The New York Mets played out the 2023 season without much purpose other than to win some jobs for the following year. It’s hard to truly believe in a player’s numbers from the final month because of the decreased pressure. Out of any sort of serious pennant race, the Mets were going through the motions.
A lot was made of how players like Mark Vientos got better and DJ Stewart slumped. A bit blown out of proportion, Vientos’ numbers weren’t all that much better. It’s more about the dichotomy between how the pair had played prior to September.
While a couple of Mets had good months to wrap up the season, these four stand out as the most telling. Two of the performances are worth buying into. Two others should be treated like Enron stock and sold.
Buy into Jose Butto and his strong finish in 2023
Jose Butto and Joey Lucchesi each had strong finishes to the 2023 season. As much as I’d like to say we should buy into Lucchesi, it’s Butto who seemed to show the best overall stuff. Lucchesi was great at run prevention. The rest of the numbers favor Butto.
Butto, at 1-2 with a 3.29 ERA in 5 starts, impressed by striking out just over a batter per inning. Hitters slashed .208/.273/.297 against him in 110 plate appearances. Compared to Lucchesi’s .257/.342/.357 slash line against, his 1.93 ERA in 3 starts looks a bit faulty.
In either case, the pair of pitchers both showed they belong in the conversation for spot starts in 2024. With Butto, the natural progression would even be to toss him into the bullpen. As good as he was as a starter in the final weeks, his future seems to have him slotting in as a reliever instead.
Buy into Butto being a contributor in some capacity in 2024. Hold off on Lucchesi for now.