Mets History

Mets starting rotation from the mid-2010s could have been special

By Mason Smoller
Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Mets
Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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Noah Syndergaard
Wild Card Game - San Francisco Giants v New York Mets / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Mets two all-star pitchers

It may not be talked about much, but Bartolo Colon’s 2016 season was something straight from the storybooks. In his 19th season in the majors, Colon was an All-Star and started a team-high 33 games. Not only did he eat innings, but his 3.43ERA shows that Colon showed out in his last year as a Met.

The same can be said about Noah Syndergaard, who joined Colon on the All-Star team. His 2.60ERA and 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings displayed that Syndergaard wasn’t capable of being elite, rather, he already was.

Two promising seasons

Here is where the injuries come into play. Both Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz made over 20 starts in 2016 but fell below the 150 innings pitched mark. When it came time for the playoffs (Mets vs San Francisco Giants Wild Card), neither were available as they were out the season.

Like all Mets pitchers that season, the defense behind them faltered. Nevertheless, deGrom had the least memorable year of his career, as elbow issues sidelined in September. Ultimately, deGrom finished with a 3.04ERA in 148 innings pitched, with a career-low of 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

Steven Matz on the other hand finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting. Despite only pitching 132.1 innings, Matz provided the team with the backend starter they needed even with his inconsistent location. Except, as Matz battled elbow issues during the season, a shoulder injury ended his season in mid-August.

Zack Wheeler a no-show

As previously mentioned, Zack Wheeler was always the wild card of the rotation. His Tommy John recovery wound up eliminating his 2016 season in addition to 2015, as Wheeler would not return to the Mets starting rotation until 2017.

The Dark Knight falls

The 2016 Mets season will be remembered in large part for the meteoric decline of Matt Harvey. The former All-Star pitcher wasn’t in baseball shape, lost velocity, and struggled with ball placement. Quickly, Harvey went from the most reliable ace of the rotation to the most volatile.

Harvey finished with a 4.86ERA in 17 starts, as numerous injuries plagued him throughout the season. By July he was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, which led to him opting to undergo season-ending surgery. Very few pitchers are ever the same afterward, and Harvey would soon join that list.

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