This past season was the first where the majority of the Mets’ young starting pitchers were on the major league staff together. Other than Zack Wheeler, the Mets ended the season with a pitching staff of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. The question now, is who will be the ace in 2016?
Wheeler is expected to be out until around July 1 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. At that point, the Mets will have to decided whether to go to a six-man rotation or push Bartolo Colon to the bullpen. Wheeler will be brought back carefully, but it will be exciting to have the full rotation of stud pitchers. This is of course barring an unexpected injury.
Obviously, Wheeler is not on the top of the list of potential aces this season due to the fact that he won’t arrive until midseason. Does Harvey return to his pre-surgery self? Does deGrom continue to be the ace of the staff? Does Syndergaard explode on the scene again or take a step back? Can Matz stay healthy and pitch deeper into games? Baseball is a long season full of unexpected surprises, especially when it comes to pitchers and their arms.
Harvey was a question mark entering 2015 after missing all of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery, but proved to be consistent. After a rookie campaign like his, he had a tough act to follow. Harvey had a handful of rough starts in his first full season, but was largely dominant.
In 2016, Harvey is entering the season with no limitations. He has proven his health to the world and more importantly to himself. Harvey will have a chip on his shoulder after the bitter ending to the World Series. In addition, Harvey’s ego was tested in 2015 when most felt the ace of the staff was deGrom or even rookie sensation Noah Syndergaard. This season, Harvey will be looking to regain that position on the staff. And he’ll succeed.
2016 will truly be the rise of the Dark Knight. Harvey will come back with a clear mind, return to his Cy Young form and regain the top spot in the rotation.