Bartolo Colon is a name that evokes many memories for fans of the New York Mets. From his towering home run against the San Diego Padres to his behind-the-back flip to first base against the Marlins and even all the times his helmet fell off while batting.
However, there was more to Colon than all the laughs and special moments he gave the Mets. Behind one of the biggest fan favorites in Mets history, was a very reliable end of the rotation starting pitcher, the kind of player that is always needed on an MLB team.
Why was Bartolo Colon undervalued on the Mets?
The Mets first signed Colon after the 2013 season, to a two-year $20 million contract. At a time when Matt Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery, and with Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard still in the minor leagues, Colon brought stability to the Mets rotation.
Was Colon still his younger self who could throw 100 mph? No, he wasn’t, but that was ok. Colon was dependable, consistent, and reliable. He was a pitcher who would make his start every fifth day, give you five to six innings and keep your team in the game.
In his three years with the Mets, Colon racked up 588 2/3 innings pitched, 44 wins in 95 starts, and an All-Star selection in 2016.
No Mets pitcher has equaled Colon’s 44 wins in a three-year span since, (thanks to deGrom’s low run support and many blown leads from the bullpen) and only deGrom has pitched more innings for the Mets in a three-year span since Colon.
After his time with the Amazins, Colon spent time with the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins in 2017, before the Texas Rangers in 2018. Colon most recently pitched in 2021 with the Mexican League team Acereros de Monclova, notching a 4.55 ERA in 61 1/3 innings.
What we can learn from Bartolo Colon’s time on the New York Mets?
Why was Colon undervalued? It is not because every time he took the field it was can’t miss baseball. Colon was undervalued as a Met because he was such a stable part of their rotation.
In Major League Baseball, you can never have enough starting pitching. Teams need to have deep starting rotations, it is not good enough to only have five quality starting pitchers. The five starters that begin the season, are rarely the five starters who finish the season.
This is why it is important for the Mets to sign quality starting pitchers not only as free agents, but to also keep quality starters from leaving.
Out of the five starters that started the season on the 25-man roster for the Amazins, only Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman, finished the season without missing major time due to injury.
Players like Rich Hill and Tylor Megill, while not the flashiest or most valuable players to the Mets 2021 season, were able to consistently give the team innings as starting pitchers, once they joined the team.
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To build a quality contending team for the 2022 season, the Mets will need to have a quality starting rotation of reliable starting pitching. Players like Bartolo Colon probably won’t win World Series MVP, but without them, a team can’t win a World Series.