Seth Lugo’s reign as one of the more unique relievers in MLB didn’t last long. It was really in 2018 and 2019 when all who root for the New York Mets universally became a fan of his. A converted starter who became a multi-inning reliever and not just a mop-up man, Lugo was effective and often the savior in relief.
The last two seasons featured Lugo in a more typical relief role, going inning to inning. He wasn’t nearly as amazing. We’ll always have those other memories of the once promising starter turned electric reliever.
Another Mets pitcher still with the team seems like he could follow the path. Is this what’s next for Tylor Megill?
The Mets bullpen could have its new Seth Lugo already with Tylor Megill
There are some similarities between the pairing. Each seemed to come from out of nowhere. Lower draft picks summoned to the major leagues to start and have success, working against each is a lack of opportunity to start games.
Lugo had the misfortune of debuting for the Mets at a time when they had six starters. He fell way behind on the depth chart. Megill might be considered the team’s sixth starter right now, although David Peterson might have something to say about that declaration.
Lugo pitched very well as a starter for the Mets in 2016 then joined the rest of the staff for a rough season in 2017. His numbers are far better than what we’ve seen from Megill in his two partial seasons with the club. He’s ahead of Lugo’s schedule, but the franchise is in a much different place. They are in full win-now mode. That doesn’t seem to match with allowing him to develop further.
Something the Mets could consider with Megill as soon as this year is putting him into the role Lugo had for several seasons. He’s not a single-inning reliever. He’s more of a two or three frame at a time guy entering the game in relief. The Mets could even get real specific with him. Jose Quintana is not a pitcher who will go much more than five innings each start. A planned piggyback with the veteran lefty would be a way to get Megill a lot of innings on a regular basis. In starts where Quintana might not be so sharp, Elieser Hernandez or whoever the mop-up guy is could get the ball instead.
A similar strategy could be utilized with Kodai Senga whose adjustment to the five-man rotation might hold him back. The difference is he’d have Peterson enter behind him for the switch from righty to lefty.
Long-term, it’s difficult to see Megill getting significant starts for the Mets. There are two potential free agents from the rotation next year. Carlos Carrasco’s contract runs out and Max Scherzer has an opt out. Unless Megill steps up big due to an injury in 2023, it doesn’t seem very Steve Cohen-like to go with one of the younger and less experienced players. The team has preferred veterans over the last two seasons. A spot in the bullpen for Megill, with a unique twist, is one thing they can consider.