The New York Mets need to be right about Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha if they have any chance to compete in 2020.
Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha joined the New York Mets in the same week over the winter which seemed to catch many of us off-guard. It made sense for the club to add one starting pitcher to replace Zack Wheeler. By adding two, we figured they had something up their sleeve.
That “something” ended up being an insurance policy. As luck would have it, they needed every starter they had in their arsenal. Noah Syndergaard’s Tommy John Surgery several months ago made sure he wouldn’t throw a baseball until at least 2021 thus making Porcello and Wacha vitally important to the Mets.
For the first time in a while, the Mets starting rotation isn’t viewed as the greatest strength of the team. At least this is how I feel about it. Unlike past seasons where they were hype about a solid six, fantastic five, flame-throwing four, or even thermonuclear three (you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find the perfect “th” word for this situation) we haven’t heard much about the five men expected to take the mound in the first inning every day.
There’s no question Jacob deGrom is still an ace and Marcus Stroman should give the team a nice number two option once he does return from the IL. We’ve seen enough of Steven Matz to know he’ll occasionally blow up but can also have more successful stretches.
Then we have Porcello and Wacha. Each is coming off of a down year. Hoping to get more out of them, Brodie Van Wagenen inked them to a one-year contract. If he’s wrong about them, the Mets are in real big trouble.
Porcello went 14-12 last year with a far more gut-wrenching 5.52 ERA. I don’t care if he pitched half his games at Fenway Park. That ERA is scary.
Of course, Porcello hasn’t always been so prone to giving up runs. The lifetime AL pitcher has had three seasons with an ERA below 4.00 including a Cy Young campaign in 2016 when it was at a career-best 3.15.
Porcello has a lifetime 4.36 ERA. For the sake of moving to the NL East, we can probably lower it a little but not a whole lot. He’s also older and will have to deal with DH’s this year anyway—often a cause of more runs getting scored in the AL.
Wacha owns a career 3.91 ERA with fewer extremes in his career. The former lifelong St. Louis Cardinals pitcher is coming off his own down year, one resulting in a 6-7 record and 4.76 ERA. It’s not nearly as bad as Porcello but Wacha comes with the injury risk. This is something Porcello’s teams have never had to worry about with him.
The ceiling and the floor for these two in 2020 appear to be extended. Will we get the version of Porcello that won a Cy Young with the Boston Red Sox or the one who let runs galore across the plate?
What about Wacha? Is he closer to what he was in his early days with the Cardinals or is an injury unavoidable with him with poor results to match?
The Mets cannot be wrong about choosing these two to fill out their rotation. I know they didn’t expect to have them both in there at the start of the year. Only because they’re without Syndergaard have they both piled into the starting five without any competition.
These two new Mets will matter a lot in 2020 and will need to make adjustments in handling the whacky 2020 schedule. If they were the wrong choices, there’s little time to correct the mistake. The Mets will be eliminated early and we can then only hope the club is able to flip them for something valuable before the return of the August 31 trade deadline.
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On the other hand, if BVW was right about them, get ready for the best most-well-rounded Mets teams from game one.