Years ago, the New York Mets decided to build a franchise around their starting pitchers. Things didn’t work out, but they shouldn’t regret it either.
The recent run of success for the New York Mets was made possible by the power of the starting pitching staff. The Mets built around the starters, which helped get them as far as the World Series in 2015.
Three years later, we’re witnessing fewer teams build around pitching. Franchises like the Houston Astros are a rare commodity. They, however, have a starting lineup to help balance things out even when the starters have an off-day. What they’re doing is a lot different from the team in Flushing.
The Mets never had the same luxury as the Astros. While their bats have helped them at times during the last few seasons, it has always been an organization focused on winning via the mound.
When it became clear that the Mets were focusing on pitching, doing so was accepted. The San Francisco Giants won three championships in five years on the backs of their pitchers. The Mets were aiming to do the same.
Seeing how it all worked out, some may feel a sense of regret. Matt Harvey isn’t even with the team anymore after fizzling out rather quickly. Only Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are studs while Zack Wheeler clings to life and Steven Matz hopes to prove his doubters wrong.
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The adage “pitching wins championships” is often true. The added note many forget with this is how important it is to have a good crop of position plans to back up those pitchers. Without runs crossing the plate, it’s impossible to win.
This current season is the perfect example as to why building around five men does not work. When 60% of them struggle, you’re guaranteeing plenty of losses.
This philosophy is changing. Even a team like the Giants sees it.
Pitching still does win championships. It’s just not starting pitching that does it alone. Teams need a capable bullpen to win those late innings. Right now, they don’t have it. Imagine that if they did we might see them higher up in the standings.
Starting pitchers are losing value while relievers are becoming more important than ever before. It has been a slow changing of the guard. In 2018, the shift looks nearly complete.
The team does appear to be on the correct path. They haven’t signed any starting pitchers to a horrendous contract. Jason Vargas‘ deal is only a poor one because he has pitched so badly. Otherwise, it’s a nice market value.
Things haven’t worked out favorably for this team. As far as trying to win it all behind their starters, they shouldn’t feel a single ounce of regret.
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How do you think the Mets should build their roster?