Billy Eppler has gotten a lashing on social media this year. It’s part of the job description when you sign up to become a major league general manager. He has made it easy this year to get criticized by the New York Mets fans. Despite a glimmer of hope in July, the team has underperformed as a whole.
Fortunately, not everything Eppler decided in the offseason has been atrocious. Three moves stand out as major wins for the Mets’ GM. It’s only fair to acknowledge at the unofficial midpoint of the year how right he was in adding these three players who’ve been much better than anyone could’ve expected.
1) All-Star Kodai Senga has been the best starting pitcher for the NY Mets
Is Kodai Senga an ace, a number three, or a back-of-the-rotation arm? It’s something we wondered when he was signed by the Mets this offseason. The Mets didn’t need him to be an ace and based on his early performance, he’s not quite there. However, he has been the best starter for them so far in 2023 and even became an All-Star as a replacement.
Senga leads the starters with a 3.31 ERA. Aside from his high walk rate, which is down to 4.7 per 9 right now, there hasn’t been much to complain about with him.
The biggest mark against Senga might be how necessary it seems to be for him to have the extra day of rest. Because the Mets haven’t gotten quite enough out of David Peterson or Tylor Megill this season, they’ve had to be a little more careful with when Senga starts.
Senga’s last start before the break served as a reminder of how good he can be. After the Mets were just 1-4 in June starts when Senga toed the rubber, his 8 inning effort against the Arizona Diamondbacks sealed the deal on a job well done.
When things are going well for Senga, it’s hard to imagine a pitcher being much better. His 12 strikeout games against the Tampa Bay Rays and Diamondbacks top the list of achievements. Let’s not forget the one-hit, no walks, 9 strikeout game versus the Philadelphia Phillies either.