With Mets Opening Day exactly 30 days away, it’s time for Rising Apple’s season previews. Our staff will be weighing in on various topics over the next few weeks as we tick off the final days to March 29.
For our first preview, we wanted to tackle the biggest question mark of the Mets 2018 season: the starting rotation. Who will be in it? Who will be left out? Who will get the nod from manager Mickey Callaway to make the Opening Day start against the Cardinals? These are our predictions.
JT Teran, Editor
Let’s get this out of the way quickly: Noah Syndergaard will make the start on Opening Day, and if he doesn’t there’s seriously something wrong going on. Over the past two seasons, Syndergaard has been the Mets’ ace and in 2018, that is still the case.
Yes, it’s true, he was injured last season and missed most of the year. Injuries happen though, and just because he went down early in 2017, doesn’t mean it should change how he’s looked at this year. Did we already forget about his insanely dominant year in 2016 and how he started the biggest game of the season that year? Come on, this shouldn’t even be a question.
The only other pitcher that could even be considered to make that first start is Jacob deGrom. He’s been a work horse for the Mets since his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2014. Last season was his worst year statistically, but thankfully he managed to stay healthy throughout most of it.
After deGrom though, it’s a complete toss-up.
I’ve already gone on the record as saying that Matt Harvey will be the National League Comeback Player of the Year, so it makes sense to believe that he’ll be slotting in right behind deGrom in the order.
Jason Vargas will hopefully also perform well and show Mets fans he has something to contribute, so I’ll put him at no. 4 with Steven Matz rounding out the rotation in the fifth spot. That will leave Zack Wheeler, and Seth Lugo in the bullpen, and Robert Gsellman hanging out in Las Vegas for most of the season.
If things shake up this way, I get the feeling the Mets are going to be in a good place this year.
Christina Cola, Editor
All anyone has to say about the Mets this offseason, is that they need this starting rotation to be healthy. And it a perfect world that lives inside of the mind of the Mets fan, that dream is a reality. So what does the ideal rotation look like through Opening Day and beyond?
There’s no doubt in my mind that Noah Syndergaard gets the Opening Day start. Some could argue that Jacob deGrom earned it a bit more by pitching through last season. But I don’t think being the “last man standing” should just automatically guarantee him the job. Thor can still hit triple digits on the radar gun without breaking a sweat. He’s exactly the type of guy you want on the mound to get an Opening Day crowd hyped for the season.
As for the rotation throughout the year, I say it goes as follows:
Unless Gsellman and Wheeler have spectacular springs, I just can’t really picture them in that line up. And if I had to pick one for that fifth spot, it would most likely be Gsellman. Wheeler and Vargas would then just pitch out of the bullpen.