In a rather unexpected move by the New York Mets, the club acquired pitcher Joey Luchessi from the San Diego Padres. The deal was part of a three-team trade that also involved the Pittsburgh Pirates sending Joe Musgrove to San Diego. Costing the Mets a single prospect, it was a move by them meant to help the immediate future.
Luchessi doesn’t come to the Mets with a whole lot of fanfare. Through 299.1 big league innings, he’s 18-20 with a 4.21 ERA. He’s also coming off of a rough 5.2 frames in 2020 where he delivered a 7.94 ERA.
Last season’s numbers are hardly a sample size of what lies ahead for Lucchesi. While I won’t hype him up any, there are definitely some signs that he has some great potential somewhere in his left arm.
Mets have a lot of options with Lucchesi
Lucchesi still has minor league options and age on his side. He’ll turn 28 this summer which means the Mets have time to figure out what his best role with the club will be.
Ideally, the Mets would probably love for him to slot in as a rotation arm somewhere in the back. With Steven Matz headed to free agency next winter—possibly on the move prior—they need to start thinking about some cheaper options. Lucchesi could fit this description well.
However, getting those starts won’t come easily. There’s a lot of competition for innings on the Mets this year. When Noah Syndergaard returns, someone is getting demoted to the bullpen or the minor leagues.
At worse, Lucchesi could transition into a relief role
Every great reliever is a failed starter yadda yadda yadda. You’ve heard it a million times before. It’s absolutely true, though. Lucchesi could be the next to join this club.
Lucchesi has yet to show anything in the big leagues as he did in the minors. In his first 42 innings back in 2016, he pitched to a 1.29 ERA. The following year, in 139 innings pitched, Lucchesi was 11-7 with a 2.20 ERA.
The success didn’t fully carry over to the big leagues, but who expected it would?
Lucchesi would go on to complete his rookie year with the Padres as an 8-9 pitcher with a 4.08 ERA in 26 starts. He fanned batters at a rate of ten per nine innings.
In 2021, we should expect Lucchesi to take on a jack-of-all-pitching-trades role. He may win a spot in the rotation on Opening Day yet become the roster casualty to make room for Thor’s return. When this happens, maybe he nestles into the bullpen comfortably.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
The Mets have been amazing at adding depth this winter. Lucchesi is the latest, but there’s more to him than just a warm body that can throw a baseball. Young and with promise, it’s up to this coaching staff to unlock the best of what he can offer the game.