Mets: Seth Lugo is making a case for a spot in the rotation next season

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 30: Seth Lugo #67 of the New York Mets pitches during the third inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 30, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The day honoring Jackie Robinson, traditionally held on April 15, was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 30: Seth Lugo #67 of the New York Mets pitches during the third inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 30, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The day honoring Jackie Robinson, traditionally held on April 15, was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Seth Lugo’s performance over the final month of the season could provide him an opportunity to be a member of the New York Mets starting rotation in 2021.

One of the many questions facing the New York Mets heading into the offseason is who will be occupying the two open rotation spots that are not filled by Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and David Peterson. One emerging option is former starter turned reliever turned starter Seth Lugo. Lugo is surely making himself a case to fill one of those spots from within after being inserted into the starting rotation back on August 25th.

Lugo has been slowly getting stretched out over his first three starts with the Mets monitoring his pitch count. While Lugo undoubtedly plays a valuable part in the Mets bullpen, he may prove to be a more valuable commodity for the Mets in the starting rotation moving forward.

A couple of things falling into place could make this decision much easier for the Mets’ front office, which includes Lugo’s overall performance as a starter. But one of the glaring main factors playing into this decision includes closer Edwin Diaz and his performance.

If Edwin Diaz stuff continues to look electric for the remainder of the season and he can somehow begin nailing down save opportunities as we all have long expected him to, there may no longer be a need for Lugo in the back end of the bullpen. It seems the Mets also thought ahead and traded for Baltimore Orioles reliever Miguel Castro to vulture some of those late-inning opportunities that Lugo would’ve been needed in.

This isn’t Lugo’s first rodeo as a starting pitcher either as he has made 31 career major league starts coming into this season, and he currently holds a career ERA of 3.90 as a starter. Lugo also made an impression as a starting pitcher during the 2017 World Baseball Classic as a starting pitcher for Puerto Rico and helped guide them to a silver medal.

Lugo already has a starter’s repertoire with a really good five-pitch mix, that includes one of the best curveballs in baseball with the amount of spin it produces. It also seems batters are having a more difficult time making contact off of Lugo, as hitter’s total contact percentage against the Quarter-Rican has significantly declined every season since making his debut back in 2016.

In Lugo’s first 11.2 innings as a starting pitcher this season, the 30-year old right-hander has allowed only two earned runs to go along with a sterling 20 strikeouts. Lugo has proven to Mets brass this season that his stuff plays just as well as a starting pitcher as it does coming out of the bullpen. The key for the rest of the season will be having Lugo pitch deeper into games and continue to show dominance over his final three or four starts.

The Mets have control of Lugo for two more seasons as he is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the 2022 season. They could easily have a bargain of a starting pitcher in their starting rotation for the next two years if they choose to move in that direction. It’s also no secret that Seth Lugo has always been vocal about his desire to be a starting pitcher for the Mets.

Next. Robert Gsellman back to the bullpen is the right move

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I firmly believe that Lugo deserves a shot to prove his worth in the rotation going into next season. He seems to be improving every season since arriving in the league, and there is nothing better than having a hungry player on your roster who is wanting to prove his value to the team. If his success from the bullpen to the starting rotation continues to translate over the next month, he will give the Mets something to heavily consider for 2021.