— New York Mets (@Mets) June 6, 2016
New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz is making an impressive case for National League Rookie of the Year. Can he deliver?Picture this:
It’s April 11th, 2016.
You’re the Stony Brook southpaw, 25-year-old Steven Matz, making your rookie season debut for the New York Mets.
You’re coming off a three month roller coaster in the Bigs that took you from a 4-0 regular season record – with a 2.27 ERA – on a suddenly dominant team, all the way to a World Series appearance. The first of hopefully many.
You’d be crazy to think you greeted Mets fans of 2016 with a paltry 1.2 IP, allowing 7 ER to the Fish down in Miami, and earning the very first loss of your young career.
Now, in those same shoes, imagine this:
It’s June 7th, 2016.
You’re making your 10th start of the season, this time against lefty Jon Niese of the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose place you rightfully usurped in a star-studded rotation.
You’ll enter donning a 7-1 record with a 2.60 ERA. You’re coming off a historic stretch of dominance that saw you deliver seven straight wins, while slashing nearly 36 points off of your once-ghastly ERA.
In an otherwise ‘bleh’ month for the Mets, where they held a 14-15 record, you shined the brightest, being named the N.L. Rookie of Month of May, going (4-0) with a 1.83 ERA and 0.76 WHIP.
And, get this: Your team, with their silent offense, has desperately needed the tear you’re currently on.
This is the curious case of Steven Matz; the man everyone across the Big Apple will deem SuperMatz… If, that is, he continues to perform at his current rate and ability.
Some may remember Matz for his major league debut, when he accomplished the impossible in driving home the talents of Darrell Ceciliani, Eric Campbell, Johnny Monell, and John Mayberry at the plate, on his way to a four-hit and four-RBI day.
Still, by this year’s end, that feat of ‘heroism’ won’t be the only accomplishment to his name. This time, Matz will have an actual trophy to toss on a mantel, given to him for excellence in doing his actual job, pitching a baseball: The National League Rookie of the Year Award.
The last Met to win the award was none other than rotation-pal Jacob deGrom back in 2014. Although, Matz isn’t nearly as large of a dark-horse candidate as deGrom.
Unless you live under a rock, you likely know about Noah Syndergaard, the hulking ace that leads the way for New York’s hurlers.
Still, you may not know that in more than two months since the season began, Matz has been 1B to Syndergaard’s 1A for the pitching staff that goes five-deep.
Other than a potential late-push from Washington National’s shortstop prospect Trea Turner, this year’s N.L. Rookie of the Year should be a 2-man race between Matz and Dodger’s shortstop – and baseball’s top prospect – Corey Seager.
Seager is giving him a run for his money, as we can expect all season long, but this year’s Rookie of the Year Award is Matz’ for the taking.[graphiq id=”kiCI2ByYd3n” title=”Steven Matz 2016 Pitch Selection Breakdown” width=”600″ height=”535″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/kiCI2ByYd3n” link=”http://baseball-players.pointafter.com/l/18757/Steven-Matz” link_text=”Steven Matz 2016 Pitch Selection Breakdown | PointAfter” ]
Let’s think for a second.
Matz is one of only two lefties since 1900 to win 11 of their first 15 starts in the MLB. He fell one game short of tying Tom Seaver’s franchise record of eight straight wins and allowing 2 ER or fewer. He garners the fourth lowest Hard-Hit Rate in baseball, at 8.3%, behind his pal Syndergaard, among others.
His stuff on the mound is, in a word, nasty, with plus breaking-balls and impeccable fastball command. He isn’t afraid to work inside. Matz incessantly misses bats while avoiding the sin that is dragging himself down with walks.
With that said, a Rookie of the Year award doesn’t seem so far-fetched, does it?