3. Jose Butto
The Mets will have a decision to make come opening day on their rotational structure. With Kodai Senga mostly pitching on 6 days rest in 2023, there will be a need for a spot starter as the season progresses. Jose Butto figures to be a part of this depth having pitched both as a starter and long-relief pitcher last season. In total, Butto has appeared in 10 major league games between 2022 and 2023, starting in 8 of them.
The Mets were unsure of expectations for the 25-year-old Venezuelan right-hander. While he pitched well in the minor leagues, Butto had control issues in his spot appearances walking 11 batters in 12 innings between April and May. However, Butto was given another opportunity to start in September and exceeded expectations. He pitched to a 3.29 ERA in 27.1 innings while striking out 28 batters and limiting walks to just 9.
Butto has to prove his strong finish to 2023 was not just a fluke and that he overcame his control issues from the first half. As with many pitchers in the minor leagues, the new ABS (automated ball-strike system) forced bad habits that may have led to his struggles. While the Mets have added starting pitching depth, none of these options including Severino and Adrian Houser have proven to make all 30 starts. Also considering Senga’s limitations, Butto figures to be given more of an opportunity in 2024.