New York Mets: Seth Lugo’s 2020 role on pitching staff in limbo

Seth Lugo, Wilson Ramos, New York Mets . (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Seth Lugo, Wilson Ramos, New York Mets . (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

This offseason New York Mets GM Brodie van Wagenen has talked about moving effective reliever Seth Lugo into the starting rotation. Then he signed a former Cy Young winner. So what is Lugo’s role in 2020?

Will Seth Lugo be a starter or reliever on the 2020 New York Mets?

The  Mets have a very valuable commodity in pitcher Seth Lugo. His talent and versatility make him a candidate for several different jobs on the Amazins pitching staff. He can start, eat innings from the bullpen, or even close games, if necessary. While versatility is good, having an ad hoc role on a major league team sometimes isn’t.

It’s rare that a pitcher at this level has five quality pitches, but Lugo utilizes a four-seem fastball, sinker, curve, slider, and change-up. He can get his fastball up to 95 mph. The pitch looks even better when combined with his biting sinker and hard slider. The combination generates a high-level of swings and misses, due to the different types of movement. If he threw any harder, it might not be fair for hitters.

The other aspect Lugo brings to the New York Mets table is durability. As the old saying goes, sometimes the best ability is availability. When pitching out of the bullpen, he can bounce back quickly and be effective. Over the last two seasons manager, Mickey Callaway had the confidence in Lugo to use him almost every other day.

Lugo was quite effective is a setup role and has even closed out a few games. Since moving to the bullpen full-time in 2018, the Louisiana native has been outstanding. He has thrown 181 innings over 115 appearances with a 2.68 ERA, 207 strikeouts, 44 walks, and a 0.998 WHIP. Very impressive numbers.

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New York Mets GM Brodie van Wagenen has said several times, this offseason, he is comfortable with moving Lugo back into the rotation for 2020. Admittedly, the righty struggled the last time he was a regular starter back in 2017, but he has developed greatly as a pitcher since then. It’s confusing to many Mets fans that BVW would want to go in that direction with Lugo and then sign Michael Wacha and 2016 AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello.

If the fans are confused, what is going through Lugo’s head as he prepares for the 2020 season? Does he work on building the kind of stamina that will carry him through six or seven innings every five days? Or does work on the durability which allows him to throw a hard inning or two, four or more times a week?

I’m inclined to believe that closer Edwin Diaz‘ abysmal 2019 was a one-off. He’s got too much talent to fail like the same way next season. Lugo, Robert Gsellman, and newly signed Dellin Betances would make a great setup combination to bridge the gap between the starters and Diaz. If Diaz does implode again, Lugo should be the first candidate to be the new closer. That move would be harder to do if Lugo had to be pulled out of the starting rotation mid-season.

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What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below or on social media.