The New York Mets starting rotation has been quite the story early in the 2021 season. Prior to injuries piling up, the rotation had a complete turnaround following a disaster in 2020.
A large part of the rotations turn around are the names. The Mets had a lot of “what if’s” last year and were hoping for bounce-back seasons from pretty much everyone not named Jacob deGrom.
The 2021 starting rotation has a much more intimidating and powerful look as the Mets added back Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco via trade, Taijuan Walker via free agency, and the return of Noah Syndergaard at some point.
Although Carrasco and Syndergaard still have not pitched in a game yet, the rotation is still miles better than last year and shows how great it can be when they finally do return.
The Mets starting rotation has a lot of pleasant surprises but also a few disappointments.
The Mets have had some guys step up as the bigger guys are preparing to return, but they have also had some guys unable to fill the shoes as well as they would have hoped.
With plenty of time still left in the season, hopefully the surprises continue their success and the disappointments turn it around and add to the surprise list.
You could go a few different ways for the Mets biggest and best surprise so far this season. Jacob deGrom has gotten even better this year which most people probably did not even think was possible, but it is not too shocking. Marcus Stroman is off to a quick and impressive start, but I sort of expected this from him, previously writing about three predictions for him this season. The biggest and best surprise in the rotation has to be Taijuan Walker.
Prior to landing on the injured list with side tightness, Walker was off to an incredible start to the season. In his 8 games played, he has collected 3 wins, logged 44 innings pitched, has a 0.977 WHIP, 5.1 hits per nine, 41 strikeouts, and a 2.05 ERA.
Walker has easily given more than anyone expected despite finishing the 2020 season strongly with the Toronto Blue Jays. As a guy brought in to hold down the back end of the rotation with guys like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Carrasco, and Marcus Stroman all expected to pitch in front of him, he has pitched like a front of the rotation guy despite being the likely five starter when everyone is healthy.
Walker is looking more like the steal of the offseason the further we get into his Mets tenure. Now with Tommy John surgery in the rearview mirror, hopefully Walker can continue his success and hold down his spot in a potential dominant rotation.
For the most part, the Mets starting rotation has been incredible. Even with injuries piling up, the rotation has still done a solid job of throwing well and keeping the Mets in games.
Even though the Mets rotation has been solid as a whole, it has not been perfect. David Peterson has been pretty hit or miss so far, but I think Joey Lucchesi has been more disappointing.
Prior to his most recent start in Miami at the time of writing this where he went 4 strong inning while striking out 8, he has not been very good.
He had compiled 6 games total with 3 of them being starts where he combined for 15.2 innings, a 9.19 ERA, a 1.532 WHIP, with only 1 win and 3 losses excluding his game in Miami.
His longest start was only 3 innings which he did twice, where he gave up 3 runs in each game. In his one other game that he started, he only lasted 2.2 innings in which he gave up 6 runs.
I do not think anyone expected Lucchesi to be a top of the rotation starter, but I think most people, myself included, expected him to be better so far. With Carrasco and Syndergaard starting the year on the injured list it opened the door for Lucchesi and unfortunately he has not been able to take advantage of the opportunity.
With guys still out for the foreseeable future, maybe the Mets keep trying their luck with Lucchesi. If he can build off his most recent start against the Marlins it could be huge going forward for a team struggling with the injury bug.
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Who do you think has been the best surprise and biggest disappointment in the Mets starting rotation?