The New York Mets’ starting staff is undoubtedly the best in baseball. That is, as long as they’re healthy.
A year ago, after the New York Mets reached the World Series, their starting rotation was the talk of baseball.
They had it all: youth, depth, power, talent, and the mentality that they could beat anybody. And they just about did.
After a great overall regular season in 2015, the rotation – having ranked fourth in the National League in ERA – continued in the playoffs, shutting down the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs to reach the World Series for the first time since the Subway Series in 2000.
The crescendo of their masterful work was during the Cubs’ series in the NLCS, as the young, high-powered Chicago lineup never took a lead in the series and was sent packing in a four game sweep.
This Mets’ rotation was on track to dominate baseball for years to come, as their low-to-mid 20s ages would suggest.
However, in 2016, the injury train started to gain steam. And as a result, the starting staff was not as consistent as the year before.
So entering the 2017 season, the main guys should be back in the Mets rotation, including the seemingly hibernating Zack Wheeler, who missed the entire 2015 and ’16 seasons after recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Sure, there are other strong rotations in the league.
The Cubs finally won the World Series in 2016 for the first time since 1908. Hidden behind their young, power hitting lineup, the Cubs had a deep rotation in strong, playoff tested veterans Jon Lester and John Lackey, 2015 NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and 2016 MLB ERA-leader Kyle Hendricks.
The Washington Nationals, as Mets fans know, have a strong one-two punch in Stephen Strasburg and 2016 NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. Beneath that duo, Tanner Roark has had some good success for the Nats as well.
Finally, the Boston Red Sox significantly improved their rotation recently as well, acquiring Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox – forming a Big Three with lefty David Price and the 2016 AL Cy Young winner in Rick Porcello.
Those three rotations are considered the best in baseball on paper right now. And rightfully so.
However let’s not forget about a Mets’ rotation which, a year ago, was considered the best of the bunch not only now, but for the foreseeable future as well.
Of course, the above injuries set them back, and that definitely will be a concern entering the 2017 season, but injuries have been more than overcome in the past.
All the Mets’ starters should be ready at the start of next season, and if they’re all healthy over the course of the year, there’s no reason to think that they couldn’t be the best again.
This quintet is still under 30-years-old, with deGrom being the oldest at 28 entering Spring Training. Each can still throw hard, with their fastballs sitting at 90-plus mph, complete with the necessary secondary pitches that make them even tougher to hit.
As was seen in the 2015 playoffs, all except the injured Wheeler proved that they could win in a big spot.
Wheeler has an uphill battle coming after missing each of the last two seasons. Rust will no doubt be a factor, but he’s still young at 26-years-old, so with his hard-throwing ability, don’t be surprised if he comes up big for this staff that has been aching to have him in the fold with them.
Harvey, meanwhile, had a terrible 2016 season prior to his shoulder surgery, but he has bounced back from Tommy John with his incredible work in 2015, proving he can come back from surgery with his unique bulldog mentality.
deGrom, before his elbow issues at the end of August, was having another deGrominating season. So when healthy, the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year is definitely a weapon.
Matz has had the injury bug since he came into the majors, but if healthy, he could be one of the best lefties in the game.
Syndergaard is a well known stud, and right now is one of the best out there with his fastball pushing in and over the upper-90s, mixed with a whipping slider in the low-90s as well. He too has some issues with a bone spur in his elbow, but he pitched through it and finished 2016 strong by throwing seven scoreless innings in the home Wild Card loss to the San Francisco Giants.
So if healthy, there’s no reason to think that this Mets’ staff can’t dominate again and be the best in baseball.