The time period from 2012-2015 was the beginning of something promising for the New York Mets.
Matt Harvey debuted in 2012. In 2013, it was Zack Wheeler’s turn. Jacob deGrom would win Rookie of the Year in 2014, giving the club a trio of young arms to look forward to in the future—if only they could all stay healthy at the same time.
Then came the 2015 season. Excellent young starting pitchers continued to make their debuts. Noah Syndergaard stepped on the mound and became a larger-than-life figure in the game. Steven Matz would also begin his career with the Mets that year, paving the way for what looked to be a pitching-dominant ball club.
Since Matz’s debut in 2015, the Mets haven’t been so lucky with young starting pitchers making it to the show and sticking in the rotation. David Peterson was good in 2020 but a poor performance in 2021 and injury lessened the hype for him next year.
Where the young Mets pitchers at?
If you’ve stuck with the Mets for the last few years, you know the answer. A lot of the highly-praised young arms have been traded away. This includes Anthony Kay, Justin Dunn, Simeon Woods-Richardson, and probably a few others I’m forgetting. The club has successfully loaded up the farm with some new guys to take over. However, none have gotten to the big leagues yet and are at least another year or two away from doing so.
The projected starting rotation for the Mets next season will likely only include a single homegrown player: deGrom. Max Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker should fill out three other spots. As for the final guy, we all have to hope it’s not one of the guys that came up through the system.
Somewhere along the line, young starting pitchers stop developing into big league studs for the Mets. We can blame Brodie Van Wagenen for it partially. Nobody was guiltier of trading away young talent than him. All of the blame shouldn’t fall on him, however. This past summer, we saw the Mets draft then fail to sign the electrifying college pitcher Kumar Rocker due to concerns over his medicals. Other guys just haven’t developed. As nice as it was to see Tylor Megill rush through the minors and to the big league roster last season, he isn’t on the same level as Mets starters from the recent past.
According to MLB.com, three of the team’s top ten prospects are pitchers. Matt Allan (4) and J.T. Ginn (5) are the most notable. Much further from the big leagues but likely to rise up the charts is Robert Dominguez (10).
Top prospects lists can be a little arbitrary. For the longest time, deGrom wasn’t viewed as the future for any club. Through hard work and probably a deal with the devil, he became the best pitcher in baseball.
The Mets do have some young arms to keep an eye on
While there’s nobody knocking on the big league door just yet to crack the rotation, there are several guys in the teens or lower that we should expect to outshine current expectations. Despite whiffing on Rocker, the Mets did add second-rounder Calvin Ziegler and third-rounder Dominic Hamel to the organization. Either could just as easily become one of the next young superstars we can’t take our eyes off of.
In the meantime, the Mets have turned their focus toward winning now. It’s not the worst approach to take. Young players are best used to fill in gaps, not lead a team to a championship.
We saw it firsthand back in 2015. Even beyond Syndergaard and Matz, the team called up Michael Conforto to fill in an outfield hole when Michael Cuddyer went down with an injury.
Beyond just those top prospects, look for a relief pitcher to catch fire and become a future bullpen option for the ball club. Another area the team has struggled, it would be nice to see one young stud reliever get some big outs.