So far through 2021, the New York Mets starting rotation has been a massive strength for the team. Jacob deGrom is unstoppable, while Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker are pitching like All-Stars. Meanwhile, David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi may have finally come around.
Nonetheless, the Mets are about to take on one of their toughest challenges of the year – five games in three days. Or really, nine games in six days.
Between the Washington Nationals COVID-19 scare to start the year and rain delays, the Amazins’ are going to find themselves playing quite a few doubleheaders this year. And just by their luck, the three they will play in the next week are against the Nationals, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies.
With so many innings needed to be pitch, the Mets may be forced to turn to some fresh arms. After all, deGrom is pitching through lingering injuries, and Peterson and Lucchesi have not been perfect this year.
Taking this into consideration, the time has come for the Mets to call up their number 10 prospect, Thomas Szapucki.
What Szapucki brings to the Mets table
At the very least, the Mets will need a pitcher who can eat innings and keep them in games. Luckily, Szapucki can do that… and more.
Over seven games (six starts) for the Syracuse Mets, Szapucki has thrown at least 3.2 innings, ranging from 72-97 pitches. The southpaw is also capable of striking out batters, given his 34 strikeouts over 29.2 innings.
Now, Szapucki has not been perfect over his last two starts, with nine earned runs over the span. Nonetheless, over his first five games, he only had five earned runs in 22 innings.
At the end of the day, the Mets know what they can get out of Szapucki, despite him having never pitched in the majors. He is at his best when throwing his fastball, curveball and should be able to give the Mets 4-5 innings in a start with ease.
What is holding Szapucki back?
Well, there is a reason why Szapucki has yet to hit the majors – injuries. Having been in the organization since he was drafted in 2015, Szapucki has dealt with back and shoulder injuries, on top of Tommy John.
All these health issues have led to two major problems. The first is that Szapucki has only thrown 174.2 innings in his minor league career. The second is his velocity has decreased since returning.
Why Szapucki deserves his shot
Prior to the season, I mentioned how Szapucki could be a sleeper prospect who can make an impact on the Mets this season. However, one could not have predicted postponements being the reason behind his call-up being necessary.
Nevertheless, here we are. as New York sits in first place in the National League East, and going against division foes in the coming week, coming away with wins is vital. Additionally, the Mets are just finally getting healthy, and the last thing they need to do is mess with their starters between-start routine.
That being said, there is no better time than right now for the 25-year-old southpaw Thomas Szapucki to make his MLB debut.