Carlos Carrasco

David Peterson Should Open 2023 Season In Rotation

Right now, the New York Mets are rumored to be listening to offers for Carlos Carrasco. This makes sense because the Mets should listen to offers on all of their players and make deals if it improves the team. That should go without saying.

There is also the matter of clearing up payroll to permit the Mets to address their bullpen, outfield depth, and find a better solution than Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf at DH. Mostly, the Mets would be better served by having David Peterson in the rotation.

Peterson, 27, was the Mets 2017 first round pick (20th overall) out of the University of Oregon. At his age, this is exactly the time you would be expecting his career to take off, but frankly, to date, it has not gotten started. There are several reasons why that has happened.

After a promising 2020 rookie year in the pandemic shortened season, he predictably struggled in 2021 before succumbing to a shoulder injury. This would have the Mets under Steve Cohen bypass him as they looked to build an elite rotation designed to win the World Series. Despite that, Peterson would be needed, and he would have his moments.

Overall, as a starter, Peterson was 6-5 with a 3.86 ERA, 1.341 WHIP, 4.1 BB/9, and a 10.9 K/9. He would also average 4.2 innings per start. The caveat there was in two September starts, he threw four innings total over two horrific starts. This came at a time the Mets were working to move him to the bullpen for the postseason. Without those two starts, he averaged 5+ innings per start.

No, these aren’t earth shattering numbers, and yes, the walks/control were an issue. However, there are some caveats with these numbers. He was bounced back-and-forth from the rotation and bullpen AND between the majors and Triple-A. That takes its toll on a player. Notably, Peterson did perform better in the majors than in Triple-A.

Another factor is Peterson did not get to really work with Jeremy Hefner the way the rest of the Mets pitching staff did. Notably, we did see Hefner help hone pitchers mechanics and work on their control. This was most notable with the work Hefner did with Edwin Díaz to get him to repeat his landing spot on the mound. As a result, we not only saw the best we’ve seen from the closer, but we also saw Díaz go from a 4.9 BB/9 in 2020 to a 2.6 last season.

Arguably, if Peterson is going to take that next step, he is going to need Major League coaching, be surrounded by pitchers like Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander for a full season, and really, he is going to need a chance.

Looking at the data, he is worth that chance. Per Baseball Savant, Peterson generates excellent extension, and he has a very good whiff%. That is shown with Peterson striking out 27.8% of the batters he faced last season, which is excellent. Part of the reason for that is despite lower fastball velocity and spin (which should be expected with a sinker) is Peterson’s excellent slider numbers.

It is genuinely a strikeout pitch. Batters whiffed 47.9% of the time against the pitch. In and of itself, it is worth investing in that pitch to see what more the Mets could be getting out of Peterson. That slider is a hidden gem on this Mets staff, and they need to see it in the majors instead of Triple-A.

Put another way, Peterson still has a lot of upside. In many ways, he is still raw and needs more coaching and opportunities. For an older Mets rotation, they actually need Peterson’s upside. They need the younger starter who can surprise and have a good year. Somehow, some way, the Mets just need to get Peterson into the rotation and watch him take that next step because that next step could help the Mets win the World Series.

Mets Complete Rotation Perfectly With Koudai Senga

Looking at the New York Mets rotation, it wasn’t just that it felt they needed another starter. They really needed to add a starter with upside.

Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander are both Hall of Famers still pitching like aces. However, they are still towards the end of their careers.

Josè Quintana is a guy who takes it every fifth day and gives you five innings. We saw Carlos Carrasco has become a bit of a Jekyll/Hyde routine between the age and coming back from all the injuries.

Arguably, the Mets would have been fine with one of Tylor Megill or David Peterson. However, the team needs to manufacture pitching depth, and a team who is all-in on winning the World Series needed better.

Ideally, they needed a pitcher who has real upside. Someone who could give them something they didn’t quite have. Well, the Mets found the right guy with Koudai Senga.

Senga signed with the Mets partially because he said he wanted to win now. He’s also well versed in analytics and wants a team who can help him further understand and grow. Mostly, he signed with the Mets because they are now THE destination team in Major League Baseball.

The Mets wanted Senga because he’s been a great pitcher with great stuff. He can hit 102 MPH on the gun and has a pitched dubbed the ghost forkball.

Senga, 29, pitched last season foe the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japan Pacific League. Over 22 starts, he pitched 144.0 innings (6.2 innings per start). He was 11-6 with a 1.94 RRA, 1.056 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, and a 9.8 K/9.

He completely dominated the Japanese Leagues. He’s one of their best pitchers ever, and we saw a record setting pitcher there.

If you want a downside, people can and will point you to the theory Japanese pitchers don’t translate well to the majors. Of course, that’s complete nonsense.

Sure, a pitcher like Daisuke Matsuzaka was disappointing. There are other examples including the times when the Mets grabbed pitchers like Satoru Komiyama and dubbed him and his ERA always hovering around 4.00 as the Japanese Greg Maddux.

As an aside, how did the Wilpons ever get away with stuff like that.

While the disappointments have been highlighted and discussed ad nauseum, there have been success stories. Hideo Nomo was a good Major League, a Rookie of the Year, an All-Star, and threw to no-hitters. Masahiro Tanaka was a big game pitcher for the New York Yankees.

Japanese pitchers can and will succeed in the majors. There’s no reason to believe with the Mets infrastructure and pitching coach like Jeremy Hefner that Senga won’t succeed.

The Mets needed a pitcher like Senga to take them to the next level. They got him, and now, their chances of winning the World Series have increased exponentially.

José Quintana Perfect Addition To Mets Rotation

One of the challenges the New York Mets have this offseason is rebuilding their rotation to match the one they had which carried them to 101 wins in 2021. That was going to be a challenge with the Mets needing to address four-fifths of the rotation; well, three-fifths after they picked up Carlos Carrasco‘s option.

The rotation was never really going to look the same, but it had to be as good. Arguably, it had to be better with the Mets losing in the Wild Card Series despite their top three starters lined up. The team did take a bit of a step back losing Jacob deGrom, but they responded quickly and perfectly by adding Justin Verlander.

You can say the same about the team signing José Quintana after Taijuan Walker signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Walker was a good and surprisingly durable pitcher for the Mets over the past two seasons. He showed flashes of being a top of the rotation starter, but he did have his struggles. Ultimately, he was a number three starter who pitched at the back end of the rotation. He was a very good Met, and the Mets will certainly miss him.

However, the team did rebound with Quintana. Keep in mind with the age of Max Scherzer, Verlander, and Carrasco, Quintana is “only” going to be 34 next season. He has pitched in the majors for 11 years, and the only time he did not make at least 22 starts was 2020 – 2021. One year was the pandemic (he did have an injury that season), and the other he dealt with shoulder issues.

Whatever concerns you may have after that two year stretch were abated when Quintana made 32 starts last season. The downside was he only pitched 165.2 innings meaning he averaged only five innings per start.

Part of that could be related to his coming back from two injury plagued years. He was in the bullpen in 2021, and he was moved back to the rotation. That does require some ease. Another issue is the Pirates are not very analytically advanced limiting their ability to get the most from their starters.

To a certain extent, we saw that play out when Quintana went to the St. Louis Cardinals at the trade deadline. Yes, he only averaged five innings per start, but that was skewed by a few short outings. To be fair, those happened.

Putting all of that aside for a moment, that does not change the fact Quintana took the ball every fifth day. Much like he has the vast majority of his career, he promises to do the same next season. That gives the Mets some certainty with an older rotation as they also seek to manufacture pitching depth this offseason.

With respect to the stuff, well, Quintana doesn’t wow you in any sense. He doesn’t have velocity or great spin. What he does have is the ability to locate and generate weak contact. He also generates a high number of ground balls. Even without the shift, he should be aided by having Francisco Lindor and one of Jeff McNeil or Luis Guillorme up the middle.

In the end, Quintana’s skill-set is enhanced by the defense behind him. The Mets infielders will make him seem a better pitcher, and maybe then, he can go a little deeper into games. Even if he doesn’t, he is going to take the ball every fifth day and give the Mets five solid innings. There is immense value in that, especially for an older rotation, and the Mets will benefit greatly from having signed Quintana.

Noah Syndergaard Intriguing Option

Noah Syndergaard left the New York Mets for good reasons. Those reasons included whether he believed he could handle pitching in New York with diminished velocity.

The answer was he wasn’t anywhere close to being Syndergaard. Better yet, he wasn’t Thor. Nowhere close.

Syndergaard was once known for the ability to ramp it up to 100 MPH. Instead, post Tommy John, he was throwing 94 MPH with his slider velocity similarly diminished.

What’s interesting is he did have a slight dip in velocity from April through the 2022 season. That may be an indication he’s still working his way back physically. Perhaps, there’s a couple more MPH in his right arm.

With Syndergaard, that’s the intrigue. We’ve seen it from him previously. Whoever signs him is partially betting on the ability to get Syndergaard closer to the pitcher he was.

On that front, the Mets have Jeremy Hefner. Hefner has built his reputation as an excellent pitching coach. We’ve already seen how his ability to hone mechanics helped Edwin Díaz have a phenomenal season.

Maybe it’s a mechanical issue with Syndergaard. It’s possible he just needs to rebuild arm strength. Likely, it’s a combination of the two. Again, that’s why the Mets have Hefner.

It’s also possible this is who Syndergaard is now. If that is the case, Syndergaard is still intriguing.

Looking at the 2022 numbers, he struggles getting going in the first inning. He starts to lose his control the third time through the lineup. After 100 pitches, opposing batters start hitting him very hard.

This turned Syndergaard into a five and fly guy. The Philadelphia Phillies gave him a very short leash in the postseason. He was just another fifth starter to them.

In some ways, this makes him similar to what the Mets had with Carlos Carrasco. When he returned from injury in 2021, he struggled mightily, especially in that first inning.

In 2022, it was a different story. He was still at his worst in the first, but he was better able to navigate it. Even having the same limitations as Syndergaard, he still won 15 games with a respectable 3.53 FIP.

That’s what we’ve seen with Hefner as pitching coach. If there’s something there, he’s going to help that pitcher find it. With Syndergaard, there is something there.

Per Baseball Savant, Syndergaard still limited hard contact. He also had good control with a low walk rate. Part of the reason for that is Syndergaard’s extension.

We saw Syndergaard slower to the plate this year and taking more time between pitches. Perhaps, that was a confidence issue. Maybe, he was just trying to figure it out. Whatever the case, the pitch clock promises to get him working quicker pushing him towards being more of himself.

Another thing of note is Syndergaard generated a number of ground balls with his sinker/slider combination. He’d benefit from having Francisco Lindor up the middle. A better defense can make a better pitcher.

All told, there’s enough there to talk you into Syndergaard. That’s even before following Zack Wheeler’s rocky return from Tommy John where he threw 94.8 MPH in 2017 and 96.8 two years later.

The 100 MPH may be forever gone, but in all likelihood, there’s another tick or two in that fastball (and slider). Thor is still deep down somewhere in there.

There’s definite risk with Syndergaard, but it’s probably not going to be cost prohibitive to take that risk. That’s a factor for the Mets who are looking to bring back Jacob deGrom and Brandon Nimmo while rebuilding an entire pitching staff.

For the Mets, maybe Syndergaard is worth the gamble. Maybe Hefner is that good. Maybe Syndergaard as a fifth starter can help manufacture pitching depth by forcing Tylor Megill and David Peterson to Syracuse to start the year.

In all likelihood, this probably won’t happen, and certainly, the Mets should pursue other angles first. Syndergaard may not want to return, and the Mets may have no interest in bringing him back. That said, things get weird in the offseason, and at some point, it could make sense for the two to reunite.

In the end, there may be something there with Syndergaard, and the Mets finally have the type of organization which can unlock it. We will see if that will happen.

Revisiting 2022 Bold Mets Predictions

Before the season, there were 60 bold predictions made heading into the New York Mets 60th season. Here is a look back at how those bold predictions worked out:

1. The New York Mets will win the 2022 World Series.

While they won 101 games, they collapsed late in the season, and they would lose in three games to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card round.

2.  Howie Rose will retire after the season. The Mets have already tabbed their replacement in Jake Eisenberg, and Rose could not pass up the opportunity to go out calling a Mets World Series victory.

Fortunately, Howie has not announced his retirement.

3.  Rose will return in some limited fashion to SNY and will be a fill-in replacement in 2023 and beyond.

See above.

4. Francisco Lindor will be the NL MVP. Like Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran, he’s going to have a huge second year. Unlike them, he wont’ be denied the award.

Lindor did have a huge second year, but a broken finger cost him any chance of winning the award.

5.  Dominic Smith will force his way into the lineup. Yes, he’s battling with J.D. Davis and Robinson Cano for the DH spot, but like he did in 2019 and 2020, he’s going to force his way into the everyday lineup and not relinquish his spot.

As it turned out, Smith was not given a real shot to be the DH. Not only did he not force his way into the lineup, but he was demoted to Triple-A, and he was not called up even with the expanded rosters. He was non-tendered after the season.

6.  Edwin Diaz will be an All-Star. Diaz has been an every other year pitcher in his career, and following that pattern, this is his year.

Diaz was an All-Star.

7.  The Mets All-Stars this season will be Diaz, Lindor, and Max Scherzer.

Diaz was the only All-Star from this group. The other Mets All-Stars were Pete Alonso, Starling Marte, and Jeff McNeil.

8.  Jacob deGrom will receive some Cy Young votes. Whenever he comes back, he’s going to be deGrom, and he’s going to be so great, he’s going to appear on ballots.

It started that way, but deGrom wasn’t quite as sharp when he returned. He did not receive any votes.

9.  Jeff McNeil will finish the season as the left fielder. That is an injury prone outfield, and McNeil will eventually be forced to move out there.

As it turned out, he finished the season as the right fielder, but he moved back to second when Marte returned from injury for the postseason.

10.  Robinson Cano will reclaim a starting job. We forget that when Cano played he was actually good in the field. If the outfield is as injury prone as we think, we will eventually play almost every day at second or DH.

Wow, this one was way off the mark and couldn’t have been more wrong.

11.  Chris Bassitt will have a slow first month frustrating fans, but he will have a terrific stretch starting in the middle of May as he adjusts to working with the new catchers and Jeremy Hefner.

It was the opposite for Bassitt. He was strong all season until the very end.

12.  Starling Marte is going to have a fast start and quickly become a fan favorite. When he’s snubbed at All-Star time, fans are going to be livid.

Marte was a fan favortite, and Mets fans would not let him be snubbed with their voting him in as a starter.

13. Mark Vientos will have a thrilling MLB debut. Vientos’ bat is arguably Major League ready, and he’s going to get some run during some point of the season as a third baseman or DH. He may not relinquish a spot.

For whatever which reason, the Mets were reluctant all year to give him a shot. After the Darin Ruf trade disaster, he finally got a shot in a pennant race and was less then thrilling.

14. Brett Baty will be moved at the trade deadline. With the emergence of Vientos and the ground ball problems, the Mets feel comfortable moving him for that big piece at the trade deadline.

Baty was not moved, and he would be called up to be the team’s everyday third baseman until his own season ending injury.

15. The Mets everyday catcher is not on the Opening Day roster. At some point, the Mets will swing a deal or call up Francisco Alvarez to take over as the everyday catcher.

With his ankle injury, Álvarez was only called up to DH late in the season. Tomas Nido did supplant James McCann as the starter.

16. The Philadelphia Phillies will be the Mets main contenders. Last year, the Atlanta Braves were dead in the water until the Mets were too injured. The Mets won’t do that again this year, and the Phillies pitching and hitters will give people more of a run than we think.

Well, the Phillies won the pennant, so this was only true to that extent. However, the Mets missed their every chance to bury the Braves and would eventually collapse.

17. The Atlanta Braves will not challenge the Mets at all for the division. They’ll really miss Freddie Freeman, the bullpen will falter, and they will not get Ronald Acuna Jr. back in time.

This was very true in June. It was not true at all after that.

18. Tylor Megill will last the entire season in the rotation. Now that he’s here, it is going to be difficult to remove him from the rotation. If need be, the Mets will go to a six man rotation to keep him in the majors.

Megill had a good run as a starter until he was injured. He returned late in the season and moved to the bullpen. He is likely in the mix for the rotation next season.

19. Carlos Carrasco will rebound and will pitch like he did with Cleveland, but he will not make more than 20 starts.

Shockingly, not only did Carrasco rebound, but he also made 29 starts.

20. Trevor Williams will become a huge part of the Mets bullpen as he becomes more of a fastball/slider pitcher.

Williams was a vital part of this team all season.

21. Steve Cohen will purchase SNY during the course as the 2022 season as the Wilpons are scared off by the increasing rights deals with streamers.

This did not happen.

22. The Mets will have multiple Gold Glove winners with Lindor and Marte.

The Mets did not have any winners with only Nido being a finalist. In terms of the voting, there were multiple Mets who were snubbed despite excellent defensive numbers.

23. Hefner will get interviews for managerial positions with other teams after this season.

His name has not surfaced as a managerial candidate.

24. So will Eric Chavez.

Neither has him.

25. The Mets will not have any player at DH for more than 40 games this season.

This was very close to being true. J.D. Davis was a DH in 41 games before the team mercifully got rid of him. After the trade deadline, Daniel Vogelbach was the DH in 46 games.

26. J.D. Davis will make multiple relief appearances for the Mets this season.

He did not.

27. The Joely Rodriguez trade will work out as well as the Alex Torres trade did for the Mets.

While Rodriguez had his moments, he had an 87 ERA+ making his largely true.

28. None of the Mets outfielders will play over 135 games this season.

To our collective surprise, Brandon Nimmo played a career high 151 games. Mark Canha would play 140.

29. Fans will fall in love with Nick Plummer and get more frustrated by Khalil Lee.

For a one week stretch, when Plummer hit that ninth inning homer against the Phillies, Mets fans did fall in love with him before he stopped hitting as a part time DH. No Mets fan paid any attention to Lee.

30. Mark Canha will play more games than any other Mets outfielder, but he will have the lowest WAR out of all the regular outfielders.

Canha played fewer games than Nimmo, but he did have the lowest WAR among outfielders.

31. There will be an issue over Marcus Stroman not receiving a video tribute when the Chicago Cubs visit the Mets in September.

There wasn’t any issues with Stroman during the season, and he did not pitch against the Mets this year.

32. Old Timers’ Day will have one team wearing the 1986 Mets jerseys and the other team wearing the black jerseys.

That did not happen.

33. Carlos Beltran will not return to Citi Field for Old Timers’ Day. We also will not see Carlos Delgado.

Sadly, this was true.

34. The loudest ovation on Old Timers’ Day will go to Piazza. The second loudest will go to Nolan Ryan, who will be a surprise attendee.

It was difficult to ascertain who got the loudest ovation which was a great thing.

35. The defensive highlight of the season will come from Luis Guillorme.

This award probably goes to McNeil for robbing the Oneil Cruz homer, but Guillorme had more than his fair share of highlights.

36. Pete Alonso will take a step back defensively, and he will see more time at DH than initially expected.

Alonso took a big step back defensively, but the Mets hesitated to give him more time at DH even to give him rest late in the season.

37. A week or two into the season, we will hear some rumblings about Michael Conforto looking to return to the Mets. He won’t return, and likely, he will not sign with anyone until after the Major League draft.

There were some rumblings about Conforto, but he wasn’t tied with the Mets. He also did not sign with any team.

38. Some team will crack the frequency on the pitch calling device, and we will eventually know it is them because they will be the surprise team of the 2022 season. It won’t be the Mets.

We heard nothing on that front, but we should give this one time.

39. Mets fans will actually enjoy the Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts this season.

Nope, we didn’t, and it didn’t help that David Cone was saying Mets fans would complain about them not being GKR.

40. Showalter will be the 2022 NL Manager of the Year, and it might be unanimous.

Whether or not it was the right call, Showalter won, and it was close to being unanimous.

41. Seth Lugo will return to his dominant form, but he will only be a one inning reliever. The multiple inning role will be assumed by Williams.

This one was actually true.

42. The Tom Seaver statue will be perfect.

This one should’ve been true. However, Paul Lukas of Uniwatch found the flaw.

43. Drew Smith will take over the eighth inning and will be groomed as the next closer. He will not take over the eighth due to any fault of Trevor May who will have another good year.

Smith was well on his way until injury. May did not have a great year, but that was mostly due to injury. It should be noted he stepped up late in the season and in the postseason.

44. People will talk about how Scherzer isn’t what they thought he’d be and the contract was a mistake. Those people will be idiots.

With Scherzer dealing with an oblique injury and faltering against the Braves and Padres, this ultimately proved true.

45. The Mets are going to have a monster second half with them running away with the division.

The Mets did have a monster second half until they faltered against the weakest September schedule. Truth is they should have run away with the division.

46. With the Toronto Blue Jays winning the division, the Mets are going to make a push to get their unvaccinated players vaccinated to ensure their availability for the World Series.

The Blue Jays made the postseason. With them and the Mets losing in the Wild Card round, this was not remotely an issue.

47. Jeurys Familia will receive a tribute video when he returns to Citi Field, and there will be a mix of cheers and boos with probably more boos.

It was a chilly reception.

48. The Wild Card round will be a complete dud and fans will be clamoring for the return of the winner-take-all Wild Card Game.

So far, fans seems to be unhappy with the postseason changes.

49. We will see David Peterson bounced around between starting and relieving due to the injury issues with the Mets starting staff. He will struggle for it.

Peterson did quite well even if he had some struggles, and he stayed in the rotation for the most part.

50. The Mets will not need to add bullpen pieces at the deadline because we will see pitchers like Colin Holderman and Thomas Szapucki emerge as quality relief options at the Major League level.

Holderman emerged as a quality relief option, but he would be traded for Vogelbach. Szapucki was moved to the bullpen with Syracuse with an eye towards using him in that role. He too would be traded for a platoon DH option (Ruf). The Mets only added Mychael Givens at the deadline while espousing they liked what they had.

51. James McCann will have very similar production to what he had in 2021, and in short order, he will find himself in a catching rotation with Tomas Nido.

This proved true with Nido finally taking over full duties at the very end of the season.

52. No New York baseball player will sign an in-season extension. That includes deGrom and Nimmo, and it also includes Aaron Judge.

True, but Diaz was signed before the start of free agency.

53. There will be no negative articles written about Showalter this season even during a time in the season where the Mets slump (as even the best teams in baseball always do).

True even as his team collapsed.

54. Taijuan Walker will make the fewest starts of anyone in the Mets pitching rotation.

Walker tied for the second most starts. deGrom would actually make the fewest starts.

55. The Mets will have a no-hitter this season, but it will not be from a starting pitcher going all nine innings.

On April 29, the Co-No happened.

56. This will be the last Major League season with nine inning double headers. We will see the return of seven inning double headers in 2023.

This likely will not happen.

57. The Mets will announce their next Hall of Fame class, and it will include Al Leiter and Johan Santana.

There was no such announcment, but there was the announcement of Willie Mays and Keith Hernandez having their numbers retired.

58. Mets fans will not care about the Apple TV game, but they will be absolutely livid about the game on Peacock. Of course, MLB will not care one iota about the blowback.

MLB did not care about the lack of quality with the games, and honestly, while there were complaints, Mets fans didn’t complain nearly as much about the streaming games as you’d anticipate.

59. Showalter is going to get Guillorme in a lot of games for late inning defense.

It actually proved to be more than just that. Showalter got Guillorme into the lineup due to his glove.

60. To reiterate, the Mets will win the World Series, and they will not have to wait another three decades for their next World Series.

To reiterate, I’m an idiot, and I’ll probably make the same prediction next year.

Taijuan Walker Should Have Received Qualifying Offer

The New York Mets gave out qualifying offers to all of their top pending free agents. That is everyone except Taijuan Walker.

Behind not giving him a qualifying offer was the probable estimation he would accept the offer. For the Mets, that was probably the best case scenario.

After picking up Carlos Carrasco’s option, the Mets only gave two of their starters from last year under contract. Somehow, they need to add three more starters, or two, if they want a Tylor Megill/David Peterson Spring Training battle for the fifth starter spot.

Overpay or not, bringing Walker back for one year was a great situation. It gives Megill and Peterson another full year to get ready to take over a spot. It also gives more time to prospects like Matt Allan, Dominic Hamel, and Calvin Ziegler.

More than that, with Walker, the Mets were keeping a dependable starting pitcher. He’s in the top 40 in starts and innings pitched over the past two seasons. There’s incredible value in just being able to pitch every fifth day and give 5+ innings.

We can and should delve deeper than that. After all, the Mets have a lot of costly decisions to make this offseason. They really can’t just overpay. Well, Walker really isn’t an overpay.

The WAR/$ valuation model rebounded slightly last season with 1 WAR being equivalent to roughly $8.5 million. Last year, Walker had a 2.6 WAR meaning he was worth $22.1 million.

Remember, the qualifying offer is $19.65 million. Walker provided more value than that last year. He’s likely to do it again.

Walker was much stronger in the second half than he was in 2021. He’d shown himself to be healthy and durable in consecutive seasons. His splitter has increasingly become a weapon.

All that taken into account, Walker is worth a one year deal. The Mets would be better off if he accepts. They’d also be in great shape if he rejects it because they’d get compensation if he signed elsewhere.

Overall, there was nothing but upside on giving Walker the qualifying offer. Unfortunately, the Mets made an unforced effort and didn’t leaving us to at least be slightly concerned Billy Eppler is not the right person for this job.

Examining 2022 Mets Collapse

When seasons don’t end the way you want or expect, people look for a reason or a scapegoat. To wit, the New York Mets announced both Billy Eppler and Buck Showalter were returning next season. On the one hand, it would seem obvious that was the case, but there was a collapse, so it was best to state it outright.

Certainly, both Eppler and Showalter have their fair share of the blame for what happened. However, it is much deeper and much more layered than that.

The seminal moment most Mets fans point to is Starling Marte‘s hand injury in the September 6 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ask a Mets fans, and they staunchly believe the Mets win the division if Marte doesn’t get hurt. To a certain extent, there is truth to that.

After all, it meant more Tyler Naquin, who was terrible in September batting .185/.232/.308. He was so poor he was left off the postseason roster despite his terrific numbers against Yu Darvish, a pitcher the Mets never hit.

Looking at Naquin, that should have us revisit the Eppler point. There was a post hoc analysis of the Mets trade deadline moves (which were debated in real time). Prior to the Daniel Vogelbach trade, Mets DHs had a 79 wRC+. From Vogelbach’s firsts game with the Mets to the end of the season, that mark improved to a 102 wRC+.

However, that was mostly Vogelbach. Against left-handed pitching. Darin Ruf had a 20 OPS+ with the Mets. Mark Vientos and Francisco Álvarez were throw into pennant races and struggled. Notably, Gary Cohen was highly critical of the Mets decision making process noting how the Mets didn’t call them up when there was a chance during the season and put too much on them.

To that point, the Atlanta Braves called up Michael Harris and Vaughn Grissom well in advance of September games, and they got much better production. As an aside, the Braves are again extending their young core while the Mets aren’t, but that’s a separate discussion for another day.

All of the above is a worthwhile discussion, however, it is still not getting to the root cause. The Mets collapse began at Citi Field against the Washington Nationals. The Mets would lose two out of three games. It was part of the Mets worst stretch of the season.

From September 3 to September 14, the Mets were 5-6 against the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins, and Chicago Cubs. During that stretch, the Mets three game lead shrunk to a half game. Over a stretch where the Mets could put the division away, they put the division back in play allowing the Braves to sweep the Mets forcing the Mets to the Wild Card.

Fast-forward for a second to the Atlanta Braves series. There were a number of problems in that series. Chief among them was the starting pitching failed. Figuring out how to prevent this from happening again requires diagnosing how that happened. The answer may be unsatisfying to some, but it is as simple as fatigue.

Carlos Carrasco pitched a combined 121 2/3 innings over the previous two seasons. He would pitch 152 this season. At the 64 inning mark this season, Carrasco had a 3.52 ERA and was averaging 5 2/3 innings per start. After that, he had a 4.30 ERA averaging under five innings per start.

He had one of the Mets bad losses in September. On September 27, he allowed four runs to the Marlins over three innings. That was one of many games the Mets wanted back.

Taijuan Walker again had a poor second half, but he did salvage it a bit in September. Still, he faltered against the Pirates, and he took the loss against the Milwaukee Brewers. Both were big spots, and he and the Mets wish they had those games back.

Of course, neither Carrasco nor Walker were the biggest culprits, the ultimate blame seems to be directed at Chris Bassitt. Last year, Bassitt pitched 157 1/3 innings, and he had only thrown over 100 innings one other time in his career.

After his September 7 start, he hit the 161 1/3 inning mark. At that point, he had a 3.24 ERA while averaging a little over six innings per start. After that, Bassitt fell apart against the Cubs and Braves. He was very good against bad teams in the Pirates and Oakland Athletics.

Max Scherzer dealt with oblique issues. Jacob deGrom had a blister issue. Neither would ever admit it impacted their performances, but essentially, they were compromised pitchers. When you build a team on starting pitching, you can’t have all five starters limping to the finish line. That is exactly what the Mets had.

Unfortunately, they did not have the hitting to overcome this. That was apparent in Atlanta when they scored all of seven runs. Over the final month of the season, in their losses, they averaged 2.5 runs per game. Part of this was the Mets approach at the plate.

The Mets hit 171 homers this season ranked 15th in the majors. Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor accounted for 38.6% of the Mets home run production. The next highest was Eduardo Escobar with 20, and he hit almost half of them in September. Essentially, for most of the season, if Alonso and Lindor weren’t hitting it out of the park, no one was.

Combine that with very questionable managing from Buck Showalter in Atlanta and the postseason, and you have a 101 Mets team who fails to win the division. You have a Mets team who gets one hit in an elimination game.

With the Mets, it was no one thing. It was exhausted starting pitching who faltered. It was an offense overly reliant on two players. It was a manager who struggled in bad games making poor decisions in big games. And yes, it was a front office who failed to fully address the teams deeper issues at the trade deadline.

When all was said and done, this was a team built to sustain the rigors of the regular season. However, it was not prepared and built to last deep into the season and go deep into October. We didn’t realize it at the time, but it is difficult to overlook now.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally published on MMO

Mets 2022 Projected Postseason Roster (Final)

There was an in initial and second version of the potential New York Mets postseason roster. With the Wild Card Series upon us, it’s time for a final projection.

With respect to this projection, it’s focusing on just the Wild Card Series where the Mets will need a maximum of three starters. With that caveat in mind, here’s the final projection:

CATCHERS (3)

Álvarez’s final two games should be enough to make the roster. The only question is with McCann hitting again, does he supplant Nido as the guaranteed starter.

INFIELDERS (5)

No changes or surprises here. Of course, with injuries, McNeil might just be an outfielder for the postseason.

OUTFIELDERS (3)

Starling Marte is the only wild card here. If he’s good enough to go, he’s going to take someone’s spot. That’ll either be Gore or Vientos.

DH (2)

Marte’s and Darin Ruf‘s injuries basically guarantees Vientos’ spot. He won’t start with Álvarez likely to go against Blake Snell, but we may see him in a big pinch hitting spot.

STARTERS (5)

We know the Game 2 starter debate (start deGrom), and we know Bassitt starts the other game. Chances are, they want both Carrasco and Walker available for long relief even if it would make sense to leave at least one off for this very short series.

BULLPEN (8)

This picture became a lot more clearer. Trevor Williams threw too many innings in the season finale to be considered. We may see him in the next round.

Givens is healthy, and Rodriguez has pitched well of late. Smith is back in the late inning mix.

Really, choosing the bullpen went from difficult to easy over the past week, The important arms are healthy and ready to go.

In the end, we can only hope Buck Showalter deploys his arms well. If so, the Mets win this series.

2022 Mets Postseason History

The last time a current New York Mets player was in the postseason, Jacob deGrom took the ball in Game One of the 2015 NLDS in the first step of their journey to the pennant. We saw deGrom set the tone with 13 strikeouts over seven scoreless to pick up the win.

It was part of a great postseason for deGrom. If they had an NLDS MVP, it would’ve been his. Overall, he was 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA that postseason racking up 29 strikeouts.

Believe it or not, deGrom is the only Mets player remaining from that 2015 team. The Mets made it to the postseason the following year, but Seth Lugo was left off the Wild Card Game roster. However, that does not mean deGrom is the only Mets player with postseason experience. Here is a look at how the other Mets have fared.

Chris Bassitt

Stats: 1-0, 3.27 ERA, 1.455 WHIP, 0.8 BB/9, 7.4 K/9

Bassitt would receive two starts in the 2020 postseason for the Oakland Athetics. He was great against the Chicago White Sox picking up the win and evening the series. One note here is the Mets may be looking for him to pitch a Game 2 in the Wild Card Series again.

Mark Canha

Stats: .138/.212/.241, HR, 3 RBI

This century, the Athletics have been defined by quick postseason exits. That is what Canha has experienced being part of teams who lost the Wild Card Game in consecutive years and never advancing to the ALCS.

Carlos Carrasco

Stats: 0-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, 4,.5 BB/9, 10.3 K/9

Carrasco would miss Cleveland’s pennant run with a broken right hand. Cleveland would lose in the ALDS in each of the ensuring years, but Carrasco did what he could to prevent that pitching well in his one start in each series.

Eduardo Escobar

Stats: .357/.357/.429, 2B

Escobar’s postseason experience is all of five games. While he amassed five hits, he didn’t have much of an impact for two teams that were quick exits.

Mychal Givens

Stats: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 BB/9, 11.6 K/9

Givens lone postseason appearance came in that epic 11 inning Wild Card Game against the Toronto Blue Jays forever defined by Zack Britton not appearing in the game. Givens was brilliant in the game helping save the Baltimore Orioles by pitching 2 1/3 scoreless after Chris Tillman was knocked out in the fifth.

Terrance Gore

Stats: .000/.000/.000, 5 SB, CS

Gore is known as a lucky rabbit’s foot having been a part of two World Series winning teams. However, he has been more than that. He has been a pinch runner extraordinaire stealing five bases. One interesting fact is his one caught stealing was upon review when it was determined he slightly came off the bag against the Houston Astros in the 2015 ALDS.

Francisco Lindor

Stats: .263/.327/.463, 4 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, SB, 3 CS

Lindor has had huge moments in the postseason. In 2016, he had a .979 OPS in the ALCS, the only LCS he has played in his career. In his last postseason appearance, the 2018 ALDS, Lindor was great against the eventual pennant winning Houston Astros with a 1.273 OPS.

Starling Marte

Stats: .167/.231/.306, 2 2B, HR, RBI, SB

Like Canha, Marte played for a Pittsburgh Pirates team known for not being able to advance in the postseason. What is remarkable with Marte is this is the second straight postseason series he will not be able to appear in his career due to injury.

Trevor May

Stats: 0-0, 0.333 WHIP, 0.0 BB/9, 6.0 K/9

May was part of those Minnesota Twins, so you knew they weren’t getting past the New York Yankees. That Twins team also didn’t get past the Houston Astros. May was not remotely to blame pitching three scoreless innings in two separate postseasons.

James McCann

Stats: .167/.286/.167

In the 2020 season which led to McCann getting a big contract with the Mets, he did not have an impact in the inaugural Wild Card Series.

Tyler Naquin

Stats: .161/.188/.226, 2 2B, 3 RBI

As a rookie, he was part of that Cleveland team who came as close as any team could to winning the World Series. Unfortunately, Naquin did not do much that postseason or in his postseason career.

Adam Ottavino

Stats: 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 1.714 WHIP, 5.4 BB/9, 7.7 K/9

Ottavino really struggled in the 2019 postseason; however, Ottavino was overworked. He would appear in seven straight games to diminishing returns. In his postseason, with the 2021 Boston Red Sox, Ottavino was terrific allowing just one earned in five appearances.

Darin Ruf

Stats: .091/.091/.364, HR, RBI

Ruf’s first postseason experience came in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. The highlight for Ruf was hitting the game tying homer in the sixth off Julio Urias in a game the Giants ultimately lost. It should be noted Ruf will most likely not be appearing in the Wild Card Round due to injury.

Max Scherzer

Stats: 7-6, 3.22 ERA, 1.104 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, 11.2 K/9

Remarkably, this will be the ninth postseason series for the Mets Game One starter. In his young days with the Detroit Tigers, he had flashes of brilliance. In 2019, he had a 2.40 ERA for the eventual World Series Champion Washington Nationals. Last year, he was great for the Dodgers until fatigue set in during his last start.

Daniel Vogelbach

Stats: .167/.286/.333, 2B

Vogelbach did not have much of an impact for Milwaukee Brewers teams who were quick outs in consecutive seasons.

Taijuan Walker

Stats: 0-1, 36.00 ERA, 18.0 BB/9, 27.0 K/9

Walker has made only one postseason start, and that came in the 2020 pandemic season. The Dodgers jumped all over him in the first, and he and the Arizona Diamondbacks never recovered.

Buck Showalter

Record: 9-14

Showalter will always be defined in the postseason by not using Britton in the American League Wild Card Game. Previous to that, he had been defined by his teams doing better with a different manager in the ensuing postseason.

Much of the reason is Showalter has made a number of curious to baffling decisions in the postseason. It’s not just Britton.

It was leaving in David Cone after the Ken Griffey Jr.. homer, and then trusting Jack McDowell in extras. It was using Bobby Chouinard against Edgardo Alfonzo. And yes, it was not using Britton.

Showalter’s teams have only won one postseason series. He had his best chance of going to the World Series in 2014 where the Orioles were swept by the Kansas City Royals.

Right now, none of this matters. He has a Mets team built to win the World Series. If this Mets team does in fact win, no one will care about his previous failures, and Showalter will have the last piece to what would then be a Hall of Fame managerial career.

 

 EDITOR’S NOTE: This article will also appear on MMO.

 

Mets Projected Postseason Roster

While the division is still up for grabs, the New York Mets are definitively headed to the postseason. While their opponent remains to be seen, we can start looking at who will be on the roster. After all, the Mets have begun doing that themselves by playing Mark Vientos in addition to taking looks at starters Tylor Megill and David Peterson in the bullpen.

While September rosters are at 28, rosters will drop back down to 26 for the postseason. So with that, at least two players currently on the roster will not be on the postseason roster. With that in mind, here’s a look at who is currently a lock to make the postseason roster.

CATCHERS (2)

Believe it or not, Francisco Alvarez could potentially be added to the postseason roster. However, that’s only in the event of an injury to McCann or Nido and another to Michael Perez. Put another way, we’re going to see McCann and Nido all postseason.

INFIELDERS (5)

There are no surprises here. This is obviously the starting infield with the Escobar/Guillorme platoon. Of course, Marte’s health will impact if Guillorme and Escobar play everyday with McNeil in right field against right-handed pitching.

OUTFIELDERS (3)

The obvious caveat here is Marte. If he is good to go, there are four outfielders who will be good to go. However, at the moment, we do not know how or if Marte can play through the pain. Keep in mind, that broken middle finger is inhibiting his ability to throw.

DH (1)

Simply put, Darin Ruf is not doing enough to secure a spot on the postseason roster, and the same goes for Vientos at the moment. The Mets obviously brought Gore in for the sole purpose of being a pinch runner, but his spot may be in some doubt with the Mets platoon strategy. Marte’s health may very well impact who is carried to be the right-handed DH with Marte himself being a possibility.

STARTERS (5)

We now the top three will be deGrom, Scherzer, and Bassitt. At the moment, it looks like the Mets will have to decide between Carrasco. Whichever they pick, it would be an absolute shock if the Mets do not put the other starter in the bullpen for the postseason.

BULLPEN (4)

There are a name or two here that may very well be here, but at the moment, this is the only group that can be considered a lock. Yes, it is a surprise that’s it after a long season and multiple opportunities for upgrades.

With all the aforementioned players, the Mets have 20 players who are locks for the postseason roster. Per MLB roster rules, the Mets (or any team) can only carry up to 13 pitchers. At the moment, the Mets have nine pitchers considered as locks. As a result, the Mets can add up to four more pitchers leaving them to add two position players.

POSITION PLAYER BUBBLE

If Marte is healthy and ready to go, he will be on the postseason roster. However, the Mets have to be very careful here. If they carry Marte in the first round series, and he can’t go that puts them in a very precarious spot. That means they’re going to be down a player for the round, lose Marte for the ensuing series if he needs to be replaced on the roster, or both.

Marte’s availability is the biggest question mark, and it may be the biggest issue with how the roster is comprised.

For example, Gore was brought here solely to pinch run in the postseason. However, if Marte is still working his way back, the Mets just may roll the dice and use Marte for the role and revisit it again for the next series. If Marte can’t play the field but can DH, that takes Ruf and Vientos completely out of the picture.

Essentially, what Marte can and can’t do will dictate which two players will make the roster. Ideally, the Mets probably want to carry Marte and Gore, but we will see if that is a possibility. Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility, the Mets carry just 12 pitchers with a reliever going to the bullpen to allow the Mets to carry Marte, Gore, and one of Ruf/Vientos.

RELIEF PITCHER BUBBLE

As noted above, we can see the Mets carry 3-4 pitchers from this group. Keep in mind, who the Mets carry from this group may be somewhat opponent dependent.

Right off the bat, the Mets would carry Givens, but he is on the COVID IL. Until he is activated, we are not quite sure if he can be carried on the postseason roster, at least not in the first round. Assuming for a second Givens is available, things get interesting.

Realistically speaking, the Mets will carry Rodriguez even though he has been bad all year. Of course, Lucchesi is a wild card here. However, if we don’t see him pitch in the Majors soon, there is just no way the Mets can carry him on the postseason roster.

If the Mets want two left-handed relievers, they are definitively going to carry Rodriguez and Peterson (short of Lucceshi being good to go). If they carry both, and Givens is healthy, that may just be a full bullpen depending on what the Mets want to do from a position player perspective.

To a certain degree, that squeezes Williams off the postseason roster. That is unfair and dubious considering he has been one of the Mets best pitchers all season. That said, if you’re carrying your best pitchers, Williams has been that all season.

Theoretically, Megill of Co-No fame would be left off the roster. At the moment, Megill is trying to prove he can be utilized in the bullpen.

Overall, this all hinges on Marte’s health. The role if he can play, if he can play role at all, can dictate just how the Mets are able to comprise their postseason roster. Right now, there are eight games for players to secure their place on the roster leaving a number of moving pieces and decisions yet to be made.