The New York Mets will need someone to start in place of Max Scherzer for the next 6-8 weeks. It’s an unfortunate blow for the first place team in the National League East but not a death sentence. They do have some nice internal options. One of the best is Thomas Szapucki.
Szapucki has made six starts for the Syracuse Mets, gone 0-3, and delivered a 3.00 ERA. Possibly his last chance to prove to everyone he belongs as a starter, he is second behind only Trevor Williams as the obvious replacement for Scherzer.
In case you’re keeping count at home, David Peterson is already replacing Tylor Megill although the technicalities in the timing of it all may not suggest so. However you want to angle it, the decision does come down to Szapucki or Williams. This is the case for the former.
Why the Mets should use Thomas Szapucki in the rotation instead of Trevor Williams
Trevor Williams had a fine start in game one of the Mets doubleheader on Tuesday which helped make up for his poor outing earlier this year against the Arizona Diamondbacks. His purpose on this ball club has been to provide them with spot starts and give their bullpen length. It is precisely the way Buck Showalter has used him with mostly good results.
Williams is a far more experienced pitcher than Szapucki so it’s understandable why the Mets may ultimately decide to go with him. However, it does change the long man option in the bullpen. Whoever it is the Mets would then decide to hand that role over to might not be so adept at not pitching for several days then having to enter on short notice.
Since joining the Mets in mid-2021, Williams has been good in this role. Those short-notice starts have had some mixed results. When he takes the mound in relief, there has been good and bad. It’s the reason why he isn’t a big league start anymore but can still be called upon to make those outings every so often.
In a pinch, Williams makes a lot of sense. Over the course of several weeks, the Mets should see what Szapucki can give them. Is he truly a guy with a bright big league future for them or someone they should transition into the bullpen sooner than later? Now is the time to find out. A single misstep and they can easily reverse course.
Last year, the Mets took a chance on Tylor Megill after he gave them no other choice because of how well he pitched in the minors. Szapucki has been on the radar for much longer than Megill was. Before last season began, he wasn’t even a prospect. Szapucki has been hanging around for several years, undergone major surgery, and remaining a promising minor leaguer.
Now down another ace, let’s see what he can give the Mets.