Going into the offseason the New York Mets were in a clear need of starting pitching. Marcus Stroman just helped fill most of that hole by accepted his qualifying offer. They’re in great shape even if they don’t land Trevor Bauer.
The New York Mets were in desperate need of starting pitching help for 2021. With Marcus Stroman accepting his qualifying offer, he helped fill most of that hole. There are some intriguing names set to hit the market, but the top dogs were set to be Stroman and Trevor Bauer. Now that Stroman has accepted the qualifying offer, the Mets are in much better shape and do not have a tough decision to make between the two starters.
At first glance, Stroman and Bauer are pretty similar. They will both be 30 years old for the 2021 season and they have pretty similar career numbers. Stroman has a career 3.76 ERA in 849.1 innings, a 1.292 WHIP, 9 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, and 7.4 K/9. Bauer has put up a 3.90 ERA in 1,190 innings, a 1.265 WHIP, 7.9 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 3.4 BB/9, and 9.7 K/9.
For the most part, you know what you are getting with each pitcher, a guy who will pitch 30 starts a year, toss 180 innings, and post an ERA in the 3’s. They will get there a little differently as Bauer is more of a strikeout guy and Stroman tends to pitch to contact more, but the end result will be awfully similar.
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Both Stroman and Bauer are vocal guys on their social media as well. While this does not seem to impact their play on the field, it is still something to look at and consider.
Anybody who is relatively active on Twitter knows that both guys are interactive with fans on the sight. Now, this can be both a good and bad thing depending on the exchanges they chose to take part in as some may be looked at in a negative way. Both players have been caught up in these exchanges that have not looked great for them, but nothing serious enough to hurt them.
Getting back into the numbers and looking deeper into them, Stroman has been more consistent than Bauer in their careers.
In Stroman’s six seasons in the majors, he has had an ERA under 4.00 in 4 out of the 6 years. Bauer has pitched in nine seasons and has had an ERA under 4.00 in only 2 of the 9 years. In every single one of Stroman’s seasons, he has had a FIP under 4.00 while Bauer has only been below 4.00 in 4 of his 9 seasons. This is important considering FIP is calculated as something that pitchers have the most control over.
Looking at their tendencies in their careers, Stroman walks less and gives up fewer home runs. With the three true outcomes becoming higher than ever in recent years, and home runs being hit at a higher rate than ever with “juiced” balls, this can be a concern with Bauer. Over a 162 game average which equates to 202 innings, Bauer would give up 19 more walks and 5 more home runs than Stroman. While this does not seem like a lot, those 19 more base runners via the walk could be on base for those 5 more home runs, resulting in a lot more runs given up and games being blown open.
Both Stroman and Bauer have proven to come through in big games as well. They have both pitched in the postseason and have both had mixed results. I will give the edge to Stroman though because of the guts he showed in 2015. Stroman tore his ACL in March and was expected to miss the season, but ended up returning 6 months later in September to help the Toronto Blue Jays win the American League East division.
Stroman started 4 games in September when he returned from surgery posting a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings, earning the win in every game. Returning that soon from a major injury and having that much of a positive impact is amazing considering no player would be at full strength.
In the 2015 postseason, Stroman logged 13 innings in the ALDS to a 3.46 ERA and helped the Jays reach the ALCS. Stroman received the win in the one game he did pitch in the ALCS, pitching 6.1 innings and giving up 4 earned runs to the eventual World Series Champion Kansas City Royals (sorry for the reminder). To come back from ACL surgery in six months to help your team make the postseason and make a push in the postseason is impressive enough in itself, but to come back and put up the numbers Stroman did make it even all that much more impressive.
In addition to Stroman’s postseason success and putting the team first returning from injury so quickly, he also thrived on the big stage of the World Baseball Classic in 2017. He threw 15.1 innings to a 2.35 ERA, holding Puerto Rico hitless through the first 6 innings in the Championship game. Stroman’s contributions to team USA resulted in the MVP award for the tournament, and he was elected to the All-World Baseball Classic team. Stroman wants the spotlight and big games and has proven that he can come through in them when needed.
Although Bauer just posted his best season in his career and won the National League Cy Young Award as a result, and Stroman did not pitch at all due to injury and an eventual opt-out, Stroman still appears to be the better option. Although it is a small sample size, Stroman has proved he can pitch in New York. It did take him a few starts to settle in once being acquired, but he did finish the 2019 season strong.
Now that Stroman has officially accepted the qualifying offer, the Mets are not in as desperate need to add another top-end starter. Now adding Bauer would obviously help, but the Mets are not as pressured to make a huge move to the rotation since they got Stroman back. Adding both would without a doubt help the rotation immediately, but if the Mets were to only add Stroman between the two, they would still be in good shape.
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Do you think Stroman is the better option over Bauer for the Mets?