Mets: Setting some expectations for rookie pitcher David Peterson

After an impressive debut last week for the New York Mets, David Peterson looks to have a bright outlook as a member of the rotation going forward.

After Marcus Stroman suffered a calf injury two days before Opening Day, a spot opened up in the New York Mets starting rotation, and to fill the fifth spot in the rotation, the left-hander David Peterson answered the call.

New York’s first-round pick in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft, Peterson was one of the Mets’ top-ranked prospects. Going into the 2020 season, his name had been floated as a potential call up for later in the year.

However, with the delayed start of the season and injuries to two members of the Mets rotation in Noah Syndergaard and Stroman, the Mets’ hand was forced and they called up a pitcher with a world of potential, but one who had only played as high as the Double-A level.

Peterson took the mound for the Mets visiting in Fenway facing off against the Red Sox, and despite being a wild card, the rookie southpaw definitely delivered. Against a lineup full of All-Stars, Peterson held the Sox to 2 runs on 7 hits over 5.2 innings and notched the win in his big league debut.

After the strong first start and with Stroman out indefinitely, Peterson looks to remain a fixture in the rotation going forward, but the question is, what can we realistically expect from David and what is his ceiling?

Peterson mainly relies on 3 pitches: a Sinker, a Slider, and a Changeup, with his pitches topping out in the mid-low 90s. Throughout his minor league career, he averaged about a strikeout per inning, but also allowed a fair amount of walks and through his minor league career, did not go deep into games.

In 2019, which Peterson spent playing with Double-A Binghamton, Peterson started 24 games and pitched a total of 116.0 innings, averaging out just under 5 innings per start. Through his 24 starts, he only made it through 6 innings 5 times, while failing to register less than 5 innings on 8 occasions.

Peterson did show promise in Spring Training in 2020 before it was cut short, pitching in 6 innings to the tune of a 1.50 ERA. While that isn’t a massive sample size, it does show he was effective against higher level players than he faced in Triple-A, and he must have performed well enough for the team to believe him to be their best option in the rotation, so there is that.

As stated, calling up Peterson this early was a wild card for the Mets, but given their injury situation and the shortened season, risks need to be taken and given his potential as a prospect and performance in his first career start, there is plenty of room to be optimistic.

Throughout all levels Peterson has played at, from college at Oregon to Binghamton and now the Big Apple, he has averaged a 3.54 ERA over 96 starts, averaging over 5 innings per start for the course of his career.

Since Peterson has posted consistent numbers at every level he has played in, realistically, in his rookie season, we can both hope for and expect him to follow this trend. While his numbers may be a bit skewed as he made the leap from Double-A to the MLB, I expect him to average about 5 innings per start and his ERA sit in the high 3.00 to low 4.00 range.

Next: Early Mets starting pitcher trade targets

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While this may not be the same caliber performances as we expect from Jacob deGrom, these would be excellent numbers from a rookie starter and would be an excellent base to build off of with Peterson being part of the team for years to come.