Mets claim an undersized pitcher with upside off waivers to replace David Peterson's roster spot

Kolton Ingram could be more than a temporary addition to the Mets roster.
Cleveland Guardians v Los Angeles Angels
Cleveland Guardians v Los Angeles Angels / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

The New York Mets won their first game of Grapefruit League action and celebrated by making a waiver claim on recently designated for assignment lefty reliever Kolton Ingram. He’ll take the roster spot held by David Peterson who has now been transferred to the 60-day IL.

A name that sounds more like it belongs in the NFL or in the opening credits of a tween drama on the CW, Ingram is actually a rather impressive southpaw who fits the modus operandi of what David Stearns has done all offseason. His minor league numbers are hard to ignore with big strike totals and consistent run prevention.

Ingram doesn’t have much of a major league career to reference. Last year’s 5.1 innings with the Los Angeles Angels is all he has been given. The 5 earned runs given up don’t clue us into what his ceiling looks like. His minor league numbers, on the other hand, could hint at a ceiling worthy of a small step ladder.

Why the Mets waiver claim of Kolton Ingram actually matters

Ingram joins the Mets with two minor league options remaining which is important because it’ll allow them to be patient with him. A 3.21 ERA in 33.2 Triple-A innings last year and a strikeout rate of 10.4 per 9 hints at the chance of Ingram growing into a high-lever arm in the absolute best case scenario.

The worst case is he’s a lefty reliever the Mets turn to in a time of need. That need, likely to extend only if they’re working without Jake Diekman or Brooks Raley, would have Ingram competing alongside players such as Josh Walker, Danny Young, and the youngest of them all, Nate Lavender. The Mets haven’t been shy about taking fliers on waiver claims throughout the offseason and we shouldn’t expect it to slow down with spring training games underway.

The Mets have a whole bunch of DFA candidates sitting on their 40-man roster. Four or five of those players are likely to get cut before Opening Day and either find a new home, accept a minor league assignment, or end up in baseball purgatory as a free agent.

Snagging Ingram now while the roster spot is available is much better than waiting to fill it closer to Opening Day as other teams cut players. Those players tend to be the final scraps who lack options. The beauty of this addition is Ingram fills a vacant seat. The Mets can assess him beyond just spring training and determine if he really is someone who can find his control, continue to strike out batters, and translate some impressive minor league numbers into major league success.

Undersized for a pitcher at only 5’9 and 170 pounds, the numbers that matter aren’t the ones on the growth chart. It’s the ones in the box score and Baseball Savant page we’ll care about much more.