3) NY Mets to still believe in: David Peterson
On the surface, Peterson’s 2023 stat line would suggest a significant step back. Make no mistake – it was not a good season for the former first round pick, with a 3-8 record, 5.03 ERA, and 1.57 WHIP in 27 games (21 starts).
If you dig a bit deeper, however, you’ll find reasons to believe that Peterson’s best might be coming.
In his first eight starts, Peterson was simply awful, posting an 8.08 ERA while allowing opposing hitters to post a .936 OPS against him. The Mets were 1-7 in those games and, on May 16, optioned him to Triple-A.
When he returned at the end of June, Peterson’s season turned for the better. Over his final 19 games (13 starts), he pitched to a 3.38 ERA with an opposing OPS nearly 200 points lower than what he endured in those first eight starts, including a few standout performances against contending teams down the stretch.
It's unclear what kind of role Peterson might have as he enters his fifth big league season. While the left hander has mostly been a starter in his career, the Mets used his sparingly as a reliver in 2022 and 2023, with a 2.70 ERA across 16 outings.
It also bears watching how Peterson’s pitch mix translates to future performance. His pitch distribution was more evenly split in 2023, with all five falling below 30% share. The most notable shift was a decreased use of his fastball, which was often a source of command issues – Peterson frequently missed with his fastball up and away arm-side against right-handed hitters.
Regardless of role or pitch usage, Peterson’s emergence as a reliable major leaguer would pay huge dividends for a Mets team in desperate need of pitching depth going forward.