NY Mets: Starting all over again with David Peterson next year
By Tim Boyle
David Peterson was a joy to watch pitch every fifth day in 2020. In 9 starts and a relief appearance, the left-handed New York Mets rookie pitcher went 6-2 with a 3.44 ERA.
Those expecting similar results in 2021 were severely disappointed. In those 15 starts he managed to put together before landing on the IL for good, Peterson’s record reversed to 2-6 and saw his ERA inflate up to 5.54.
Peterson had already begun the year as merely a contender for the Opening Day rotation. Injuries nixed the competition between him and Joey Lucchesi for that final spot. Sadly, he couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity.
Where do the Mets go from here with David Peterson?
One good year followed up by one bad season and we’re basically back to the beginning with Peterson. Well-regarded but not one of those prospects the organization ever gushed over, Peterson was called to action out of need in 2020. He has zero appearances at the Triple-A level in his career but this may change in 2022.
The Mets cannot possibly think they can sell to the fans a rotation with Peterson listed as one of their expected starters. As a depth piece, he’s fine. Let him earn a roster spot out of camp.
Anything more and the Mets are taking a step backward.
We know the club already has Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker under contract for next season to help fill three-fifths of the rotation. Tylor Megill has done plenty to prove himself worthy of contention for a spot. I suspect Peterson will also get his opportunity to battle Megill and possibly a few other pitchers down in St. Lucie next March.
Working in Peterson’s favor is the fact that he throws left-handed. Lefty starters always have a bullpen demotion for clubs to think about. Although he doesn’t strike me as the next elite-level southpaw reliever, this might be Peterson’s ultimate destiny.
In 2022, that probably won’t be the case. The Mets could always stash him in the bullpen as a long man. I don’t like this role for a younger arm. Peterson has shown more promise than this. Long relief roles in the bullpen where mopping up games and eating up innings should be reserved for veterans—not pitchers entering their junior years.
For Peterson, this could mean a minor league demotion. It’s not the absolute worst thing. As we saw regularly in 2021, the Mets have needed far more than their originally planned starting five. He’d get starts at the major league level at some point.
Many of us thought that after the 2020 season Peterson would be a lock for the rotation in 2021. And after his performance in this most recent season, we have all realized one bad season can change things drastically.
Peterson, while never viewed as a future ace by anyone with sense, does have a future pitching in the big leagues. His exact role has—like many Mets starting pitchers in 2021—yet to be determined.
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In 2022, I predict he starts the year in Triple-A. As soon as the Mets need an arm, he’ll be one of the first they call.