New York Mets have a true “Hyflex Pitcher” with Seth Lugo
By Dalton Allison
New York Mets pitcher Seth Lugo is a special type of player, capable of taking the mound in a variety of situations.
Where I go to school, Seton Hall University, introduced a new set of rules regarding learning in the world of COVID-19. They have adopted a system of learning dubbed “HyFlex Learning” in which students have the option to attend classes in person or online. Stealing the term from my university, New York Mets pitcher Seth Lugo is certainly a pitcher that should be referred to as Hyflex.
Lugo is one of those pitchers who is amphibious in the fact that he can both trot out to the mound as a starter for the Mets but also is comfortable taking the mound from the bullpen as a reliever. Throughout his career though, and even up to last season where he was the best reliever on the team by leaps and bounds, he has expressed his desire to be a starter.
“I do want to start, but pitching in relief’s fun. Getting a save, finishing a game; that’s a lot of fun, too. So that’s kind of the way I’ve approached the last couple of years is, ‘Yeah, starting’s my No. 1 goal. But pitching in relief’s fun, too. So as long as I’m on the team, that makes me happy” he said in an SNY article after his last appearance in the 2019 season.
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Regardless of what capacity Lugo will be appearing for the team in, he is going to be an absolutely essential part of the 2020 season. This season, more than ever, depth will be the key determining factor of the team that wins the World Series.
On top of the injuries that are bound to happen due to the sprint of the season, there will be occurrences of players contracting COVID-19. You’d be ignorant to think there wouldn’t.
Due to this fragility factor with the players, the Mets are in a much better place than a lot of other teams. The signings of players such as Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha should be celebrated because it has given the team more depth at a paramount time for it, and a definitive starting five following the Noah Syndergaard Tommy John surgery news.
Should health issues ravage the rotation however, the Mets can easily pluck Lugo from the bullpen and place him right in. Of course, his career numbers between the two roles are starkly different. Lugo holds a higher ERA as a reliever (2.52) than as a starter (4.06), with nearly the same number of opponent at-bats in each role.
The fact of the matter is that he is an option that is already in-house. He is expected to be pivotal in the bullpen this year, bridging the gap between the starter and the late-inning guys like Dellin Betances and Edwin Diaz.
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What makes him so pivotal is that he has pitched in every role for the Mets. Be it a starter where he has recorded 13 wins, a reliever where he has put up a WHIP of .953, or even as a closer where he recorded six saves last season for the Mets, Lugo will be crucial to the success of the 2020 Mets.