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New York Mets: Three early positive takeaways from the 2018 season

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Steven Matz has yet to reach his ceiling

Lefty Steven Matz struggled in 2017. His 6.08 ERA in 13 starts took away any confidence fans had in him becoming an ace.

This season has been different. Through his first 12 starts, Matz has delivered a much better 3.53 ERA. Although the record isn’t very noteworthy, this is a result of pitching on a team offering very little run-support.

Matz has not gotten back to his 2015 form. During that brief rookie run, the promising young lefty went 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in half a dozen starts for the Mets. He pitched pretty well in the postseason before New York fell to the Kansas City Royals.

In a year where the Mets traded Matt Harvey, haven’t gotten the most out of Zack Wheeler, and watch as Jason Vargas limps through the season, it’s nice to see Matz pitch well. He’s not Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard. He is, however, a very good number three.

Matz’s future is one worth paying attention to. Injuries have limited him since the promising start. Already 27-years-old, Matz enters the arbitration process next season for the first time.

By this point in his career, we should know what Matz can and cannot do. Unfortunately, he has made only 52 starts since his big league debut. Hopefully, he can stay healthy in 2018 and give us a better idea of how good he can pitch.

Perhaps most promising of all, if Matz proves he can be a solid number three, the Mets are in much better shape moving forward. He could help delay any franchise tear down. Knowing they have three very capable starters in the rotation could save the Mets from selling big and instead put them in buyer’s mode this offseason.

Matz has yet to reach his ceiling. In 2018, he has a chance to burst through it. Let’s hope he does and the Metropolitans reap the rewards.

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