1. Starting pitcher Marcus Stroman
Last but certainly not least is Marcus Stroman, who is the perfect example of a player betting on himself by taking that one-year prove-it deal.
Last year, Stroman never pitched for the Mets, as he opted out due to COVID-19 concerns. Quickly, fans turned on him because he was set to hit the market. In the end, Stroman returned to the Mets on a qualifying offer, giving him the chance to cash in the next off-season.
And with the way he has pitched in 2021, Steve Cohen must be ready to give Stroman a blank check following the season. Stroman not only has been a great presence in the locker room and has become a fan favorite, but he has been exactly what New York needed behind Jacob deGrom.
At 30-years-old, Stroman is having arguably the best year of his career. Over 20 starts, Stroman has pitched 111.1 innings, with a 2.59 earned run average and 1.08 WHIP. Had it not been for the elite pitching this year in the National League, Stroman would have been an All-Star any other year.
When the Mets traded for Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays at the 2019 trade deadline, many questioned the move. Especially considering the Mets did not have a strong defense at the time, which for a pitcher who is not a strikeout specialist, is vital to his success.
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Today, Stroman is pitching like an ace for the Mets and has been exactly what the doctor ordered given their injury issues this season. He has been the embodiment of the perseverance this team has played with, and the Amazins’ need to make locking him up long-term their top priority next off-season.