New York Mets: 5 reasons for optimism – Part 2 Starting Pitching

Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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New York Mets
New York Mets. Jason Vargas. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

The rest

Steven Matz

Starting with Steven Matz, it’s fair to say he’s been a bit of a disappointment. The local product from Ward Melville High School in East Setauket was selected in the 2009 draft with the Mets second-round pick. It took six years for him to reach the majors, but when he did, Matz went 4-0 down the stretch to help the Amazins make the postseason.

Since then, inconsistency and injuries have been his downfall. Last season Matz was 5-11 with a 3.97 ERA. An improvement over 2017 where he was 2-7 and had an ERA over six runs a game. There has been lots of speculation as to why Matz hasn’t developed, but the bottom line is when healthy he is as good of a fourth starter as can be found.

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As mentioned above, Matz doesn’t throw his fastball much. Rather he earns his pay with off-speed pitches. A heavy curveball and sinking changeup are his bread and butter. Matz has the opportunity to be the Bob Ojeda of this staff. Flashback to 1986: After facing hard-throwing righty Doc Gooden in 1986, the Mets came back with finesse lefty Ojeda the next game and the combination threw off hitters timing.

Jason Vargas

For fifth starter Jason Vegas last year was a tale of two seasons. He was injured in spring training and was absolutely abysmal once he came back in late April. Vargas spent much of the mid-summer on the injured list again, making just one appearance between June 18 and August 2.

The switch flipped for him on August 19. From then through the end of the season he was fantastic. Over his final seven starts, the 36-year-old went 6-1, struck out 40 and held opposing batters to a .198 average with an ERA of 2.56.

Should this year’s Mets get the late season version of Vargas, he will make this a solid five-man unit. Look for him to intermix his average fastball with a very good circle change to fool hitters. Every now and then Vargas will throw a knuckle-curve.

Backup Plans

If a need arises, due to injury, the New York Mets have some depth available. Either Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman could step up into the rotation. If the Mets prefer to keep the duo in the bullpen, then promising Corey Oswalt would be the most likely replacement.

Next. Mets: 5 reasons for 2019 optimism – Part 1 Young Stars. dark

The Mets have an outstanding starting rotation. Fans should feel terrific headed into 2019 about this staff.