3. New York Mets
Projected Opening Day Rotation:
Well, the five aces dream rotation didn’t go exactly as planned. With a watered-down version of Matt Harvey shipped off to Cincinnati and another rollercoaster season filled with injury for Steven Matz, there was much to be desired when it came to overall rotation success. There were, however, some very obvious bright spots for the Amazins.
First and foremost, Jacob deGrom put together one of the single-most dominant pitching performances in the history of Major League Baseball. The man gave up 4 runs once this season, 6 earned runs total in July, then again in August! deGrom became the first pitcher in MLB history to start 20 or more games, record an ERA of 1.70 or below, and record 10 or fewer wins.
28-year-old Zack Wheeler has been hyped as a top prospect since entering the draft and in 2018, we saw exactly why. Wheeler possessed the single lowest ERA (1.68) in the majors after the all-star break. He was finally able to cut down on walks and pitch deeper into games without having to worry too much about pitch count. Wheeler was a mix of power and finesse with his stuff this year.
Someone who’s ceiling is too high to even see is flamethrower Noah Syndergaard. He is only 26 years old. Although injuries were once again a concern, he was still very dominant. Thor posted a 3.03 ERA in 154.1 innings, which I should mention was considered a down year for him. With you pair a 99 MPH sinker with a sweeping slider and a “hook from hell”, Syndergaard can be as good as any pitcher in the majors. He is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to Randy Johnson.
While some may argue the placement on the list, the Mets are ranked 3rd largely on the strength of their 1-2-3 punch at the top. The trio compiled a combined 2.88 ERA in 2018 while racking up a whopping 603 strikeouts. Throw a healthy Steven Matz into the mix and the Mets could have the number one spot when it is all said and done.
Unfortunately, after Matz, the depth starts to thin with trainwreck Jason Vargas penciled in as the 5th starter. Despite his $6 million salary in 2018, Vargas pitched to a WAR or -0.3 in 2018 with only 4 quality starts. Corey Oswalt and Drew Gagnon seem far from major league ready and with seemingly low ceilings, don’t provide much insurance in the back of the rotation.
If the Mets make another splash and sign a guy like Gio González, expect this rotation to keep the Mets in every game.
It should be noted that Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo will likely find a niche in the bullpen this season as they make the Mets relief pitching significantly better. Rule 5 selection Kyle Dowdy will also compete for the 5th spot in the rotation.