Tylor Megill is the Mets' unsung hero through four weeks

Tylor Megill delivers vs. the San Diego Padres
Tylor Megill delivers vs. the San Diego Padres / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

In news that will surprise exactly zero people that have followed the New York Mets for any length of time, the season has been anything but smooth sailing. The baseball gods have once again inundated the team with an emergency room's worth of injuries, and we're not nearly through April yet. Nevertheless, the Mets have pushed through their health woes to stay in the early season race.

There are many reasons the Mets have been able to hang tough thus far. Some are obvious, such as the prodigious strength of a certain polar bear-shaped first baseman, or the late-inning versatility of David Robertson. Others have lived up to Met fans' cautious optimism, such as Starling Marte looking like his old self after returning from offseason surgery, or Kodai Senga proving that the hype surrounding his fabled ghost fork pitch was deserved. One hero that hasn't gotten the same amount of press, even though he should, is Tylor Megill.

Mets pitcher Tylor Megill has been a steadying presence in a rotation beset by misfortune

High-priced free agent acquisition Justin Verlander has yet to make his Mets debut. Fellow free agent signee Jose Quintana is out until at least July. Max Scherzer hasn't looked like his dominant self. And of course, Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Taijuan Walker have moved on from Flushing entirely. The Mets have needed Megill to step up, and he has delivered.

Through three starts, though, Megill has been the epitome of solid, allowing only four earned runs in that time while posting a 3-0 record. Against San Diego last week, he shook off a 453-foot Juan Soto two-run bomb in the first inning, getting through five innings without surrendering another run. He even got revenge on the Padres' All-Star left fielder in the fourth inning, striking him out swinging.

Megill is no stranger to bailing out a pitching staff in peril, and his hot start is reminiscent of last season. It seems like a long time ago that he got the ball on Opening Day last year, shutting the Nationals out through five efficient innings after the Mets' highly-touted tandem of Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer wasn't healthy enough to take the mound.

The rest of Megill's April was outstanding, too. Through his first five starts last season, the big right-hander racked up four wins and a sub-2.00 ERA as he helped the Mets jump out to a big NL East lead. After a shoulder injury derailed his season, though, he clearly wasn't the same guy, making only four more uninspired starts and then returning in September to a forgettable bullpen role.

With age a worrisome factor for the Mets' staff, the team desperately needs Megill to continue giving them quality starts well into the summer. There's reason to believe that the righty might be able to do just that. According to this article posted to SNY during spring training, Megill lost 15 pounds in preparation for the season, and he received guidance from Max Scherzer about not overthrowing early in games, something that may have contributed to his shoulder issues last year.

Though a dip in velocity would be a concern for most pitchers, the fact that Megill's average fastball is down 1.2 mph according to Fangraphs is a reason for optimism for the Flushing faithful. In a 162-game season, the healthiest teams usually find themselves standing in the end. The Mets are anything but healthy right now, but thanks in large part to Megill, they're keeping their heads above water in what promises to be a grueling NL East race.

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