I honestly don’t know what to expect from Steven Matz in 2021. He was the pitcher I was most excited to see in 2020 (after Jacob deGrom of course) after his very solid second half in 2019. Due to the Stroman and Syndergaard injuries, Matz was elevated to the number two starter and was a disaster.
In the second half of 2019, Matz made 14 starts and had a 3.52 ERA in 79.1 innings pitched. Those are very solid numbers for Matz. The most encouraging thing for me was that he made 30 starts for the second year in a row. Matz like Syndergaard has struggled with injuries so it was encouraging to see him last a full season for two straight years. But then 2020 hit.
Matz finished the 2020 season going 0-5 with a 9.68 ERA in nine appearances, six of which were starts. In 30.2 innings pitched Matz somehow allowed 52 baserunners and 14 home runs. How he allowed 14 home runs in 30.2 innings pitched I cannot tell you. The strangest thing to me is he struck out 10.6/9 signaling that his stuff wasn’t that bad. But the 12.3 hits per nine and the 9.68 ERA tell me a whole other story.
The Mets tendered Matz a contract for one year worth $5.2 million dollars. I think that was the right move for the Mets to make as they have no rotation depth whatsoever. To me, this is his last chance to prove himself. And I don’t think he should get the chance to be in the rotation. If the Mets sign Odorizzi and Bauer he certainly will not. If they don’t sign two guys, he likely will be the fifth starter.
I think Matz needs to pitch in games with low leverage to try and gain his confidence back. Matz has a history of getting a little flustered when he struggles, so hopefully, that can improve. As it stands right now, Daniel Zamora is the only left-handed reliever on the 40-man roster. I don’t expect Zamora to make the Opening Day roster, I certainly hope he doesn’t but Matz might be a guy they rely upon to get a left-handed hitter out. Matz is really here as a depth option hopefully, and in a perfect world would not make one start for the Mets in 2021.
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What does your perfect yet realistic rotation look like in 2021?