Thursday Thought: Where does the Mets rotation rank after Jacob deGrom's injury?

New York Yankees v New York Mets
New York Yankees v New York Mets / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

The New York Mets have had some problems in their starting rotation in the last week. What was once expected to be the best rotation in baseball has been somewhat diminished due to injuries. Jacob deGrom is going to miss about two months with a stress reaction in his shoulder, Taijuan Walker is having issues with the knee he had surgery on during the offseason, and Max Scherzer has a sore hamstring, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll miss time from it.

The Mets were supposed to have the best rotation in baseball, but where do they rank now?

#1 Brewers 

  1. Corbin Burnes
  2. Brandon Woodruff
  3. Freddy Peralta
  4. Adrian Houser
  5. Eric Lauer/Aaron Ashby

The Brewers were challenging the Mets for the #1 spot before deGrom got hurt, so they are the easy choice to slide up a spot. Burnes and Woodruff will be contending for the Cy Young award, and it wouldn’t shock me if Peralta is in the discussion as well. Houser and Lauer were really good at the backend last year, and Aaron Ashby is expected to take a step forward after coming out of the ‘pen last year.

#2 Blue Jays 

  1. Jose Berrios
  2. Kevin Gausman
  3. Hyun-Jin Ryu
  4. Alek Manoah
  5. Yusei Kikuchi

The Blue Jays have become a powerhouse team after fully going for it this offseason. They extended Jose Berrios after trading for him last season, they signed Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi, and Alek Manoah has cemented himself in the rotation after a great rookie season. If this team can get Hyun-jin Ryu to bounce back, this rotation will be special. Combine it with their offense, and they’ll be looking like the Dodgers of the American League.

#3 Padres

  1. Yu Darvish
  2. Blake Snell
  3. Joe Musgrove
  4. Sean Manaea
  5. Chris Paddack (until Mike Clevinger returns)

The Padres’ rotation doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Yu Darvish is still solid at the top entering his age 35 season. Blake Snell racks up strikeouts, even when he has problems going deep into games. Joe Musgrove is the true ace on this team out of the third slot, posting a 3.18 ERA and 203 strikeouts last year. Sean Manaea was a great addition who can help hold down the rotation until Mike Clevinger returns. Chris Paddack is simply a warm body to fill a roster spot until Clevinger comes back. Thankfully, the Mets didn’t make that trade.

#4 Giants

  1. Logan Webb
  2. Carlos Rodon
  3. Anthony DeSclafani
  4. Alex Wood
  5. Alex Cobb

The Giants have a really solid, under-rated rotation. Logan Webb had a breakout season last year and enters 2022 looking to establish himself as a true ace. Carlos Rodon had a fantastic 2021, albeit with some health concerns at the end of the year that can be forgotten if he repeats last year’s performance with no issues. Anthony DeSclafani is one of the most dependable mid-rotation arms in the game. The two Alex’s at the back are consistent, and on a good night, they can strike some guys out.

#5 White Sox 

  1. Lucas Giolito
  2. Dylan Cease
  3. Dallas Keuchel
  4. Michael Kopech
  5. Reynaldo Lopez (until Lance Lynn comes back)

The White Sox are another team that dropped due to an important starter missing serious time. Lance Lynn was supposed to be the #2 starter, but he has a small tear in a ligament near his knee that will cause him to miss about a month. This rotation should be fine until he returns, with high-end guys at the top in Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease, an innings-eater in Dallas Keuchel, a breakout candidate in Michael Kopech, and a once-top-prospect in Reynaldo Lopez. They also signed Johnny Cueto as a depth arm, so we might see him shaking and baking in Chicago sooner than later.

#6 Dodgers

  1. Walker Buehler
  2. Clayton Kershaw
  3. Julio Urias
  4. Tony Gonsolin
  5. Andrew Heaney

This is the worst Dodgers rotation we’ve seen in years yet it’s still really good. Buehler, Kershaw, and Urias is an elite top three, while Gonsolin has shown a lot of promise as a prospect and is looking to solidify himself in the Major League rotation. Heaney is something of a reclamation project after a very bad year with the Yankees, but the Dodgers can squeeze something out of him.

#7 Braves

  1. Max Fried
  2. Charlie Morton
  3. Ian Anderson
  4. Huascar Ynoa
  5. Kyle Wright

The top end of the Braves rotation is strong, but the back has questions. Fried and Morton are established stars, Anderson is a dependable #3, and then it gets interesting. Huascar Ynoa has shown promise, but he’s never pitched more than half of a season in The Show. He might’ve done it last year, but he fractured his hand punching the bench. Can he control his temper? Who knows. Kyle Wright is another promising young guy, but he’s yet to prove it in the Majors. Even if he’s good, he might get bounced if Mike Soroka makes an unlikely return from his second Achilles tear.

#8 Mets

  1. Tylor Megill (until Jacob deGrom comes back)
  2. Max Scherzer
  3. Chris Bassitt
  4. Carlos Carrasco
  5. Taijuan Walker

Coming in at #8, it’s our New York Mets. This rotation will suffer from deGrom being out for two months or more, but Tylor Megill is a nice depth piece that can step in until deGrom ramps up. Scherzer and Bassitt are two really good arms that can keep this team’s playoff hopes alive. Carrasco needs to perform better than last year and stay healthy. Walker has already had knee issues so that is a concern heading into the season with David Peterson likely filling that role if needed.

The Phillies would be #9 and the Astros would be #10, but I want to keep those brief. The Phillies have a great top two in Wheeler and Nola, but it really drops off after that. The Astros are banking on Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia to repeat last year’s performance, which is certainly possible but they are so young and don’t have much of a track record to prove that they will. They also are hoping for a stellar return from Justin Verlander, which I have a hard time believing in after Tommy John surgery and losing his sticky stuff. He's also 39.

As of Opening Day, this is how I would rank the top 10 starting rotations in baseball. Obviously a lot will change as the season goes on. On the positive side, pitchers like Jacob deGrom, Lance Lynn, and Mike Clevinger will return from injury, prospects will get called up, and some will outperform their projections. On the negative side, some pitchers will get hurt, sent down or underperform. Trades will happen as well, so maybe we’ll revisit this list after the trade deadline.

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