The most underrated Mets player who will outperform expectations in 2023

Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game Three
Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game Three / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Much of the New York Mets offseason revolved around rebuilding their starting rotation. With Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, and Chris Bassitt all leaving in free agency, the team had numerous, significant holes to fill.

As 2022 turns to 2023, those holes have been filled: the Mets brought in ace pitcher Justin Verlander to replace deGrom, Kodai Senga to replace Bassitt, and Jose Quintana to replace Walker. All these moves set the Mets up to have a formidable rotation heading into the 2023 season, when expectations for this club will be at an all-time high.

However, there is also another member of the Mets starting pitching staff who is understandably overlooked but nonetheless will play an important role on the 2023 Mets. David Peterson, who was shuttled back and forth between Triple-A Syracuse and the big leagues last season, played an important role in the backend of the Mets rotation last year, thanks in part to the injuries that the team had to overcome last season.

David Peterson plays a more important role on the Mets than most realize.

Peterson did his job last year moderately well, compiling a 7-5 record with a 3.83 ERA and 126 strikeouts. As one of the Mets main left-handed pitchers, Peterson was utilized in a variety of ways, both as a starter and as a long relief pitcher if one of the team’s rotation struggled during their start. 

If the Mets rotation woes over the years signified anything, it showed that the team could never have enough starting pitching. My colleague wrote a great piece about why Peterson has the most upside, and many of his points I agree with.

However, I think Peterson can be even more valuable for the Mets in 2023. Despite the fact that the Mets have a solid starting five, the fact remains that injuries to those five will inevitably happen as the season progresses. Their top two aces are in their late thirties and early forties. Senga is coming over from Japan, where it is common that starting pitchers only pitch once a week. It will be an adjustment for Senga to get comfortable in a major league rotation that operates differently than what he was accustomed to in Japan.

Because of these considerations, Peterson provides the Mets an opportunity to stretch their starters out and ensure that no starting pitcher gets overworked throughout the season. As we saw in the postseason last season, the Mets starting pitchers were not performing at their best, and it was part of the reason why the team failed to advance past the Wild Card round in the 2022 MLB Postseason.

Therefore, I believe Peterson could potentially be valuable as a sixth starting pitcher, which is why he should be on the Mets roster, and not in Syracuse, come April 2023. Adopting a six-man rotation would be beneficial to the Mets to prevent the problems the team ran into in 2022. 

Peterson has shown that he could pitch in the big leagues. Although not in the starting rotation as of now and many expecting him to start the year in Triple-A, Peterson is a prime candidate to outperform these limited expectations, because he will not be expected to provide much and has a proven record of success in the majors. If he could provide the Mets with valuable innings to save Scherzer and Verlander for the 2023 postseason, then he would already give the team a valuable service in pursuit of their first championship since 1986.

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