisnick’s triple. Nunez also had a hit on the day to move his average to .320 as he tries to earn himself a roster spot.

Rick Porcello makes a start on Tuesday as the Mets face the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach at 1:05 p.m.

Seth Lugo Isn’t Keen on Mets’ “Opener” Strategy

The New York Mets are toying with using an “opener” in lieu of a fifth starter early on this season as they sort out their pitching staff. We know Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman are locked in as starters with Steven Matz, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha vying for he fourth and possible fifth spots.

It will likely be either Porcello or Matz with Wacha and the loser of that battle heading to the bullpen. Either one could end up being an “opener”, but the Mets seem to be more content with a pitcher who issued to pitching just an inning or two, meaning Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman might be better choices for sure duty.

Lugo, who along with Gsellman was once a starter, is not in favor of the plan.

“I don’t think an opener belongs in baseball,” Lugo said Thursday. “Starters are starters. I’m old-school, so I like the game the way it’s meant to be played.”

Lugo pitched well out of the bullpen in 2019 and even became the team’s de facto closer. His real desire is to start, like he did earlier inches career.

From Anthony DiComo: “Teams such as the Rays and Yankees have found success using openers to dictate matchups early in games, to prevent opposing teams from stacking their lineups with platoon hitters, or to help starters who tend not to last more than five or six innings anyway. But in Lugo’s estimation, using a strong reliever early means wasting that pitcher if the game becomes lopsided in the middle innings.”

The Mets haven’t formally announced their plans, but if Lugo was to be asked to open, how would he react?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll let you know if that happens.”

New York Mets’ relievers Dellin Betances and Seth Lugo are edging closer

The New York Mets continue to round into form with less than a month away from the start of the regular season. The battles for rotation spots and places in the bullpen and the bench are more intense than ever, and there is a highly competitive setting in training camp and spring games.

Two relievers that, if healthy, will have theis spots safe in the roster are Seth Lugo and Dellin Betances. The former was one of the National League’s best relievers last season – to be fair, he has been elite for several years – and the latter is eager to show he is healthy and can be an option from day one after tearing his Achilles in September.

The New York Mets haven’t yet offered a timetable to return when it comes to the pair of stellar hurlers. Lugo fractured his left pinkie toe in a hotel accident a couple of weeks ago. That incident resulted in several days lost, but he has been throwing from a mound for a while and could return any day now. His status for opening day isn’t in danger, at least not yet.

The Mets are taking it easy with both relievers

The idea is for Lugo to appear in Grapefruit League games this week, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

He threw a round of live batting practice on Sunday. Rehabbing slugger Yoenis Cespedes belted two home runs off him.

“The second one where he fell down, he just got it in the wind. The first one, that was a good swing, but I wouldn’t pitch him like that in a real game, so I knew what I was getting into,” Lugo said.

Betances, meanwhile, threw his own round of live batting practice on Friday. The Mets are taking baby steps with him given the nature of his injury.

However, the expectation is that Betances is ready and available for opening day. The tear he suffered was partial, which helped the healing process quite a bit. He was one of the most dominant relievers in all baseball since 2014, but only threw an inning last season because of a myriad of ailments.

New York Mets: Seth Lugo returns to the mound five days after fracturing his pinkie toe

Just five days after fracturing his left pinkie to in a hotel room incident, New York Mets reliever Seth Lugo is back to throwing off a mound. That means he can return to his normal routine and can prepare for the season with no restrictions.

The week didn’t start on the right foot, if you will, for the star reliever. He banged his pinkie with an ottoman and tests revealed a small fracture. The Mets’ righty only missed a couple of days, though: he was throwing long toss on Friday and today, he returned to the mound.

Lugo threw a successful bullpen session at the New York Mets’ camp this morning. The Monday incident is now officially in the rearview mirror.

As far as running goes, the injury may limit Lugo somewhat for a few days, maybe a couple of weeks. However, he should be more than ready for Opening Day.

The Mets have a formidable bullpen

The Mets are expected to let Edwin Diaz regain his closer role after his nightmarish 2019 season. However, Lugo will be, once again, the most important reliever in the roster.

He will return to setup duties and form a very good group of relievers. The Mets currently have Diaz, Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Brad Brach, free agent signing Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson, and whoever loses the battle for a rotation spot between Steven Matz, Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello.

Lugo is a career 3.27 ERA pitcher in 346.2 innings, with a 8.75 K/9 and a 2.34 BB/9. Last season was among the finest of his major league tenure with the Mets: his ERA was 2.70 (he had the same FIP) he struck out 11.70 batters per each nine innings and handed out 1.80 BB/9.

A healthy Seth Lugo will make sure that the New York Mets have a competitive and deep bullpen to navigate through the tough NL East.

New York Mets: Seth Lugo keeps progressing and is nearing mound work

A couple of days after fracturing his left pinkie toe, New York Mets’ star reliever Seth Lugo is progressing nicely.

While live batting practice sessions are getting very competitive on the Mets’ camp, Lugo is taking things slow after the unfortunate incident.

He threw off flat ground on Thursday in spite of his ailing toe. That goes to show that the injury is of the minor variety, and is a very good sign that he won’t miss any time other than his routine being delayed a couple of days.

In fact, both the pitcher and the team insist that the issue is not major. But, just in case, he will refrain from throwing off a mound for at least one more day, according to MLB beat writer Anthony DiComo.

“It doesn’t really bother him much to throw,” manager Luis Rojas said to DiComo. “There are no big concerns on what he’s doing on a daily basis right now. [He’s] just not off the mound yet.”

The Mets’ star reliever is getting out of the woods

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, Lugo sounded “confident this morning that he will return to throwing from a mound this weekend. Lugo said much of the discomfort has subsided from his fractured left pinkie toe.”

The Mets are in the final preparations before spring training games begin. The plan was to play a simulated game late Friday morning in what it is the final day of practice prior to the real action.

Rojas noted that pitchers will not actually throw in the game, but the position players would use the format to work on hitting off pitching machines and other aspects of the game, such as defense, baserunning and coaching signs. Per Rojas, the game would be “competitive.”

“It will be kind of like getting into a game before we start playing games on Saturday,” the New York Mets’ skipper said, “so the guys get their feet wet.”