Move Jose Butto to '1' on speed dial ahead of Joey Lucchesi if you haven't already

Jose Butto has moved up the starting pitching depth chart this spring.

Feb 25, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA;  New York Mets starting pitcher Jose Butto (70) pitches
Feb 25, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jose Butto (70) pitches / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Mets have some adjusting to do. When they hold down the number 1 on their rotary phone for speed dial, it’s not going to ring Joey Lucchesi. Jose Butto is the one who’ll answer.

You see kids, back in the day, we had to remember phone numbers. Unless of course you added the person as a speed dial option where you had to hold down one number, you’d have to have the digits near the phone, usually written down in a book. Phones back then were attached to walls, too.

Whether the Mets use a mobile phone or an old-fashioned rotary to get in touch with Syracuse, it’s Butto who has seemingly surpassed the more MLB-experienced Lucchesi this spring.

Move Jose Butto up the Mets depth chart if you haven’t already

Arguably the better spring training performance for the Mets, the club decided to go with Tylor Megill instead. This was never much of a competition. Megill looking as good as he did pretty much negated any sort of competition. Lucchesi, who barely entered the fray as an option for the Mets’ fifth rotation spot, seemed like the stronger contender at first only to quickly fade into the background following one bad appearance.

Butto has spent the last few years as a prospect ranked somewhere in the teens. Good but not great numbers in the minor leagues kept him in the conversation yet unable to attain the level of hype as some of the newer arms.

Last year’s performance at the major league level was far better than what he did down in Triple-A. On the farm, the righty was 3-7 with a 5.93 ERA. In about half as many innings with the major league Mets (91 versus 42 frames), he was 1-4 with a 3.64 ERA. Quality enough results to put him in the mix for this year’s rotation depth, Butto is someone we’ll see very soon back in the majors.

How soon? The 13 straight games in April is a good guess.

Starting pitching depth is a strength of this team as far as able-bodied options go. Talent has been questionable. Megill and David Peterson each had their opportunity from the starting gun last year to win over fans. Both failed and it put the Mets in an early hole.

Armed with a new patriotic pitch and some stellar results in the spring, fans are much more confident in Megill heading into 2024. Butto, who quietly allowed only one earned run in his 10 innings, will await his call. His short notice arrival won’t have much fanfare around it. Now a freshly turned 26, he’s about to embark on an early career-defining season. If he can prove valuable as starting pitching depth, the opportunities for him will continue. Falter and maybe the club reassesses if a move to the bullpen is how they get the most from him.

Younger pitchers are coming up behind Butto. In a unique and sometimes tough role shuttling between the majors and minors, he’ll have his chances to prove he is MLB-worthy.

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