Spring Training is a time to see the progress players have made during the offseason. For the Mets, it is an opportunity to see what will happen with their rotation. Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz are all looking to go above and beyond to have a fantastic 2017. Whether its by coming back from injury or just getting stronger, this is a big year for the pitching staff of the Mets.
With the amount of talent that will be on the hill for the team this season, there’s one question to be asked: Do the Mets have the best rotation in baseball?
To start things off, they have one of the youngest rotations in the league, all homegrown talent. They did trade for Syndergaard, but we’ll include him in here. If you were to say that they have one of the best rotations it wouldn’t be far off either. They have to compete with a plethora of teams with studs on their rosters. Here are a few examples:
Indians – Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar
Red Sox- Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello
Cubs – Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey
Giants – Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore
That’s not even counting Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Masahiro Tanaka, etc. Its hard to argue though that the Mets have some of the best young guns out there. In his ESPN Insider piece, Buster Olney ranked the top three rotations in baseball. The Mets were in that third spot. The “Four Horsemen” as they are being called have a unity not quite seen before. Noah Syndergaard spoke to various media outlets during the Mets’ annual Kids Holiday Party this past December. Discussing the members of the rotation, “Thor” stated:
“Their ability is outstanding. The fact that we’re all kind of like a tight-knit brotherhood within ourselves, we’re always rooting for one another. We’ve got a really good camaraderie.”
One of the best qualities Mets players have is that brotherhood feeling. It does come in handy, especially in times of trouble.
The main thing holding the team back from having the honor of the best rotation is health. The entire staff has gone through some sort of injury over the years. Despite a comeback year in 2015, Harvey hasn’t quite been the same since having Tommy John surgery. DeGrom spent his 2016 on the DL due to an oblique injury and an ulnar nerve in his right elbow. Matz had surgery due to a massive bone spur in this elbow. Syndergaard also had trouble with his arm, but appears to be healthy now. Already able to throw a 99-100 MPH fastball, the Opening Day starter for the team says he wants to throw harder.
The wild card in all of this is the fifth man in the rotation. Since Bartolo Colon signed with the Braves (holding back tears as I wrote that), the Mets lost a durable member of the team. Its hard to discuss Zach Wheeler’s potential this season after returning from Tommy John surgery. He hasn’t proven himself / played in many games to truly be judged. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have became the two leading candidates for the fifth spot to start the season. The two bright spots on the team last season combined for a 9-4 record as they helped the Mets make the playoffs. Both of those two pitchers are valued assets (useful for any team) that can help legitimize the rotation.
2017 is a big year for the Mets, especially the rotation. Its a chance to prove they truly are the best. The possibilities are endless as long as they are healthy and consistent. We could see a pitching revolution or a huge meltdown take place right in front of our eyes. The test has begun, lets see if the pitchers for the Mets ace it.
Opening Day is around the corner. Will this rotation prove to be the best in baseball? It should be one wild ride as we find out together.