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Mets: Can Joey Lucchesi’s hot spring training carry into regular season?

Mar 17, 2021; Jupiter, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi (47) delivers a pitch during a spring training game between the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2021; Jupiter, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi (47) delivers a pitch during a spring training game between the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
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Over the past few seasons, nothing has hurt the New York Mets more than injuries and inconsistent performance from their starting pitchers. That being said, it makes sense the team made it a priority to revamp and add starting pitching depth.

Right out of the gate, that starting pitching depth will be coming up huge. Already without Noah Syndergaard, the Mets knew David Peterson could step into the starting rotation with Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker. However, once Carrasco went down with a hamstring injury, all eyes turned to Joey Lucchesi during spring training.

Acquired from the San Diego Padres during the offseason, Lucchesi competed with Peterson and others for the final rotation spot. And now, he will have the chance to prove that his phenomenal spring training is not a fluke.

Who is Mets pitcher Joey Lucchesi?

A one-time top-10 prospect with the San Diego Padres, the Mets have not acquired just any borderline major league pitcher. Lucchesi is a proven arm who can provide a quality addition to the rotation.

Since coming up with the Padres in 2018, Lucchesi has established himself as a guy who can hold down a spot in the back of the rotation. Over his first two seasons, Lucchesi started all 56 games played, posting a 4.14era with marks of 10.0 and 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

Then, in 2020, Lucchesi owned a 7.94era over 5.2 innings pitched, as younger pitchers in the minors overtook his spot. And thanks to the Padres adding Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Joe Musgrove to the rotation, Lucchesi quickly became forgotten. Thus, leading to the Mets taking a swing on the 27-year-old pitcher.

An impressive spring training

Entering spring training, Lucchesi was competing with Peterson, as well as others for the fifth starting job due to Syndergaard’s recovery from Tommy John surgery. Luckily, his dominant spring proved lucky, as he will lock down the fifth spot for Carrasco until he is back healthy.

Lucchesi made two starts in four total games in spring, being stretched out over time. In 13 total innings, Lucchesi only gave up seven hits while striking out 15. Ultimately, his 2.77era was second to deGrom amongst pitchers who threw over 10 innings in spring training.

Lucchesi’s 2021 outlook

At the end of the day, nobody is expecting those numbers over the course of a season. Chances are he will not be in the starting rotation all season once Carrasco and Syndergaard return. But, what it does signal is Lucchesi settling in for his role with the Mets.

Lucchesi is not going to be asked to go deep into games, rather provide an opener-type start for the team. Luckily, this is a role that based on his career numbers, Lucchesi can thrive in.

Over his career, he averages roughly five innings pitched per start. This being due to the .312 batting average and .395 on-base percentage batters have against him once seeing him for a third time at the plate. Lucchesi also is not a flamethrower, leaving typical game fatigue to decrease his velocity even more.

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When it is all said and done, Lucchesi simply has one job – hold down the fort until Carrasco returns. But there is no reason to think that Lucchesi’s dominant spring cannot carry over into the regular season for the Amazins’.

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