3) Why the NY Mets should consider calling up Nate Lavender in September
Some baseball player names just stick with you. Nathan James Lavender has one of them. He sounds soft and soothing. His fascinating ability to strike out opponents almost at will makes him anything but.
This 14th round pick from the 2021 draft has already made his way to Triple-A. Lavender the lefty is having a sensational year on the farm yet again. What else would we expect? He has been on point ever since become a professional ball player.
Lavender’s Triple-A numbers, more noteworthy because of how little he pitched in Double-A before his promotion, include a 3-3 record and 3.27 ERA in 33 innings. He’s striking batters out at a rate of 13.1 per 9 but unfortunately walking them 5.2 times per 9 as well.
Promoting Lavender in September has no future roster implications involving the Rule 5 Draft as he’s not eligible for it until after the 2024 season. By then the Mets should have already given him an opportunity. He has been consistent enough in his three big league seasons. He deserves a look.
Calling up a relief pitcher makes more sense than any hitter. Getting his feet wet now in the final weeks of the 2023 season could give the team a strong preview of what he can do against big league pitching. He can compete in the spring, but why not let him compete now in games where the opponent is trying their best (for the most part) with lineups not made up of position players with linemen numbers on the backs of their jerseys?