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Mets: Three David Peterson predictions for the 2021 season

BOSTON, MA - JULY 28: David Peterson #77 of the New York Mets pitches in the first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 28, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 28: David Peterson #77 of the New York Mets pitches in the first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 28, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 07: David Peterson #77 of the New York Mets in action against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 07, 2020 in New York City. The Phillies defeated the Mets 9-8 in ten innings. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

WHIP will drop from 1.208 in 2020 to under 1.1 in 2021

Walks and hits per innings pitched, also known as WHIP, is one of my favorite baseball statistics. It’s both fun to say and an easy-to-understand measure of a pitcher’s efficiency. The Mets’ gold standard for WHIP in recent years was, unsurprisingly, Jacob deGrom in 2018 when he pitched to a microscopic 0.912 WHIP. In fact, deGrom has pitched to a WHIP under one in four of his seven major league seasons, which is a very aspirational figure for a young starter like Peterson to seek to match.

Despite these lofty standards set by his teammate, I believe Peterson will shave some walks and hits off of his WHIP in 2021. Walks were among his weakest areas in 2020, as he had a couple of starts with four walks each and several more with three. Some additional work with Hefner could help Peterson address this minor bugaboo.

His high walk rate could also be attributed to his lack of Triple-A experience. Peterson likely was used to getting more swings-and-misses on his pitches in the lower minors than he got in the major leagues, so some of the breaking balls that were his “put-away pitches” in Double-A might not have had the same effect in the bigs.

Peterson does not have the most overpowering fastball, so he is unlikely to prevent too many walks and hits purely by blowing away hitters on velocity. Still, by pitching intelligently and gaining confidence in his second year, Peterson should be able to cut his WHIP down from 1.2 to a more attention-grabbing figure of 1.1 or better.

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Peterson is under team control through 2026, meaning that his Mets career is hopefully just beginning. He demonstrated poise and maturity on the mound throughout his rookie campaign, and I anticipate that these qualities will lead to several improvements and notable highlights in his second major league season.

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