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Seth Lugo Is a Better Choice Than Gabriel Ynoa Right Now

Matt Harvey having season ending surgery has put the Mets rotation in flux, and it could potentially lead towards the team deciding which one of their prospects should be added to the rotation. With Robert Gsellman only having made one AAA start and his being on the disabled list, there are only two prospects the Mets have to choose from – Gabriel Ynoa and Seth Lugo.

For many, the obvious choice is Ynoa. The 23 year old Ynoa has been regarded as one of the top prospects in the Mets minor league system. He has progressed rather quickly through the Mets minor league system which is all the more remarkable when you consider how conservative this front office tends to be with their prospects. In this his first full season in AAA, Ynoa was named a Pacific Coast League All Star. He is 9-3 with a 3.92 ERA and a 1.353 WHIP in his first 17 starts. These are impressive numbers when you consider Ynoa pitches to contact and that he’s pitching in a hitter’s friendly league. Given his status as a Mets top prospect and the fact that he is pitching well in AAA, it seems like he would be the obvious choice to join the Mets rotation over a pitcher like Lugo.

The 26 year old Lugo was the Mets 2011 34th round selection out of Centenary College of Louisiana. That’s a Division III NCAA school. This season he lost his spot in the AAA rotation due to how poorly he had been pitching. Overall, Lugo has made 13 starts and six relief appearances going 3-4 with a 6.55 ERA and a 1.675 WHIP. These are ugly numbers that were brought up time and again when the Mets first called him up to the majors to pitch out of the bullpen. However, in his first relief appearance, we quickly found out why we scout a pitcher for their repertoire instead of their stats when he struck out Anthony Rizzo with a filthy curveball:

As you can see, Lugo has a filthy curveball that can get fool even the best major league hitters. Lugo combines that pitch with a fastball in the mid 90s, a slider in the upper 80s, and a developing changeup. This is the repertoire Lugo used to pitch two scoreless innings against a Cubs team that has scored the most runs in the National League. This is the same repertoire Lugo was developing when he went 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.185 WHIP in five AAA starts last year. Overall, you can reasonably argue that Lugo’s fastball and curveball are two plus major league ready pitches. As we have seen with a number of Mets pitchers, time spent with Dan Warthen will only help him further develop that slider. Despite his early season struggles, he’s arguably more ready to succeed in the majors.

In fact, Lugo has had success in his limited work with the Mets this year.  In the aforementioned game against the Cubs, Lugo pitched two scoreless innings allowing only two hits while striking out two.  When he had to take the place of an injured Noah Syndergaard, Lugo responded with two scoreless and hitless innings against the Nationals.  Lugo is clearly proving he can get big league hitters out, and that the Mets should consider him for a rotation spot.

Montero, on the other hand, struggled in his last start.  He lasted only four innings allowing 10 hits, five earned, and one walk while striking out only two. In his last three starts, Ynoa has averaged 4.2 innings with a 9.42 ERA and a 2.163 WHIP.  Ynoa has hit a bump, and he needs to remain in AAA to make the necessary adjustments.

Right now, Lugo is better equipped to get out major league hitters.  He’s a better bet to succeed in the Mets rotation. Lugo should get his shot.

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