Outrageous walk rate is the biggest weakness of the Mets starting rotation

New York Mets v San Francisco Giants
New York Mets v San Francisco Giants / Brandon Vallance/GettyImages

Checking in on the New York Mets starting rotation, there’s one major statistic I’m not so sure we expected them to be this terrible at through the first two and a half weeks or so. They enter Sunday with a rate of 4.55 walks per 9 innings by the starting pitching staff. Only the Oakland Athletics at 4.63 per 9 is worse.

With 57 total walks by starting pitchers, the Mets lead the way in all of Major League Baseball. The difference between them and the Athletics is the Mets starters don’t leave as early as Oakland’s.

How did we get here and who gets the blame?

NY Mets have multiple starters averaging over 4 walks per 9

You’d think David Peterson, as badly as he has performed this year, would be one of the worst in this category. With a walk rate of 3.2 per 9, he’s actually the owner of the best number among pitchers with more than one start. Peterson is just getting smacked around. Maybe he should throw more balls.

Max Scherzer at 4.2 per 9, Tylor Megill at 4.7 per 9, Carlos Carrasco at 5.3 per 9, and Kodai Senga at an even 6 per 9 is how the main starters this season have performed when it comes to free passes. A quick glance, we can see why the starting staff is ranked as one of the worst.

Control has been the biggest weakness of the starting staff. It’s far from the only concern.

The Mets starters rank 21st in ERA, 23rd in WHIP, 14th in strikeouts per 9, 12th hits per 9, and 27th in home runs per 9. All of these numbers suggest the Mets would be far worse than they actually are. At 14-8 and only a half-game behind the Atlanta Braves entering action on Sunday, these problems for the starting staff have been a weakness yet not detrimental.

For all of the woes facing the starting rotation, the Mets have scored the seventh most runs. They’re fourth in OBP. Most surprising of all, they’ve stolen the sixth most bases. The bats—or maybe more appropriately, the batter’s eyes and occasional home run—have carried the team much more than the starting staff.

A run differential of +20 even with two massive beatings they took in the first week of the year does add a positive twist on the year. A win on Sunday and a loss for the Braves push the Mets into first place regardless of how many free passes Megill issues.