The New York Mets were always in a predicament with Seth Lugo. Lugo wanted to start, but he proved to be far too valuable of a reliever. In fact, there was a time you could argue he was the best reliever in all of baseball.
With the Mets controlling his rights for years, Lugo had to sit and wait for his chance to start again. He got that with the San Diego Padres. He signed a one year deal worth $7.5 million with a $7.5 million option for 2024, which he turned down.
Lugo bet on himself, and he won the bet. In 26 starts, he was 8-7 with a 3.57 ERA, 1.203 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, and an 8.6 K/9. He averaged 5.2 innings per start. He failed to pitch five innings four times, and he came within one out of having a complete game in his last start of the season.
From an advanced stats perspective, he had a 1.8 WAR, 115 ERA+, and a 3.83 FIP. Per Baseball Savant, his fastball was great, and his curveball spin rate remained off the charts. By and large, he was a very effective pitcher.
Digging deeper, we saw he had a .298 BABIP. That’s right in line with career averages and with league averages, so we should not anticipate regression. The same goes for his LOB%. In essence, with Lugo, with the possible exception of age, we should not see regression.
We also know Lugo has the ability to pitch in New York. He arrived in 2016, and he was great down the stretch for a team that made a near miracle run to the postseason. He pitched three days in the row for the first time in his career in the 2022 Wild Card Series, and he was again fantastic.
The moment and the market does not overwhelm Lugo. Rather, he thrives in those situations. That is always of the utmost importance for the Mets.
That goes double for a Mets team looking to rebuild their rotation. So far, they only have Kodai Senga and José Quintana lined up for the rotation next year while they debate what to do with David Peterson and Tylor Megill.
The Mets need dependable starters and pitching depth. Bringing Lugo back does that. If he had enough innings to qualify, he would have ranked in the top 25 in FIP making him a top of the rotation starter in this league. Ideally, the Mets would be bringing him aboard to pitch at the back-end thereby further strengthening their rotation.
When we look forward, Lugo can then be redeployed in the bullpen come the postseason. With that, you get the best of both worlds. You get Lugo being an effective starter, and then you get to see him pull off what Andrew Miller did in 2016. Put another way, Lugo significantly strengthens the Mets chances of winning the World Series.
In the end, there may be better options available. Lugo may want to look elsewhere. However, in the end bringing Lugo back to start for the Mets advances their chances of winning a World Series more than many of the other starters on the free agent market.
If you tune into WFAN (why would you do that yourself), you will hear the narrative being pushed that the Steve Cohen tenure as New York Mets owner has not been successful. If you hear someone espouse that, please ignore them because they are just espousing ignorance.
That’s not to say there haven’t been missteps. Of course, there have been missteps.
Since purchasing the Mets, Cohen has had difficulty building the front office he envisioned. A very large part of that is the fact Cohen wanted the best of the best for the role, and David Stearns was not available until this year. When Stearns became available, Cohen pounced.
What is important with the rocky GM history is Cohen’s response to each of them. With Jared Porter, his alleged improprieties cost him his job. The same for Zack Scott. This led to the hiring of Billy Eppler, which was a mixed bag.
What was interesting during Scott’s tenure is he traded Pete Crow-Armstrong for Javier Baez and Trevor Williams. At the time, the Mets were in first place and the only team in the division over .500. At the time, no one knew injuries would dismantle that team, and the thumbs down drama would ensue.
What Cohen did learn from that is not to double down on a flawed team. We saw that at the trade deadline this past season as the Mets moved David Robertson, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Tommy Pham, and Dominic Leone. Having learned lessons, the Mets completely revamped their minor league system.
Looking back on that 2021 season, Luis Rojas was foisted upon Porter and Scott. With Stearns being hired, he was permitted to fire Buck Showalter even though he was a popular figure with the media and players. Again, Cohen learned a lesson.
People will want to harp on and mock the signings of Scherzer and Verlander. However, that purposefully ignores the 101 win season. You can’t mock the signings while ignoring where it was successful.
We can opt to hold the Mets payroll and failures against them in 2023. It was definitively a failure. However, it was a failure borne out of an owner attempting to win and build off of a successful season. When it didn’t work, Cohen changed course.
Keep in mind, this wasn’t the Mets 2017 sell-off to save money and collect right-handed relief prospect after right-handed relief prospect. No, Cohen continued to use his financial might to fortify the farm system.
Cohen is now entering his fourth year of ownership. Let’s take stock of where the Mets are now.
They have Stearns as the POBO. They have a future Hall of Famer in Francisco Lindor. They kept Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil over the long term. Top prospects like Francisco Alvarez and Mark Vientos have had successes to build upon for 2024. Kodai Senga was phenomenal, and Edwin Diaz is coming back healthy next year.
The Mets are in great shape to build a competitor in 2024, and they have what they need to make the Mets contenders year-in and year-out. If you don’t think this has been a success, you’re a fool.
When David Stearns was hired, there was some expectation Billy Eppler might stay on as the GM. After all, with the hiring of a POBO, Eppler had effectively been demoted. However, in the immediate wake of Stearns’ hiring, it did seem like Eppler might stay on in his current role.
There was the endorsement of Steve Cohen. We also saw the Mets acted swiftly in firing Buck Showalter. This didn’t mean Eppler was completely safe, but with each passing day, it seemed as if his chances of remaining were growing stronger.
Well, Eppler did in fact resign but not for the reasons we thought he might. As it turns out, Eppler would resign as the Mets were being investigated for their alleged improper use of the injured list.
Eppler resigning is troubling for a few reasons. First and foremost, it does seem like the Mets are being targeted for something that has long been a practice in Major League Baseball. To that end, former Atlanta Braves catcher AJ Pierzynski described what happened when the Braves approached him about it in 2019. Notably, those officials are still in place with the Braves.
To some degree, this is just what is going to happen to the Mets. Steve Cohen is a high profile target in the largest media market in the world, and he spends more than anyone. Whereas we saw the Wilpons propped up by MLB, we are going to see Cohen’s Mets more scrutinized.
That’s just a fact of life. While troublesome, that’s not the biggest issue presented by Eppler’s resignation. The biggest trouble is how it impacts the Mets offseason.
Eppler has a good relationship with Shohei Ohtani, and that could’ve been a factor with the Mets ability to recruit him away from the west coast. The Mets chances of getting Ohtani has now taken a hit. Just how big remains to be seen.
Expounding further, one of Eppler’s strengths was his connections to Japan. It was one of the reasons why the Mets were able to land Kodai Senga, who just had a phenomenal rookie year for the Mets. We know part of the Mets plan this offseason was to go back to Japan to sign ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Like with Ohtani, we don’t know how much the Mets chances of signing Yamamoto were just impacted. The same goes for any Japanese player who would be looking to come to the majors over the next few seasons.
In some ways, this was the way the Stearns/Eppler relationship was going to work. Stearns could bring his knowledge from running the Milwaukee Brewers and combine that with Eppler’s deep connections in the industry and other countries. That combination should have made the Mets the most formidable force in all of baseball.
Now, the Mets are not able to proceed with that plan, and they just lost Tommy Tanous to the Tornoto Blue Jays. Who knows if the Mets could have kept him on if he was promoted to Eppler’s role.
That’s the problem. The Mets could have been much better poised for this offseason and beyond. Instead, they are going back to the drawing board on some things while hoping their inroads to Japanese players withstand Eppler’s resignation. In the end, that, and not the investigation, is what is deeply troubling for the Mets.
Everywhere you look, the sky is falling for the New York Mets. They lost seven in a row before winning a game, and then they promptly lost again making them losers in seven of eight.
They’ve lost 11 series this season after losing 11 all of last season. They are four games under .500. Pete Alonso is on the IL. Who knows what to believe with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander anymore. Buck Showalter has been bad and completely out of touch.
Guess what? Despite all of that, the Mets are only three games out in the Wild Card race. That’s not remotely insurmountable for this team. While we’re understandably focused on the negatives, there are plenty of positives happening with the team right now.
Mark Canha has completely turned his season around. Since May 14, he is hitting .300/.400/.467 with four doubles, two homers, and 11 RBI.
Tommy Pham has done the same. Since May 17 he is hitting .333/.392/.711 with six doubles, one triple, three homers, and 13 RBI.
Eduardo Escobar‘s resurgence has been oft discussed. Since May 12, he is hitting .378/.425/.487 with a double, homer, and five RBI.
Of course, all of this pales in comparison to what Francisco Álvarez is doing. He’s playing like an All-Star and Rookie of the Year candidate. On the season, he has a 128 wRC+. He’s sixth among all rookies in fWAR, and he is a top five catcher in all of baseball.
Francisco Lindor is a second-half player, and he seems primed to be just that for the Mets again this season. Since June 4, he is hitting .250/.357/.542 with a double, two homers, and three RBI while playing Gold Glove defense.
The Mets are in this race even with them faltering of late. They have an owner able to take on payroll to make a run. Mostly, you can argue, the Mets have everything right where they want them seeing how the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies were in similar situations in recent years only to make a charge to the World Series.
The Mets dreams of winning a World Series isn’t over. They are very much alive and in postseason contention. They just need to hang in there.
The New York Mets did what they did all season. They followed inexplicably dropping consecutive series to the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies by sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies at home. At this point, the unexpected has become the expected.
Putting the consistent inconsistency aside, we are starting to see some very positive signs emerge. More than anything, we should be focusing on that rather than the day-to-day results. After all, if certain things are working well for the Mets, the wins are going to come.
First and foremost, the rotation is starting to look like what we hoped it would be. Over his last four starts, Max Scherzer is 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA while striking out 28 and walking just four over 25 innings.
Kodai Senga has become unhittable at home. In his five Citi Field starts, he is 3-1 with a 1.20 ERA, 0.933 WHIP, 4.2 BB/9, and an incredible 11.4 K/9. As we saw with Noah Syndergaard‘s rookie year, the home/road splits will eventually translate to Senga being able to be a great pitcher on the road. It just takes a little time.
With the exception of his Coors Field start and the start against the Tampa Bay Rays, Justin Verlander has largely been good. We also see José Quintana is on a path to get back on the mound. Overall, that’s four strong starters that becomes five with Carlos Carrasco pitching 6+ innings while allowing just one earned in each of his last two starts.
Offensively, Pete Alonso is chasing 60 and looks primed to be the first non-steroid National League player to hit that mark. Francisco Álvarez has been great at the plate and may be better defensively. Brandon Nimmo is having an All-Star caliber season (again).
Francisco Lindor is playing Gold Glove defense and has been hitting for power. We also have to remember with his struggles he’s a second half hitter. Jeff McNeil has struggled, but he too is at a point in the season where he usually takes off.
Where things are really promising is the older core from last season finding their games again. Since May 9, Starling Marte is hitting .288/.342/.356 and has stolen 16 bases this season. Since May 14, Mark Canha is hitting 333/.442/.556. Eduardo Escobar has thrived in a part-time role hitting .400/.442/.700 since April 20.
That’s not to say there hasn’t been any issues. Brett Baty is struggling at the plate hitting .200/.286/.400 since May 14, but he continues to play good defense with a 1 OAA. Since May 1, Daniel Vogelbach is hitting .170/.310/.254. With both to those players struggling, it is strange to see how infrequently Mark Vientos plays.
The bullpen doesn’t go that deep, but David Robertson has been a great anchor. You can rely on Drew Smith to be a bridge. However, Brooks Raley and Adam Ottavino are too important to be as shaky as they are.
That brings us to the Mets biggest issue – Buck Showalter. He’s managing like it’s 1988, and he does bizarre things like ignoring the numbers, batting Álvarez ninth, and shoe-horning Vogelbach into the lineup. He’s just never playing Vientos at this point treating him as a strict platoon player.
However, despite Buck (yes, despite him), the Mets are 30-27 just 3.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are 9-13 over their last 22 games. It’s allowed the Mets to get back into the NL East race.
The Mets are also currently the second Wild Card. They’re trailing the Arizona Diamondbacks/Los Angeles Dodgers by four games, but they have a one game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins, who are currently tied for the last Wild Card spot.
Of course, the standings right now don’t mean anything. We can just pinpoint the Mets last two seasons to illustrate that point. Rather, it just shows the Mets are in a great position to make a run. With the starting pitching emerging, their top hitters slugging, and the rest of the roster ready to break out, the Mets are poised to have a great summer, and hopefully, an even better October.
There is just so much to talk about with the New York Mets at the moment. On the good, we have Pete Alonso on pace for 60 home runs, and Francisco Álvarez increasingly looks like a lock for the National League Rookie of the Year.
Buck Showalter can’t seem to help himself. He threw Mark Vientos into a platoon for no good reason. Daniel Vogelbach looks done, and Tommy Pham may just be pushing past Vogelbach as the player to keep.
While the focus is everywhere and anywhere, we all seem to overlook just how good of a season Brandon Nimmo is having. Nimmo was out there in the last game to remind us how good and important he is:
Another phenomenal play from Brandon Nimmo in CF. pic.twitter.com/Nx83lPEDtB
— Steve Gelbs (@SteveGelbs) May 31, 2023
Nimmo made yet another great defensive play in center. That play was important too because his robbing Nick Castellanos of a home run kept the game tied at zero in what would eventually be a 2-0 Mets win. Considering it was a deep dive to left for Castellanos, we probably also avoided something horrible happening.
Defensively, Nimmo has been very good for a few seasons now. This year, Nimmo has a 2 OAA which ranks sixth in the National League. Since the start of last season, Nimmo has a 6 OAA which rates him as the sixth best in the National League.
Offensively, Nimmo has a 134 wRC+. That rates as the 33rd best in all of baseball. Among center fielders, Nimmo behind just Aaron Judge and Mike Trout. Of course, Nimmo rates ahead of both of them defensively. He’s also much closer to them as an overall player as you may think.
Nimmo’s 2.0 fWAR trails Judge’s 2.9, but it is ahead of Trout’s 1.9. Like with wRC+, they are the top three center fielders in the game. Overall, Nimmo’s 2.0 fWAR is tied for 14th overall. That rates him as the fourth best NL outfielder. That should mean he’s an All-Star, but every year, he just seems to get overlooked.
In terms of bWAR, Nimmo’s 1.7 is second on the New York Mets only to Alonso. It rates him as 34th overall and 15th among outfielders. He’s eighth among center fielders and third among NL center fielders.
Overall, Nimmo is having another great year, and he should be an All-Star for the first time in his career. Of course, he may not be as people tend to overlook all the great things he does. After all, with everything going on with the Mets, we tend to have our focus in other directions even if we need to take time to acknowledge Nimmo.
The start of the season has not been kind to the New York Mets rotation. José Quintana is out until July after his bone graft surgery. Justin Verlander started the season on the IL, and it looks like he’s ready to return after over a month on the IL.
Max Scherzer needed a day between starts, and then, he was given the bogus 10 game suspension. Carlos Carrasco struggled with the pitch clock, and then, he was shut down with right elbow inflammation,.
Kodai Senga has so far struggled getting accustomed to pitching in the Major Leagues. We don’t know if it is the quicker turn around between starts or the ball. Whatever the case is, he’s walking the ballpark, and as a result, he can’t go deep into games.
It’s possible some of the Mets pitchers issues is fatigue caused by the pitch clock. It could also be age. It may just be a mixture of everything. Whatever the case, the Mets rotation is a bit of a mess.
We saw David Peterson struggle and get sent down to Triple-A Syracuse. Tylor Megill has been uneven, but he has probably been the Mets best starter to date. Joey Lucchesi has been a pleasant surprise, and it may be difficult to lift him from the rotation with his early season success.
Looking at everything, the question is why should the Mets look to remove Megill or Lucchesi from the rotation? Sure, it would push the rotation to six starters, but at the same token, that’s what the Mets need right now.
The team is already giving Senga an extra day with Senga not being used to pitching every five days in Japan. Verlander had all of one rehab start, and that didn’t go five innings. Scherzer has needed a break, and Carrasco may return soon.
Another factor is the Mets start a stretch of games where they play six games in five days. Right there, they will need six starting pitchers. After that, they have an off day on Monday, May 8. After that, the Mets play 13 straight games before their next break. Overall, they are set to play 25 games over the next 27 days.
That schedule includes three separate road trips, and the stretch ends with a trip to Coors Field. As we know those Coors Field trips mess up with your pitching staff something fierce.
Taking it all into account, the Mets have pitchers who are still building arm strength. They are still getting accustomed to the pitch clock, and they have been battling fatigue a bit. There is a lot of games bunched together with a lot of travel.
The best way for the Mets to handle it all for the moment is to go to a six man rotation. Keep arms like Scherzer and Verlander fresh. Give Senga a better chance to acclimate to New York. Give Lucchesi and Megill a longer look in the rotation to see who can stick while Quintana and Carrasco is sidelined.
The six man rotation is what the Mets need now to ensure they make it healthy and strong to the end of the season. They need it now to let them survive a tightly packed May schedule.
The New York Mets finished April with a 15-12 record three games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East. Even for the Mets, there was a lot to digest:
2. Jacob deGrom‘s continued injuries are sad, and we should all want the best for him. However, no one should be using that as justification for the Mets letting him go to Texas when Justin Verlander has yet to throw a pitch for the Mets.
3. David Peterson pitched himself out of the rotation, and it’s not clear where the Mets go from here with him. He’s in Triple-A where he belongs for the time being. In the long term, the Mets need to figure out if he’s salvageable as a starter, needs to be their Trevor Williams, or perhaps their next Seth Lugo.
4. David Robertson has more than taken over for Edwin Díaz. The issue is the rest of the bullpen continues to fluctuate between injured, ineffective, and lights out. Really, game-to-game, the Mets have no consistency down there other than Robertson.
5. The youth movement has begun with Brett Baty, and we see Francisco Álvarez has been forcing the issue (surprisingly with his defense). At some point, the Mets are going to have to just give the DH job to Mark Vientos because he has been annihilating the baseball.
6. Buck Showalter seems content to stick with his veterans, and if that continues in the long run, it is going to be a problem. Given how young players were the key to his success in Baltimore, it is flat out crazy to see how he hasn’t involved from the instincts which doomed him with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Texas Rangers.
7. Pete Alonso has been nearly everything you could ask from him to start this season. In fact, he’s even back to playing good defense at first base.
8. Brandon Nimmo has responded to signing that massive contract by arguably being the best player in baseball to start the season. This will be the first season he is an All-Star, and we should seem him get some MVP consideration should he stay healthy.
9. It’s been an uneasy start for Francisco Lindor, but he has been phenomenal defensively. Just remember with him, May is typically the month he breaks out in a season, so we should be in for a treat.
10. The way Daniel Vogelbach has started the season he is going to give the Mets reason to follow Daniel Murphy, who is off to a hot start with the Long Island Ducks. Better yet, we may see Vientos here sooner rather than later. Really, at some point, Vogelbach has to hit for some power.
11. Whatever the Mets thinking was on Tommy Pham, it was wrong. Moreover, it was wrong to build outfield depth with players 34 and older (aside from Nimmo). That goes double when you consider the Mets have zero Major League ready outfield depth in Syracuse.
12. Jeff McNeil surprisingly got off to a very slow start. However, he has been really strong the past two weeks, and he appears poised to have another very good season for the Mets.
13. McNeil needs to be more of a table setter. The Mets going with Starling Marte batting second just isn’t working. He’s making weak contact, and he’s just not getting on base enough. McNeil isn’t a five hitter. Again, Showalter needs to stop with the deference to veterans and start looking to win games.
14. Give Eduardo Escobar all the credit in the world. He lost his job, and he responded by being an amazing teammate and mentor. While his production may not be what the Mets wanted it to be when they signed him, the signing has paid off tenfold with his leadership and clubhouse presence.
15. Increasingly, Mark Canha looks done, at least as an everyday player. There needs to be a rotation with him and Luis Guillorme playing until the Mets figure out what they want to do with Ronny Mauricio. On Mauricio, so long as Showalter is loathe to play the young players, you simply cannot call him up.
16. There is an ace somewhere inside Kodai Senga. We saw it in Japan, and we have seen glimpses of it here. However, if he is going to continue to walk the ballpark, he is going to be a borderline MLB starter. That is a huge problem for the Mets with much of their success being tied into how good or bad he performs.
17. Every year, Drew Smith seems to be performing worse than what his actual numbers are. Part of that is his walk rate is too high.
18. Tomás Nido‘s defensive metrics are surprisingly poor. Part of that may be the difficulties in catching Senga. If not, the Mets are in trouble when their defensive specialist behind the plate isn’t performing.
19. The biggest takeaway from April is the Mets appear to be a postseason team with part of that being because it is an expanded postseason format. Keep in mind, while their record now may not be awe inspiring, they are still on a 90 win pace.
20. It needs to be repeated over and over again. The Mets need to go with their younger and more productive players. If Showalter is going to stand in the way of that, the Mets need to find someone who won’t. It’s just that simple.
Back in 2016, after we saw Michael Conforto hit a home run in the World Series against a left-handed pitcher, Terry Collins still did not believe Conforto could hit left-handed pitching. As a result, he stuck Conforto into a platoon.
Now, Conforto was 23 years old, and despite the heroics of Yoenis Céspedes, he was probably the best outfielder on the roster. More than that, Conforto was the present and the future of the Mets. Despite that, Collins said Conforto was in a platoon because, “We’re in a situation where we’re trying to win games. This is not a time to develop players.”
It was nonsense at the time he said it, and it remains nonsense now. The goal as a manager is to win games, and it is to get the most out of your players. You win more games in the long run by developing and learning how to get more out of your players.
Fast forward to 2023, and we are seeing Buck Showalter is really no different than Collins.
At the moment, it at least seems like Brett Baty is in a third base platoon with Eduardo Escobar. Now, Escobar did hit left-handed pitching well, but then again, Baty is up here because of Escobar’s failings. Moreover, Escobar could be inserted into the lineup at the DH spot because Daniel Vogelbach cannot hit left-handed pitching at all.
However, it is Baty sitting with Showalter eschewing player development. On that topic, Showalter talked around the fact he has instituted a platoon:
Buck Showalter says that he doesn't see third base as a strict platoon with Brett Baty and Eduardo Escobar right now:
"Want to use both their skills, make sure that I don't close the door on anybody. We're gonna need both of them." pic.twitter.com/kutxXjRWLt
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 26, 2023
Showalter can say whatever he wants, but until Baty plays against left-handed pitching regularly, he’s lying. Again, he’s sacrificing a chance to develop Baty for the sake of playing Escobar and Tommy Pham. That wont’ work for the long term, and we are not talking about future years. it can impact the Mets in August, September, and October.
This isn’t too different than what he is doing with Francisco Álvarez. All offseason and spring, the Mets said when he gets called up to the majors, he is the everyday catcher. Omar Narváez was injured early in the season leading the Mets to call up Álvarez sooner than anticipated.
Well, instead of sticking to the player development plan, Tomás Nido was elevated to starter. He has been that despite not performing offensively or defensively. In fact, in his limited duties, Álvarez has been outperforming Nido.
Sure, it makes sense to keep Nido with Kodai Senga. Asking Álvarez to catch him may be too much, too soon. That said, there is no reason why Álvarez is not regularly catching the other four Mets starters.
Perhaps, it is because Showalter subscribes to the Collins school of thought where you don’t develop young players. Getting players to improve is somehow antithetical to winning in their minds. It’s notable Collins never won anything, and despite all the Manager of the Year Awards, neither has Showalter.
Perhaps, the key to winning is to play your best players. Perhaps, the key to winning is to take your most talented players and get the most out of them. It seems to work for other teams. Perhaps, it could work for the Mets.
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.