Who’s the Fourth Member of the Big 4?

When discussing the 2016 Mets, I see many people referring to their Big 4. Now, I knew there was a Big 3, who were referred to as stud muffins by Tom Seaver. My question is who is the fourth member of this proverbial Big 4. 

Let’s start with the obvious. It’s not Jon Niese. He’s the definition of an average pitcher. Also, even if he’s the fourth best pitcher, I’m assuming it’s not Jeurys Familia. I doubt a closer would be thrown in with a Big 4 starting pitching group.

No, the fourth member would be either Steven Matz or Zack Wheeler. I like both Matz and Wheeler, but they haven’t earned this distinction yet. 

In his career, Wheeler is 18-16 with a 3.50 ERA, 1.339 WHIP, and an 8.5 K/9. His ERA+ is 100, which means he’s just an average pitcher. That should be no surprise given his other statistics. While this is nothing to sneeze at, it does not merit putting him in the same conversation as Harvey, Thor, and deGrom. This is before taking his return from Tommy John into account. Wheeler is a tremendous talent, but he’s not a part of a Big 4 yet.

The more obvious choice for the Big 4 is Matz because he was in the postseason rotation. The only thing I can say about Matz right now is we had no idea what he is. He was incredible in his first two starts before being shut down with a lat injury. He was average when he came back only to hurt his back sleeping on the sofa. When he returned he was only good through five innings in the postseason. 

This isn’t a knock on him. He sat for long stretches which would challenge anyone’s effectiveness. The overall point is we don’t know what he is yet. He could very well reach the level of the stud muffins. He could also be nothing more than an average pitcher. 

Long story, short, there’s no Big 4. There could be one. There could be a Big 5. There’s a number of possibilities. However, right now it’s just a Big 3.