In 2022, Jose Butto was pressed into action by the New York Mets, and the results weren’t good to say the least. In his one start, he allowed seven runs in four innings against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The start generated a number of reactions from fans. For the most part, the general reaction from Mets fans was that Butto was not a real prospect, and he was never going to make it.
Now, Butto seemed to solidify the case of the naysayers while pitching with Triple-A Syracuse this season. Over 19 starts, he was 3-7 with a 5.93 ERA. One of the key reasons was his 4.8 BB/9 and his inability to develop a third pitch.
However, something funny happened with Butto. With the trades of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander along with the season (perhaps career) ending injury to Carlos Carrasco, Butto was pressed into action.
While Butto’s stats didn’t merit the opportunity, he got the opportunity because this was a lost season for the Mets. In many ways, it was for him as well. However, now, you cannot say the same for Butto. He got his chance, and he has put himself into the conversation for 2024.
Over his past three starts, Butto has pitched very well. While you may want to discount the start against the also ran Washington Nationals, the recent starts against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins deserve real attention with both teams fighting tooth-and-nail for the Wild Card.
He earned his first career win limiting the Diamondbacks to one run over five innings. He followed that up with an even more impressive performance. He struck out seven Marlins while limiting them one run over six innings.
Suddenly, there is talk about Butto being a part of the Mets rotation in 2024, or more likely, his being a part of the pitching staff.
What we are learning is his fastball/change-up will play at the Major League level. That combination was what powered a strong 2021 season, had him added to the 40 man roster (to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft), and put him on the Mets top prospect lists.
Now, that isn’t generating a big strikeout rate, but it is helping him avoid barrels. He’s holding opposing batters to a .274 SLG. Part of the reason is he has a high spin rate on his fastball. Another factor at play is his work with Jeremy Hefner, who has helped pitchers with similar stuff succeed with both the Mets and Minnesota Twins.
Now, there is nothing to say that Butto can repeat this success next year or even the rest of this season. Moreover, there is still a real question whether Butto can stick in the rotation or would need to move to the bullpen at the Major League level.
What we can say is the belief Butto was a prospect who could succeed in the majors was not in error. We are now seeing it. Having now seen it, we should be mindful that prospects take time and sometimes need to be beaten up and demoted before they succeed. That is true for Butto, and it will be true for many prospects which come after him.
Right now, the New York Mets are 34-40. They’ve recently lost a home series to the St. Louis Cardinals. Good luck finding hope for this season.
The Mets are 13.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. They’re seven games back in the Wild Card.
Only the St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals, and Colorado Rockies have a worse record than the Mets. The Mets have lost a series to all three of those teams.
Mark Canha and Tommy Pham are playing well lately. They give a team a veteran bat and presence. Daniel Vogelbach is hot of late, so you can hope he can keep it going until another GM is dumb enough to trade for him.
Point is there are assets, and there could be teams looking to trade sooner rather than later. After all, teams like San Diego and Seattle are always desperate to make a trade.
For various reasons, the Mets just shouldn’t expect much in return. We’re not talking about game changing players, and Billy Eppler is the Mets GM. Maybe if Steve Cohen eats some money, they can maximize the returns.
In reality, you’re not doing this for the lottery ticket prospect. Mostly, you’re doing it for the prospects and young players who are here.
Mark Vientos should at least be the DH. Ronny Mauricio should now get the call-up to play whatever position he is going to play. You need them to get acclimated to the majors and be ready to take on a big role in 2024.
You need to let David Peterson finish the season in the rotation. It’s time to see if he can be a fifth starter, reliever, or look to cut bait. After all, they’re effectively doing that already with Tylor Megill (he’s really a reliever).
Maybe take a glance at Luke Ritter. Sure, he’s an older prospect with very little Triple-A experience, but he’s breaking out this season. After all, what do you have to lose? Games? They’re doing that already.
Mets have to find out about these young players. They need to make it beyond impossible for Buck Showalter to sit them.
Maybe they surprise you like the Cincinnati Reds are surprising everyone. Likely, they won’t, and the Mets will falter. However, it’s better to falter with young players getting experience than watching this.
It’s time to start selling.
In 2022, we saw a glimpse of what David Peterson could be as a starter for the New York Mets. Seeing that pitcher, the Mets cannot just give up on him as a starter. However, that does not mean they’re obligated to let him figure things out at the Major League level.
Through eight starts, Peterson is 1-6 with an 8.08 ERA, 1.744 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and a 10.4 K/9. The advanced statistics don’t provide much more promise either with Peterson having a 52 ERA+ and a 4.82 FIP.
At Baseball Savant, we see Peterson has a decent whiff rate and an excellent extension. However, that is just about all he is doing well with batters squaring him up easily and he’s getting little to no spin on his pitches.
His slider remains an effective weapon getting a 35.6 Whiff%. However, that is a steep drop-off from the 45.0% it was last year. With Peterson’s fastball being flat and hit hard, he can ill-afford the slider not being as elite as it was last season.
Part of the issue may be pitch mix with Peterson throwing fewer sliders and more change-ups and sinkers. The change has been effective pitch, so you understand the increased usage. However, for two years running, Peterson’s sinker gets mauled. At some point, he is just going to have to scrap that pitch because it is completely ineffective at the Major League level.
Between the pitch mix and whatever else is ailing Peterson, he has not been the pitcher he was last season. We see that being one of the driving forces in what has been a disappointing start to the Mets season.
Through his first eight starts (and two relief appearances) last season, Peterson was 4-1 with a 3.18 ERA, 1.346 WHIP, 4.4 BB/9, and a 8.3 K/9. Over that stretch, his FIP was 3.91. This is a completely different pitcher. He was one who gave the Mets a chance to win.
The Peterson we see this season is not giving the Mets much of a chance to win. With the Mets lineup devoid of power, they don’t have the chance to win games or even be competitive.
This leaves the Mets with few good options. Maybe, they need to give José Butto more of a look until Carlos Carrasco comes off the IL. At least, Butto has been more competitive. Again, it may not be the best option, but it is a better one at the moment.
Whatever the plan, the Mets are going to need the Peterson we saw in 2022 at some point this season. It is better to get him to Syracuse now to have him figure it out because right now it is just not working, and the Mets don’t have the bats to let him figure it out.
The New York Mets have had too many starting pitching injuries to start the season. In fact, at the moment, Kodai Senga is all that remains from their projected Opening Day rotation.
Justin Verlander and José Quintana started the year on the IL. Verlander is missing over a month, and Quintana is out until around the All-Star Break if not longer. Carlos Carrasco has an elbow injury, and there is a very real possibility he could be done for the season if not for his career.
Max Scherzer needed to have an extra day before his last start, and then he was suspended. Our good friend David Cone would show why the suspension was garbage, but nevertheless, Scherzer was suspended for 10 games.
David Cone's Rosin Experiment. pic.twitter.com/ZI5CnAkZ1C
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 24, 2023
As we know, this has pushed David Peterson and Tylor Megill into the rotation. That wasn’t a big deal as both were good starters for the Mets 101 team last season. Joey Lucchesi also had a history of being a capable Major League starter, so while the Mets may not have wanted him in the rotation, his needing to start wasn’t an issue.
The issue was with José Butto being pushed into the rotation.
Last season, Butto was thrust into the rotation, and the results were ugly. In his lone start, he last just four innings allowing seven runs to the Philadelphia Phillies. Alec Bohm really got the best of him hitting two homers. After that game, there were many who unfairly said he was a bust and would never be a Major League starter.
Fast forward to this year, and Butto was again starting games for the Mets. That is something no one wanted, but this time, Butto has fared far better than anyone would have expected.
Through two starts, Butto has pitched 9 2/3 innings allowing three earned runs. Per Baseball Savant, batters are not hitting him hard at all, and they’re having difficulty squaring the ball up on him.
Of course, it’s not all good news. Butto’s control has been poor, and that’s probably being kind. He’s walked 10 over 9 2/3 innings. That’s more than a walk per inning.
Forget about his 2.79 ERA being unsustainable with those many walks. It’s a flat out recipe for disaster. That goes double when he’s recorded only three strikeouts.
However, he’s getting away with it. There are some good reasons for it. There’s the aforementioned weak contact against him.
The other answer is Butto has faced bad teams in the Oakland Athletics and Washington Nationals. Assuredly, he’d get roughed up by better teams, but he pitched passably against the opponents he had to face.
We can dismiss what he’s done. He’s been five and fly against bad teams. That’s only part of the picture.
He’s also eaten up 9 2/3 innings which could’ve been put on the bullpen. That will help the Mets in the long run. It makes what he did far more important than many realize.
In the end, Butto looks like he still has work to do before he’s Major League ready. In the interim, he’s better than when we last saw him, and he still made a positive contribution to the team. Credit to him for stepping up.
In the opening game of the four game set against the San Francisco Giants, the New York Mets spotted a 5-0 for Kodai Senga. Of course, part of that was J.D. Davis‘ inability to play third extending Jeff McNeil‘s at-bat leading to a hit by pitch with his scoring on an Eduardo Escobar homer.
At 5-0 in the fourth, the game should have been all but over. At least, that is the case when you have a pitcher like Senga, or better put, a pitcher like we thought Senga was going to be.
Early on, Senga looked very good. His ghost fork has been unhittable. He wasn’t quite unhittable over the first four innings, but he looked in control of the game. That changed completely in the fifth.
Blake Sabol and LaMonte Wade Jr.. homered in the fifth. After that came back-to-back walks toThairo Estrada and Michael Conforto. Fortunately, Davis was up next and struck out for the second out of the inning. After an RBI single and wild pitch, it was suddenly 5-4.
That would be it for Senga. Five innings of work for a Mets bullpen that is getting increasingly more taxed by the day. So far, Senga has started four games for the Mets, and he has not gone beyond five innings twice.
The biggest issue with him has been the walks. He’s walking 14.9% of the batters he faces. That’s really beyond the limits of what is acceptable from a starting pitcher. The same goes for the 6.0 BB/9.
Even if Senga has the talent to limit the damage, he’s still taking himself out of games early with all the additional pitches. More walks is more base runners. In addition to it being more opportunities for the opposition to score, Senga is just not giving himself a chance to go deep into games.
More than that, this is when the Mets desperately need him to step up. José Quintana is gone until at least July. Justin Verlander has been out to start the season, and as of the moment, we don’t know when he will return. Carlos Carrasco has been shut down with elbow inflammation.
On top of that, Max Scherzer needed an extra day between starts. On top of that, he is being suspended for 10 days due to his being accused of using illegal substances in the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That means 4/5 of the current Mets rotation is what was supposed to be the Triple-A Syracuse Mets rotation. As we know, David Peterson and Tylor Megill began the year in the rotation. Now, Jose Butto and Joey Lucchesi will be in the rotation. That is the way it will be for at least two turns through the rotation.
In many ways, that makes Senga the de facto ace. That shouldn’t be too big of a deal because that’s what he was in Japan. However, with the Mets, he hasn’t looked like that. He appears to be more of a fifth starter.
To be fair, it is just four starts into his Major League career. There is every chance he figures it out and becomes much more than a fifth starter. However, life and baseball aren’t fair. The Mets need Senga to be more than that now. They need him to accelerate his acclimation to the majors. Hopefully, he can step up and do just that because the Mets need it from him.
The New York Mets needed to rebuild their rotation for the 2023 season. Part of that was picking up Carlos Carrasco‘s $14 million option. The move made sense as the Mets needed arms, and Carrasco was coming off a season where he posted a 97 ERA+ and 3.53 FIP.
By all accounts, Carrasco looked to be a serviceable fifth starter. If he didn’t pan out, this Mets team has shown they are able to recognize a sunk cost. However, things do not appear that way to start the season.
On the latter point, the Mets pitching depth is already being tested. Justin Verlander and José Quintana began the season on the IL. That means their starting pitching depth of Tylor Megill and David Peterson began the season in the rotation. Down in Triple-A, Jose Butto and Joey Lucchesi got hit around in their first starts of the season.
That means, at least for right now, the Mets need Carrasco to be good. He was anything but that to start the season.
Carrasco was alright the first two innings not allowing a run. From there, it would slowly unravel starting with a Jesse Winker RBI single in the third. Brian Anderson piled on with a two run homer in the fourth.
The wheels came completely off in the fifth. He started the inning by walking Christian Yelich and Winker leading Buck Showalter to come get him. Both of the inherited runners would score as Tommy Hunter struggled out of the bullpen. After all was said and done, the Brewers led 10-0 after the fifth inning with Carrasco being tagged with five earned runs.
There were many things wrong with Carrasco. He lost 2-3 MPH on his fastball as the game progressed. Before this season, he was a slow methodical pitcher. IN his first start of the season, he appeared rushed by the pitch clock. In fact, he would receive a pitch clock violation before his first pitch of the season.
Carlos Carrasco receives a pitch clock violation before he throws his first pitch of the season pic.twitter.com/jfZFuYb38N— SNY (@SNYtv) April 3, 2023
The home plate umpire would talk with Carrasco on a few occasions about the pitch clock. For his part, Carrasco was clearly impacted by the pitch clock. As he would say after the game, “It is crazy. I only have 15 seconds. it is what it is right now.” (Tim Britton, The Athletic).
As noted by Britton, fatigue might’ve played a role. Carrasco would throw 27 pitches over a 10 minute period in the third. He then threw 29 pitches over 11 minutes in the fourth. Over a stretch of 42 minutes, Carrasco threw 67 pitches.
Carrasco admitted to fatigue. We saw that both in his velocity and the Brewers bats squaring him up. The question for him and the Mets going forward is whether Carrasco can adjust. In his first start, the answer was a clear and resounding no for the 36 year old hurler. Given the state of the Mets rotation, he is going to have to figure it out right now because the Mets cannot afford him being non-competitive and unable to adjust to the pitch clock right now.
The New York Mets got even more bad news from the starting rotation front when it was announced Justin Verlander was going to start the year on the IL. While Verlander sounds optimistic, at the moment, we do not know how long he will be on the IL.
This comes after we learned José Quintana is going to miss much of the year due to his bone graft surgery. As a result, the Mets are going to have David Peterson and Tylor Megill in the Opening Day rotation when the team understandably wanted to use them as pitching depth.
Arguably, this is a very good thing. First and foremost, it is going to allow Peterson and Megill to further establish themselves as Major League caliber starting pitchers. Remember, after this season, Carlos Carrasco will be a free agent with the Mets almost a lock not to re-sign him. That means one of these two can grab a spot in the the 2024 rotation by pitching well next year.
The other alternative is either one of them show they can’t stay in the rotation. To a certain degree, that is what happened years ago with Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo. Both were forced to the bullpen by a mixture of the Mets then starting pitching depth and their struggles in their first full year in the rotation. Gsellman struggled while Lugo went on to become the best reliever in baseball for a stretch.
Remember, Megill and Peterson are Major League caliber pitchers. It is now incumbent on the Mets to find their best role. With the Edwin Díaz season ending surgery, the sooner we find out one is a reliever the better. Of course, that assumes one or both can’t last in the rotation, which is an unfair presumption. After all, both have had success in their limited chances in a Major League rotation.
Another factor going forward is Verlander’s age. The 40 year old has been a workhorse throughout his career, and it was one of the reasons the Mets acted quickly to sign him after Jacob deGrom signed with the Texas Rangers. Part of his being 40 is he is older and probably needs more rest than he needed 10 or even five years ago.
The innings the Mets need from Verlander are in September and October. As long as they get a fresher and healthier Verlander then, we can count his saving his arm right now as a win. Of course, that assumes he can come back at a reasonable point while the Mets stay afloat with him out of the rotation. Based upon everything, that sounds like a reasonable presumption.
In the end, we have two options. We can first throw our hands up and decry this being the same old Mets. Or, we can acknowledge that while this sucks, this may work out better for the Mets in the long run. You can pick which one you want, but no matter how you look at it, this is a great opportunity for Megill and Peterson, and it may also be for Jose Butto and Joey Lucchesi, who are the next up should any starting pitcher fail.
For the New York Mets 60th season, I made 60 bold predictions heading into the season. The concept is to really go for it instead of being meek and saying Francisco Lindor will play the most games at short, or Pete Alonso will lead the team in homers. It was to be daring. Some hit, and some did not. In any event, here are 61 for this year as this is the 61st season:
1. The New York Mets will win the 2023 World Series.
2. The Mets will be the third best team in the division during the regular season.
3. David Peterson will have more starts this season than any other Mets starter.
4. Kodai Senga will be an All-Star.
6. By the middle of June, Brett Baty will be called up, and he will overtake the Mets third base job for the next decade.
7. The Mets will have more blown saves by the All-Star Break than Edwin Díaz had all of last season.
8. The Mets are going to find a way to get Alexis Díaz this season. When they get him, Steve Cohen will speak about just how important family is and how that was a motivating factor in getting Díaz.
9. Part of the Díaz deal will be Joey Votto going to the Mets. The lifelong Red will be excited because he is getting a chance to win, and the Reds will be excited because it clears a massive chunk of payroll. Votto will take over as the Mets DH.
10. Ronny Mauricio is going to be moved this year as the big prospect to get a big piece or two at the trade deadline.
12. We will see Álvarez get called up multiple times, but he is not going to stick on the roster until September.
13. The Mets will not need a closer at the trade deadline, but they will need an outfielder. They will still get at least one reliever at the deadline.
16. The Mets will announce a date where they are going to retire Carlos Beltrán‘s number 15.
17. The pitch clock is going to be a hit with the fans, but we are going to see multiple issues early in the season where games are swung on its implementation leading to player and that fanbase’s frustration.
19. The Mets are going to have a tough first half with many wondering if the team was too old or if this is a reincarnation of the 1992 Worst Team Money Could Buy. The Mets will shut everyone up with a great second half.
20. The rule changes will rejuvenate Keith Hernandez, who will come to enjoy the modern game more than any particular fan.
21. Brandon Nimmo will be a first time All-Star. He will be joined there by Lindor, McNeil, Senga, and Verlander.
22. Pete Alonso returns to the Home Run Derby, and he wins it again.
24. Eduardo Escobar loses his starting third base job, but he will still serve as an important semi-regular on the roster.
25. Lindor will be the only Mets player to win a Gold Glove this season. Guillorme and McNeil will be finalists.
26. Starling Marte will play fewer than 100 games, but he will be healthy for the postseason and will be one of the best Mets in the postseason.
27. Dylan Bundy will be added to the Major League roster at some point during the season, and he will stick in the bullpen at some point.
28. McNeil and Lindor will each finish in the top five in MVP voting with McNeil winning the award.
29. J.D. Davis will get out to a good start leading for Mets fans to further complain about the Darin Ruf trade, but Davis will cool off considerably thereafter with no one saying much of anything past May.
30. This will be Eric Chávez‘s last season as a coach with the Mets as he will be the hot candidate for managerial jobs in the offseason.
31. Meet Joey Meneses, who will be the newest Mets killer.
32. Scherzer is going to have a better season than Verlander.
33. Verlander will have zero issues adjusting to New York.
34. Lindor is going to play in every single Mets game this season.
35. The Mets will aggressively pursue David Bednar and Bryan Reynolds, but the stingy Pittsburgh Pirates owner will not make a deal with Steve Cohen on principle based on this spending the last offseason.
36. When he returns from the IL, Mets fans are going to fall in love with Bryce Montes de Oca, and we will see him get at least a down ballot Rookie of the Year vote.
37. Shohei Ohtani will not be traded this year no matter how hard the Mets try to get him. Part of the reason will be the Los Angeles Angels contending for the last Wild Card spot.
38. Noah Syndergaard will actually start against the Mets when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit Citi Field in April. He will get a loud ovation as he takes the mound.
40. Alonso will appear in more games at DH than any other right-handed batter as Buck Showalter tries to keep him fresher than he did last season.
41. While there will be calls for a closer-by-committee approach, Showalter is going to go with David Robertson as the closer to begin the season, and he will carry the role at least through the All-Star Break.
42. Buck Showalter will not be the NL Manager of the Year, and he will not finish in the top five in voting.
44. Jose Butto will be up-and-down a few times this season being designated at that prospect who comes up one week for a spot start and another week to hang out in the bullpen. He is going to struggle, and there will be more people calling him a non-prospect.
45. While it will be an exhausting story line, Verlander will win a World Series start, and he will be dominant.
46. Despite his World Baseball Classic success, no team will sign Matt Harvey this season with his pending suspension being part of the reason.
48. Pride Night is scheduled for June 16. The Mets will force Raley to wear whatever gear is mandated that day by Major League Baseball.
49. Lindor is and will continue to be the best shortstop in baseball. Yes, that means he will have a better season than Trea Turner.
50. We will see Mark Vientos at some point this season but only for a limited time as the Mets are going to struggle to find spots for him even with Vientos having a monster year with Syracuse.
51. This will be the last season the 1962 Mets have the record for most losses in a season. The bottom feeders of baseball are just that bad this season.
52. Nimmo wins his first Silver Slugger this season.
53. The Mets will have a day honoring the New York Rangers after the Rangers win the Stanley Cup with Mets fan Adam Fox throwing out the first pitch.
55. Kevin Parada will play in Double-A this season, and we will start to hear some wonder if it is him or Álvarez as the Mets catcher of the future.
56. Nimmo is going to steal 20+ bases this season.
57. Escobar will continue his streak of 20+ home run seasons.
58. One development from the pitch clock is Citi Field will begin to have all of their concession stands handle pre-order and pick up as fans are not going to have as many delays and will not want to miss game action.
59. There will be some celebration at Citi Field this season for the 40th anniversary of the 1973 pennant winning team. It will likely be tied into Old Timers’ Day.
60. The Mets will have multiple events throughout the year giving rewards to Mets fans for wearing their caps out in public as a continued attempt to get them more attention than the Yankees.
61. This will be the first time New York holds a Stanley Cup and World Series title since 1928.
As anticipated, New York Mets starter Taijuan Walker opted out of his contract. Unlike the last time, more teams than just the Mets will come calling.
Walker opting out puts the Mets in an extremely difficult position. At times, he’s pitched like a number two. Other times, he’s pitched like a bullpen arm. No matter how you cut it, he has value.
Over the past two years, he’s 19-16 with a 3.98 ERA, 1.189 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, and a 7.9 K/9. He accumulated a 3.1 WAR, 99 ERA+, and a 4.11 FIP.
He was an All-Star in 2021, and you could make the argument he could’ve been one in 2022. His first halves have been great, and the second halves lacking.
Taking the total picture into account, Walker ranks 39th among pitchers who have pitched over 300 innings the past two seasons. He’s also thrown the 39th most innings while making the 32nd most starts.
With starting pitching, availability is of paramount importance. Despite his past history, Walker showed an ability to take the ball every fifth day. We also saw a stronger pitcher in the second half of 2022 than he was in 2021.
This is where things get dicey for the Mets.
The Mets could reasonably believe Tylor Megill or David Peterson could replicate what Walker has provided while also believing each provides more upside. If they believe that, perhaps, they should let Walker go.
However, we do not know Megill’s durability and ability to be a starter for a full season. Peterson has shown durability and appears to be building strength to last a full season in the rotation.
Another factor with both was they entered Spring Training as pitching depth. If either or both are in the 2023 rotation that depth takes a hit, especially with Jose Butto likely being the sole upper level minors pitcher the Mets feel confidence in calling up.
The Mets need to balance that against just how much they can actually spend. Edwin Díaz just signed a record deal for a reliever. The Mets also have free agents in Chris Bassitt, Jacob deGrom, Seth Lugo, and Brandon Nimmo.
The Mets entered the offseason needing to rebuild an entire pitching staff – rotation and bullpen. That is going to cost a ton of money, and even with Steve Cohen, you have to imagine at some point, the Mets will need to save money here and there.
If the Mets lock in Walker, they’re keeping a good starter who may still yet have upside. It’s a move towards maintaining depth. It’s more certainty than upside, which is never a bad thing.
In the end, the Mets best decision might be to offer Walker the qualifying offer. If he accepts, great. If not, the Mets get a compensatory pick allowing them to pursue players like Trea Turner.
Overall, this is a good “problem” for the Mets to have. They either keep a good pitcher, or they get an asset to help them sign other players and/or build for the future.
This is a “problem” because Walker has been good and deserves a long term deal. The Mets have been better for having him, and no matter what happens fans and the organization should appreciate him and wish him well.
With the new CBA, teams are limited to just two September call-ups instead of calling up the entire 40 man roster. This really limits what a team can do.
The New York Mets went the warm body route. Instead of opting for looking at a top prospect and/or seeing who can surprise, they opted for Deven Marrero and Adonis Medina, two players who will not factor into the Mets postseason plans.
That’s all well and good for a team if their postseason roster was set. When looking at the Mets bullpen, it’s difficult to make that case. That goes double when you consider Joely Rodriguez.
On the season, Rodriguez is 0-4 with a 5.03 ERA, 1.525 WHIP, 5.5 BB/9, and a 10.3 K/9. While he was expected to be a left-handed specialist, he’s yielded a higher OPS against left-handed batters.
Those batters are hitting .239/.342/.352 off of him. In total, that’s a .314 wOBA. This is a big reason towards his -0.4 WAR and 78 ERA+.
Taking that all into account, it’s unfathomable the Mets never brought in competition or an insurance policy. They didn’t at the trade deadline, and they didn’t with September call-ups.
With rosters expanding, this was the perfect opportunity to get another look at Nate Fisher.
Fisher was a surprise call-up earlier in the season, and he probably wasn’t expected to pitch. However, with Jose Butto struggling, Fisher was thrown out there.
Fisher shocked us all when he threw three scoreless innings against a pretty good Philadelphia Phillies lineup. His final line was 3.0 IP, H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, K.
It wasn’t always pretty. However, he was not hit hard (12.5% hard hit rate). Mostly, he got the job done, and when you pitch this well, that typically merits another look.
After Fisher was sent down, he continued to pitch well. In two Triple-A appearances, he pitched six innings allowing two earned on four hits and one walk while striking out four.
Yes, it is a lot to ask of Fisher to go from being out of baseball over a year ago to pitching in the postseason. However, the Mets did put themselves in a position where it must be contemplated.
Rodriguez has shown he cannot be trusted. David Peterson has struggled in a relief role. In the end, the Mets still don’t know who can get big outs against left-handed batters in the postseason.
The Mets could’ve signed or traded for a different reliever. They could’ve added a left-handed reliever at the trade deadline. They didn’t leaving then to sort through their internal options.
Not even looking at Fisher again is a massive error by this team. They know they’re not carrying Medina in the postseason. Having him here does nothing to prepare the Mets to win the World Series.
Fisher might’ve done that. Instead, the Mets have now triple-downed on Rodriguez even at a time when he can’t get left-handed batters out in a big spot. It’s time to rectify that and at least give Fisher a look.