Jose Butto has a lot to work on before we hand him a starting rotation spot. However, two starts this September have helped the New York Mets pitcher creep a little closer on the depth chart to equal footing with some of the club’s other starting pitcher depth options.
Butto went 6.1 innings and allowed 2 earned against the Washington Nationals on September 6 only to follow it up with 5 innings of one-run ball and only 2 hits allowed against the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 12.
A mostly unremarkable pitching prospect whose 5.93 ERA in 19 Triple-A starts this year seemed to spoil any positive vibes, his recent outings at least provide a pair of platform shoes to move him closer to the conversation squaring off versus pitchers like Tylor Megill and David Peterson.
NY Mets pitcher Jose Butto is almost right there with the club’s other starting pitcher depth choices
The mere thought of having Butto in next year’s starting rotation is unflattering. Megill or Peterson feels a bit more acceptable but maybe that’s just because we’ve seen them go longer stretches and have success. Butto hasn’t had the opportunity yet.
Control is the most alarming issue for Butto. Despite his 3.46 ERA, he has averaged 6.2 walks per 9 innings in his 26 MLB seasons. He was better in the minors with an average of 4.8 per 9 in 91 innings of work. In this instance, the “better” still doesn’t qualify as “good enough.”
A full-time transition to a relief role seemed to make the most sense for Butto until his last two outings. It was a promising turn, particularly against the playoff-hopeful Diamondbacks, for a guy who hasn’t really impressed all that much.
The Mets are undoubtedly fully aware of the importance carrying multiple optional starting pitchers is. The current six-man rotation currently features four guys who fall into this category, including Butto and let’s add Joey Lucchesi into the mix as well. The slap-fight for the fifth or maybe even sixth-man in the rotation is already underway this September. The biggest underdog of them, Butto, is right there along with them.
The hill for him to climb remains steep. Perhaps working to his benefit could be the fact that others in this competition have already shown enough that a demotion to a bullpen role is necessary. Peterson has been unable to climb over his mountain. This is the kind of break Butto should look to capitalize on. A strong finish in 2023 will help make a good first impression on David Stearns who’ll get a closer look down the stretch.