The New York Mets were starved for starting pitching depth in 2020, entering spring training with eight starting pitchers and ending the season with about three. After Noah Syndergaard went down with Tommy John surgery, Marcus Stroman opted out of the season, and Michael Wacha got injured early on in the shortened season, David Peterson was next on the pitching depth chart.
He had never pitched above Double-A Binghamton, but he seized the big league opportunity given to him last July. In his major league debut against the Boston Red Sox on July 28, Peterson went 5 2/3 innings and gave up only two runs. He also escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the third inning, displaying the pitching toughness normally reserved for those with the last name “deGrom.”
Peterson had a 2020 season that any rookie pitcher would be proud of, with a 3.44 ERA and a .171 BAA (batting average against) with runners in scoring position as two of his most impressive stats. He figures to be an important piece of the Mets’ 2021 rotation as well. Here are three predictions I have for how Peterson will fare this upcoming season.
His ERA will be third-best in the Mets starting rotation
With Stroman back on a qualifying offer and recent trade acquisition Carlos Carrasco also slotting into next year’s starting five, Peterson at the moment figures to be the #4 man in the rotation. The Mets have yet to add another top-line starting pitcher this offseason, meaning that there is at least a chance that Steven Matz could slot into the #5 spot or fight for it with recently acquired lefty Joey Lucchesi. Though Syndergaard has ace-potential when he is healthy, he will not be back until at least June.
I believe that with some major league experience under belt, Peterson will continue to bear down with RISP next season. His WHIP last season was a respectable 1.208, but he can still improve that figure by cutting down on the 4.3 BB/9 (walks per nine innings) rate that he had in 2020.
I anticipate that deGrom will still have the best ERA in the rotation next season, with Carrasco likely coming in behind him after impressing with a 2.91 ERA for the Cleveland Indians in 2020. Stroman will be coming off of no innings pitched in 2020, meaning that his in-game readiness might need some extra time to ramp up this coming season. If given any time in the rotation, Matz will need to prove himself after a very disappointing 2020 season in which he posted a 9.68 ERA in six starts.
All of this is to say that that Peterson, with a solid season and a slight ERA improvement, could easily bump up to be the #3 starter for the Mets in 2021.