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Mets Pitchers Report Today, Are Better Than Advertised

It is quite fitting that today is unseasonably warm because we have the first sign of Spring with the Mets pitchers and catchers officially reporting to Spring Training.  No matter what your opinion on the Mets offseason, this time of year always brings a bit of hope for the fanbase because seeing the Mets players in uniform, you can begin to dream the players can put it all together and win the World Series.

For the Mets, like it has since 2015, the entire hope surrounds the starting pitching.

Now, there are people who are claiming there isn’t enough.  They still want the Mets to go out and sign Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, or any number of a group of free agent starters who didn’t compile 200 innings, were coming off injuries themselves, or really just couldn’t even sniff this Mets rotation when healthy.  In fact, you could argue with their recent injury histories and peripherals, Lynn and Cobb are just more of the same. Actually, what the Mets have is just better.

That’s part of the reason why the narrative the Mets did nothing to address their franchise worst pitching needs to end right now.

The first move the Mets had made this offseason to address the pitching was to go out and hire Mickey Callaway.  If you are going to be a pitching staff built on pitching, Callaway was the inspired choice.  Joining him on his pitching staff is Dave Eiland, who is renown for his ability to work with pitchers.  One of his keys to success is how he helps pitchers with their mechanics, which in turn, helps reduce injury.

Speaking of injuries, gone is favorite punching bag Ray Ramirez.  In his place is Jim Cavallini, who will oversee everything related to player care and conditioning.  This includes nutrition, sleep science, injury prevention, and rehabilitation.  Apparently, after all these years of injuries, the Mets are finally interested in getting players to eat better, sleep better, and take better care of themselves.

And yes, we know even with that Zack Wheeler needed osteoarthritis injections this offseason.  Matt Harvey has not been able to stay healthy since that magical 2013 season.  Steven Matz has continued to suffer one injury after another.  Technically speaking, Seth Lugo is pitching with a torn UCL much like the Yankees have seen with Masahiro Tanaka.

Yes, these injuries and injury histories exist, but as noted, the Mets finally have the people in place to not only help prevent those injuries from happening again, but also to get Harvey, Wheeler, and Matz back to form.  If they are, watch out because this is a pitching staff that can once again lead the Mets to the World Series.

If not?  Well, there’s real pitching depth in the Mets organization.  As noted above, there’s Lugo.  The team also have Robert Gsellman and Chris Flexen.  Yes, they both struggled last season, but they have an opportunity to learn from those struggles.  They also have the support system with Eiland, Callaway, and Mickey Abbott in Las Vegas.

Behind them are some intriguing prospects in Triple-A.  Corey Oswalt was the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year.  P.J. Conlon continues to defy the odds with his under 90 MPH stuff to pitch to a minor league career 2.35 ERA.  Marcos Molina is healthy after Tommy John, and he looks to build off a strong season.  Mickey Jannis is a late blooming knucke ball pitcher much in the same vein as R.A. Dickey.  And if you want to get deeper, Ricky Knapp rejuvenated himself after struggling in Vegas by pitching completely lights out as he helped pitch the Rumble Ponies to the Eastern League playoffs.

And if you are masochistic, this could finally be the year for Rafael Montero.

Point is, unlike last year, the Mets have actual starting pitching depth to start the season.  If one goes down, there’s two or three behind them to pick up the slack.  The team has a manager and pitching coach better suited to getting these pitchers to reaching their full potential.

Sure, it would be nice to see the Mets add a pitcher or two on a minor league deal to serve as a swing man, but even if the Mets don’t make that move, they have the depth they need in the organization.  Today is the day that group gets in peak physical shape and realizes their full potential.

And if you have a hard time believing me, sit down, take a deep breath, and remember the first two games of the season will have Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard starting for the Mets.  If you can’t get excited about that, nothing will.

26 thoughts on “Mets Pitchers Report Today, Are Better Than Advertised”

  1. Albert says:

    Very dumb article Mets only have 2 good starters, for the 2,000th time. A healthy Wheeler, Matz, and Harvey doesn’t lock down anything. They AREN’T GOOD. Healthy or hurt.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Apparently, you missed the 2015 season. When the Mets had a healthy deGrom, Syndergaard, Harvey, and Matz, they went to the World Series.

  2. Albert says:

    Josh tomlin era was 5 under Callaway in 2017 . Trever Bauer era was 4.3 . Eiland was fired the royals era was close to 5 the last 2 years its not the coach its the players

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Bad pitchers will pitch bad even with great pitching coaches. It’s why I didn’t tout Montero as a possible reclamation project by this coaching staff.

      Overall, Callaway and Eiland got the most out of their pitchers in their respective stops. That should continue this year, and with the talent the Mets have, it should prove to be an exciting season . . . at least from the pitching front.

  3. OldBackstop says:

    I agree with your article, but not your reply. in 2015 the Mets got 31 and 29 starts from Colon and Niese, respectively, and they combined for a record of 23-23. Those guys had combined for 60 starts in 2014.

    That is the argument, that a couple (or one) veterans of back of the rotation talent who have given someone 30 starts and a .500 record be added. We have the opposite….five young guys with potential middle-to-front of the rotation talent who don’t have a record of burning innings. (plus Thor and his seven starts last year).

    If we are going to play roulette I’d like to see more chips on the table. Throw some minor league contracts at a couple of talented vets who are probably done……but who knows. Bartolo signed with the Rangers, and he would have maybe been an entanglement with his fan popularity. But a Linecum and one of the 15 other similar stories would spread the odds around a bit.

    Lets say we have the seven guys: DeGrom, Thor, Harvey, Matz, Wheeler, Lugo and Gsiellman. How many total seasons do those guys have under their belt of, say, 25 starts?

    Now add up the just the starting five of the Brewers, the Cubs, the Nats, the Dodgers, and whoever else you think will be in the playoff mix.

    I don’t have time to do it, but I suspect the numbers would be depressing.

    It is a very underrated skill in sports to pitch 25 starts with even a break even record. I’d like to have one guy that has done it a few times, particularly since Harvey looks like he is pitching BP and is done.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      In any season, you need to find 162 starts. That’s the end game. It’s just a matter of how you get there.

      For the moment, let’s assume JdG and Thor are healthy, and they combine for 62 starts.

      From there, you need some combination to get you the last 100.

      Last year, Harvey, Matz, and Wheeler combined to give the Mets 48 starts. Let’s assume they can at least repeat that.

      That leaves you with 52 to figure out. Lugo and Gsellman combined to give the Mets 40 last year.

      It’s reasonable to assume those seven can give you the 150 starts next year.

      The question is do you bring in a Lynn to get you those 12, or do you look to a prospect?

      I’d much rather the prospect, and if he fails, and you need an SP, swing a deal for another one.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        As my son likes to say, yeah…..no. You don’t merely need starts, you need guys who are at least playing to a competitive level starting for you.
        Let’s look at last year’s ERA:
        Yes, Harvey, Matz and Wheeler combined for 48 starts. But their ERA’s were:
        Harvey: 6.70
        Matz: 6.08
        Wheeler: 5.21
        Keep going….
        Montero, 18 starts, 5.52
        Gsellman, 22 starts, 5.19
        Lugo 18 starts, 4.71
        How does that lay out.
        The WORST qualifying pitchers in the NL in 2017:
        Matt Moore: 5.51
        Clayton Richard 4.78
        Ty Blach 4.78
        Luis Perdome 4.67
        So, had the guys you listed qualified (162 innings), we would have had:
        the worst pitcher in the NL in Harvey
        the third worst in Matz
        the fourth worst in Montero
        the fifth worst in Wheeler
        the sixth worst in Gsellman
        and the seventh worst in Lugo

        So, no…..we can’t just say “if we can get 48 wins outta…” These guys can’t just be healthy and play a full season, which is HIGHLY unlikely, but they ALSO have to be a HELL of a lot more effective than last year.
        You could run the numbers on percentage of quality starts, or IP per start, and they would dig the whole deeper. Matt Harvey had four (4) QS out of 18. None of those guys average 5 IP. Yeah, they can “start” but if they are handing the ball off after 4 2/3rds….
        Might they all be healthy and in some combination combine for 100 starts (20 ish each). Maybe. Will those 100 starts net out to better than the 3-4-5 pitchers of the teams we are jockeying with for the playoffs?
        The smart money woyld be suspicious as hell about the odds on that.
        Now, if we had some type of Bartolo/2015 vet inning burner to go 14-13 in 31 starts, and we are looking for the best of those guys to compete out for 70 starts, that is an enormous change.
        I’m not asking them to go get Arrieta. But Cashner would be nice.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Remember, when Eiland and Callaway took their jobs, they took them to coach this pitching staff. When the Mets considered trading Harvey, they interceded.

          The reason why is they believe in this talent. Combine that with their track records, you have to believe they know how to get these guys back to form.

          With the new and revamped training staff and approach, you can keep these guys on the field.

          If they are healthy and productive, you’re pitching them, and you’re not going to pitch a Cashner or Lynn.

          By the way, Cashner and Lynn had a worse FIP than Montero, who we all readily admit is horrendous.

          To that end, ask yourself this – if someone is worse than Montero, why are you bringing them in to pitch over guys who can actually pitch well?

  4. OldBackstop says:

    Correction, none of those guys average 6 IP per start.

  5. Gothamist says:

    This team is not loaded with the balance of a historic playoff team . They seem to be focusing on the players they do have in 2018, the new 1-2 punch of Callaway Eiland.

    They are not giving up intl money on a tendered player.
    Who has this post season, the Cubs?

    Only If they can land a durable Lynn to eat innings it may make sense…
    The kid on TB, is it Archer, that is a pitcher to start against the Nats.

    YOU HAVE TO FIRST MAKE THE PLAYOFFS, every starter should be able to shut down the Dodgers, DBacks, Cubs, Nats etc for five innings and one run sometimes…

    They signed and picked up off waivers the Tommy Milones last year..

    Signing Lynnis a solid, yet they have to start negotiations on long term deals with Harvey, Ramos or Familia as early as June… before the trade deadline…

    If a vet like Lincecum is willing to start in AAA and be insurance if a starter goes to the DL then fine…

    If I had to chose Wheeler or Gsellman now and see who will last to September and pitch with focus I would choose Gsellman.

    I am very curious what Flexen learned last year.

  6. OldBackstop says:

    Until I did the exercise above to look at where we stood in terms of 2017 NL pitchers, I did not realize how bad this is…

    We have two pitchers, DeGrom and Thor, from who we can expect a full season of above average pitching.

    Then we have two guys with chronic arm issues coming into the year, Matz and Lugo..

    In total we have five guys who couldn’t answer the bell last year and the little bit they did ranked them as the worst pitchers in the league.

    A real playoff team would have four proven starters and Matz, Wheeler, Harvey, Lugo and Gsellman, would be in “prove you are healthy and you are battling for the 5 spot/Triple A/long relief/DFA/dump trade” category based on 2017..

    I saw the stuff about the Orioles and Rangers being interested in Harvey, and I don’t get why a trade of Harvey would be turned down….or why anyone would want him. He isn’t making the minimum….he got $5.6 mil in arb. After this year he has Boras shopping him. If he does spectacular in 2018, the Mets won’t be able to sign him for the deal Boras will be aiming for.. . If he does okay the Mets won’t be able to sign him either.. If he does terribly (again) the Mets won’t want to sign him.. There is no possible scenario in which Harvey will be in NY in 2019.

    Your idea….well, the prevailing hope that we can cobble together 12 starts from this guy and 15 from that one….that somebody is going to sit for 8 days, or bounce from long relief, or come off the DL, or fly in from Vegas and give us professional starts in the 3,4,5 slots was proven not to work last year.

    That is not how a playoff team is built. The Nationals pay Strasburg more than our entire combined payroll of our seven starting pitchers. They also pay Scherzer more than our seven. They damn near pay Gio more as well

    You cite 2015……in 2015 we weren’t cobbling starts from guys bouncing around. We had four guys with 29 plus starts and Thor with 24..

    1. metsdaddy says:

      The Mets literally built a postseason team this way in 2016

  7. OldBackstop says:

    That got too long, but let’s look at Callawa.

    Great staff in 2017. But those guys all gave him 20 plus starts in 2016, and three of them in 2015.

    We don’t have a bunch of 23 year old kids here, except for Thor and Gsellman the others are closer to 30 than 25….if you believe the numbers, they are in their prime or teetering at the tipping point, and have not shown the durability to be a major league starter. Matz isn’t a kid he’d headed to his Age 27, Lugo and Wheeler into their Age 28, Harbey to his Age 29, Jake to his Age 30.

    I think in our heads they are all 24, but they are largely guys with some major injuries on their records.

    Callaway probably didn’t want to trade Harvey for some Ranger prospect because he is the only one of the Flounder Five who has had some full season success.

    But Callawy isn’t brining the healing hands of Jesus here. He was working in Cleveland with some young guys who had been turning in multiple 30 start seasons. The Mets guys are older and injury prone.

    It’s all too fragile. Callaway is going to make all the optimistic noises….what else can he do? This isn’t an owner who is going to add a stud, he knows that.

    And, not for nothing, but I saw him interviewed last week, and he hasn’t met with almost any players, and he hasn’t been addressing their off season stuff except some phone chats. He isn’t going to waive his hand over Lugo and Matz and fix their f’ed up elbows. He isn’t going to give Lugo and Gsellman and Montero some ace stuff that no one else has noticed. And he if he turns Harvey back into an ace we get 30 games out of him and he is off to the bank.

    I guarantee you he knows he is in a fragile position, although his job requires blowing sunshine at season ticket sales this winter.

    As I said above, we have five guys to fill three spots, and the five in reality should actually be battling for a maybe 5, maybe long relief, maybe move on. It’s bad enough they are playing for two spots, frightening that they are being counter on for three..

    We need a professional arm.

    If I had to give a likely, slightly pessimistic downside I’d guess Lugo and Matz will be back on the DL before June 1, Harvey will continue to look like he’s pitching BP, Montero is done in the majors, and Wheeler and Gsellman (who I like a lot) will step up into 4-5 guys,

    That leaves us short a number three. And that is a team that will be doing another July teardown.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      The Mets do have a lot of young arms. For starters, they have Gsellman, Flexen, and Oswalt on the 40 man roster.

      And all the arms the Mets have are “professional arms.” More to the point, they are really better options than throwing away a second round pick and IFA money on a guy who couldn’t crack this rotation when everyone is healthy, which by the way, they are right now.

  8. Five Tool Ownership says:

    There is no pipeline, no owner sophistication conbined w balls, incredulously ownership focusing on not failing on a FA signing is a guaranteed focus away from getting it right, no FA cash to sign nor leverage at tradeable contracts (Andrew Miller), no willingness in the best of circumstances to sign and retain their own starters.

    The only crapshoot is with what they have.

    While they jerk around the loyal fan base, while they never maintain good relationships with former players, expecially the long term contract ines they signed, they might as well give Harvey a second year after his shoulder setback (they should have been doing MRIs every month last year) after his two very major surgeries.

    They have a better chance w Harvs than with any unsigned minor league deal starter making a comeback.

    Harvey did great things here, his incredible FIP in 2013 for little pay and no matter what staying with him until free agency will pay off far beyond 2018. They stuck with him as long as they could.

    If this was the Cubs, where they are today, then they would have him on a short leash ready to trade him in May.

    What are the Vegas odds of the Mets winning the division? Get sober!

    1. metsdaddy says:

      The Mets have some real pitching depth in the minors, so yes, there is a pipeline.

  9. Five Tool Ownership says:

    Elaborate:

    SHOW US A PITCHER WITH THREE OF THE BELOW

    -Via plus pitches
    -Dominance
    -Consistency
    -Winning minor league playoff or college series
    -Major league analytics
    -Previous spring dominance of MLB batters

    Look at Scranton Wilkes-Barre 2017:

    Then show us comparable stats in the entire Met system collectively?????

    Rumbelow, Cortes, Gallegos, Caleb Smith, Domingo German, Adams, Montgomery

    Just show us Met farmhands with minor league playoff or college experience even with a 10.00 ERA…

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Corey Oswalt 12-5, 2.28 ERA, 2 CG, SHO, 1.176 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 8.0 K/9

      Game 1 Eastern League Playoff:

      (W) 7.0 IP, 5 H, R, ER, BB, 7 K

    2. metsdaddy says:

      Stop with the copying and pasting other articles in the comments section

  10. Five Tool Ownership says:

    Incredible!

    I will give you those seven Yankee AAA farmhand hurlers for Corey…?
    Deal?

    Btw, a pipeline has consistent flow year after year…

    1. metsdaddy says:

      You mean like how the Mets pipeline has produced:

      2012 Harvey and Familia
      2013 Wheeler
      2014 deGrom
      2015 Syndergaard and Matz
      2016 Lugo and Gsellman
      2017 Flexen and Sewald

      This doesn’t even include Bowman and Fulmer.

      We can also see pitchers like Oswalt, Molina, Dunn, Peterson, Szapucki, etc over the next few years.

      For me, I’ll take the Mets pitching pipeline over the Yankees.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        We are all fans, and I guess we fall in love with the kids. But, again, the reply is our “young” pitching. They ain’t young anymore. Every franchise can point to “kids” in the minors….we have 100 guy in the Top 100 MLB prospects, and is number 94 and a shortstop,
        If you look at the grim realities of guys at the age and with the numbers of Lugo, Harvey, Wheeler, Montero….they don’t add up to guys who pop up and string tpgether a bunch of plus years in their late 20s after ranking, literally, as the worst starting pitchers in the league.
        y
        I.”t’s loyal and optimistic, it just isn’t realistic. If you are hoping to get 48 starts from three different guys, you are planning on three guys who are going to be giving injured, unsettled, half seasons, which is not inducive to quality.

        You can’t say “We shou;dn’t bring in X, the veteran innings burner, because Wheeler, Matx, etc might be better if they can suddenly become every five day guys..”

        Guys who can’t make it through 20 game starts of 6 IP average at league average quality at 27 have a name.

        Reliever…..
        ..

        1. metsdaddy says:

          No, I’m saying you don’t bring in a bad pitcher recently off an injury because the Mets already have that, and the ones they have are better.

          Sure, it would behoove them to add a Vargas as a swing guy who could also provide depth. However, it’s plain dumb to bring in a worse pitcher and guarantee him a rotation spot.

          I’d rather have strength in numbers than strength in bad pitchers. But that’s just me. I’m silly, and I like watching good baseball.

  11. Five Tool Ownership says:

    You are chicken s***!

    1. metsdaddy says:

      What prompted this inane comment?

  12. Pingback: Vargas Predictable

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