You’re the New York Mets. Sure you fell short in the World Series the season prior. And yes, you didn’t pony up the cash for Daniel Murphy. Instead, you let him go to a division rival! Still, in came Neil Walker. Yoenis CA�spedes returned. Even fan favorite Bartolo ColA?n came back on a one-year deal.
But most importantly, you had a rotation that, on paper, could destroy even the mightiest of offenses. What’s that they say about the best laid plans? So, where should we begin? Well, there’s Matt Harvey. Tommy John surgery recovery aside, he was entering his age-27 season with a 2.94 ERA, 2.81 FIP, and 2.99 DRA to go along with just over a strikeout per inning. He was nails last season.
Then, 2016 came around. Harvey was in the middle of his career-worst year, eventually leading to surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. We cannot say he’ll be back to his vintage self upon returning, either. That’s one.
What about Noah Syndergaard? The man who throws harder than nearly all of ’em began struggling for a start or two. And while his elbow seems to be fine, pitching with bone spurs is no easy task. That’s two, sort of. At this point, he’s the healthiest of the bunch. In the meantime, the Mets will certainly take a 2.56 ERA, 2.34 FIP, 2.98 DRA to go along with a strikeout rate of 10.4 per nine. For their sake, let’s hope it lasts.
The promising Steven Matz? Shoulder impingement and a DL stint. That’s three. Sure, the numbers weren’t nearly as dominant as Thor’s (3.40 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 3.32 DRA, 8.8 K/9), but that’ll play. Especially out of a No. 4 starter. Yes, a No. 4. Amazing, isn’t it? And that leaves…
…Jacob deGrom. He’s New York’s most recent rotation casualty, as elbow tendinitis is likely to keep him out of action for a while. At first, it was supposed to be one start. Now? Well, you didn’t think this was going to be good news, did you? Rookie of the Year in 2014; Cy Young favorite last seasona��hey, this season, too. Now this.
That’s four, friends. Four acesa��well, on paper anywaya��all dealing with season-hindering ailments. All in the same season, no less. That’s how quickly things can change. Oh, and let’s not forget about Zack Wheeler. Remember him? Almost traded to Milwaukee last season, Wheeler was on his way back from TJS this year. It isn’t going well. So much so that he was just recently shutdown altogether.
Think of that potential rotation for just a moment. Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, and Wheeler. All of them good-to-great, none of them over the age of 28. Then there’s the reality: none of them fully healthy. So here we are. When a 43-year-old ColA?n is your most durable pitchera��they’re going to bring him backa��suddenly it’s an unavoidable issue.
And sure countless contributors on offense keep getting hurt, but the Mets are still just one game out of the wild card race. Sensational. At least there’s CA�spedes. Speaking of…
How did we get here? Back when CA�spedes was with Boston, the Red Sox acquired Rick Porcello from Detroit for him. We didn’t think much of it at the time. Outside of 2013 (2.93 DRA over 177 innings), he was just a mediocre pitcher. Two years later in his first season with Boston, Porcello kept more or less in line with his norms: 4.92 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 4.14 DRA.
There was one significant change, however. Over his first six seasons, Porcello struck out only 5.5 batters per nine. In 2015, the rate rose to 7.8. This season it’s resting at 7.4, but that’s not all. At age 27 (I could have sworn he was older), Porcello is in the middle of a career year: 3.23 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 3.61 DRA. And in his last eight starts, he’s tossed at least 7 innings while allowing just three earned runs or less.
So, we’ve got a potential Cy Young rotation in New York entirely on the fritz. Plus, an outside Cy Young favorite in the AL in Rick Porcello. And somehow, Yoenis CA�spedes is some sort of strange common denominator in all of this. Even though he had nothing to do with any of this. Well, for the most part.
Because had the Mets not acquired CA�spedes in the summer of 2015, we’d probably be seeing Michael Fulmer make his starts for New York. Then again, had the Mets not acquired CA�spedes, we wouldn’t have seen them in the World Series. And, they wouldn’t be in contention for the postseason right now.