Future Starts Tonight With Chris Flexen
While many Mets fans wanted Amed Rosario or Dominic Smith to be the first major call-up of the 2017 season, with Zack Wheeler‘s potentially season ending injury, that honor is going to go to Mets right-handed pitcher Chris Flexen.
Heading into the 2017 season, Flexen was added to the 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, and Mets Minors rated him the Mets 20th best prospect. As noted in the prospect analysis, Flexen had all the tools to be a good starting pitcher. His fastball is the mid to upper 90s. His curveball was a devastating out pitch. What was holding him back was the refinement of his change-up, and his delivery.
In 10 starts this year, Flexen is 6-1 with two complete games, a 1.76 ERA, 0.815 WHIP, and a 9.2 K/9. For a pitcher that spent much of his professional career struggling with control he has dropped his BB/9 from 3.4 last year to 1.5 this year. Opposing batters are hitting just .183/.217/.260 against him. Put simply, Flexen has been a dominant starting pitcher this year who has certainly earned a call to the major leagues.
When he toes the rubber on a major league mound for the first time tonight, Flexen brings not just his big right arm, but he also brings hope in what has been an otherwise dismal 2018 season.
He brings the hope Matt Harvey did when he went from a start in 2012 to starting the 2013 All Star Game. He brings the hope we saw when Jacob deGrom took an unexpected opportunity and became the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year. Noah Syndergaard and his 100 MPH gave you hope the 2015 Mets could win a World Series, and he did his part being the only Mets pitcher to win a World Series Game at Citi Field. We also had hope that hot June afternoon when Steven Matz and his grandfather become beloved figures.
All four of these pitchers turned that hope into a National League Pennant in 2015. It has been a rough road since, but the Mets are not far away from returning to that point. Seeing Flexen toe the rubber tonight, we can once again have hope and dream the Mets can return to the World Series.
Flexen has a big arm, and he has been dominating the minor leagues. He is joining a pitching staff who very well know what it is like to dominate hitters. He’s joining a pitching staff that wants to get back to that point. If he pitches well enough tonight and for the rest of the season, he may very well be a member of that rotation in 2018.
That’s what Flexen’s start tonight is. It’s hope. Hope that the 2017 season was just a one year blip. Hope the Mets have another big arm who can complete the rotation. Hope the Mets can win the World Series as soon as next year.