Johan Santan

Seth Lugo is Better than Philip Humber

Back in 2007, the Mets collapsed in part due to a rash of pitcher injuries.   Pedro Martinez missed most of the year following offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum.  An injured Orlando Hernandez (El Duque) had to be moved out of the rotation and into the bullpen.  With they myriad of injuries, Mike Pelfrey was put in the rotation before he was truly ready.  Brian Lawrence made a few poor starts.  With the walls crashing in on the Mets and the Phillies gaining on them, the Mets had to turn to Philip Humber.

Humber was the third overall pick in the 2004 draft.  In his career, he never lived up to that billing.  It could have been that he was damaged goods coming from Rice University, who is well known for abusing pitcher arms. He did have ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery before his major league debut.  It could be that he was rushed through the system never being given proper time to develop.  It could any single factor or any combination thereof.  It could just be that he just wasn’t good enough to be a top line starting pitcher.

He certainly wasn’t on September 27, 2007.  His final line was four innings, six hits, five runs, five earned, two walks, no strikeouts, and one home run allowed.  Humber did his best to battle that night, but he either wasn’t ready or wasn’t capable of winning a big game like that.  The only reason he didn’t take the loss was the Mets staked him to a 4-0 and a 6-2 lead.  It would be his last game as a Met as he would be part of the Johan Santana trade.  It was also the last day the Mets would have sole possession of first place as the loss would drop them to only one up in the division.

Like in 2007, the starting pitching is dropping like flies.  Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and even Jon Niese have found themselves on the disabled list.  Logan Verrett has served as this year’s Lawrence.  Robert Gsellman serves as this year’s Pelfrey.  However, Lugo isn’t quite this year’s Humber.  They really have nothing in common.

Whereas Humber was a high draft pick, Lugo was a 34th round draft pick.  While Humber was pushed through the minors without mastering a level, Lugo has performed at each and every level having to prove himself over and over again.  During his career, Humber had trouble developing a real outpitch.  Conversely, Lugo has a terrific curveball that has already fooled Anthony Rizzo, who is a terrific major league hitter.  More importantly, the main difference between Humber and Lugo is Lugo has already had success as a pitcher for the Mets.

In nine appearances as a reliever, Lugo pitched 17.0 innings and had a 2.65 ERA.  When injuries forced him to make an unexpected start, Lugo was better than anyone could have imagined.  He was not only good, but he was efficient.  When Lugo walked off the mound, he had pitched 6.2 innings allowing seven hits, one run, one earned, and one walk with three strikeouts.  At a minimum, Lugo has shown everyone he has the capability of being a good and reliable major league pitcher.

During this season, this Mets team has been compared to past Mets teams that have failed.  Namely, they have been compared to the 1987, 2001, and 2007 teams.  You can go up and down the line and compare different aspects of those teams to this current team.  However, those comparisons need to stop with Lugo as everyone should have faith when Lugo steps on the mound.