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Mets pitcher David Peterson will get even better if he masters his control

Sep 24, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher David Peterson (77) pitches against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher David Peterson (77) pitches against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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David Peterson had an impressive rookie year for the 2020 New York Mets. He can look even better if he can master his control.

David Peterson was a hero for the 2020 New York Mets. He stepped into the rotation on rather short notice and led the team with six victories. At 6-2 with a 3.44 ERA, he had solid numbers for a starting pitcher let alone a rookie.

In 2021, as he embarks on what will be his first full year in the major leagues, Peterson has plenty of room to look even better. It starts with mastering his control.

Peterson was great at keeping the Mets in games and keeping runs off the board. It’s the most essential part of excelling as a big league pitcher. If there’s one obvious area of weakness for him, it was his lack of control on the mound.

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In 49.2 innings of work, Peterson averaged 4.3 walks per nine frames. This number is a very high one for a starting pitcher. It’s almost double what you might expect with a guy as good at preventing runs as Peterson.

Along with this, Peterson didn’t find strikeouts all too often. His average over nine innings in this statistic was 7.2. While not bad, I like to see at least an eight.

With too many walks and not enough strikeouts, one might have expected a much worse year out of Peterson. Somehow, he escaped the year with a 1.20 WHIP which is pretty impressive. The key was allowing only 6.5 hits per nine innings. Peterson may not have mastered his control. Luckily, batters have yet to figure him out, too.

Citing his minor league numbers, we can expect a better year ahead from Peterson. In his three minor league seasons, he met the criteria I would like to see. His walk rate ranged from 2.1-2.9 per nine innings. His strikeouts were from 8.1-14.7.

Peterson probably won’t develop into some strikeout king. Maybe over time, with some luck and practice, he can turn a few more of those ball fours into strikes by painting the corners.

It will be fun to see how Peterson is affected by the change at the catcher position. We all know by now how much pitchers didn’t enjoy throwing to Wilson Ramos these past two years. Will the positive change and upgrade with James McCann help his season statistics look better?

There’s not much criticism anyone can give Peterson based on what he did in 2020. I think he exceeded everyone’s expectations. There were few growing pains and even fewer starts when it looked like he was a filler for the season.

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Peterson did more than eat up innings in place of Marcus Stroman. He actually managed to become the club’s second-best starter and save us from the offseason headache of looking to replace yet another starting rotation spot. Let’s see him do it again, yet better, in 2021.

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