New York Mets fans have been dreaming over the possibility of having their starting quintet for a full season, and 2017 may be that year.It’s only spring training time, but so far the New York Mets‘ rotation is looking like it could potentially compete to be the best in baseball in 2017.
Despite losing the ageless Bartolo Colon to their National League East rival Atlanta Braves, the Mets will still trot out five potential aces in this coming season.
Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and, eventually, Zack Wheeler will all toe the rubber for the Mets this season. Any of them could potentially lead the team in Wins or ERA.
In 2015, when healthy, this rotation took the Mets all the way to game five of the World Series. In 2016 the Mets were not nearly as healthy as they had been the previous season. Of the returning starters, only Syndergaard started more than 30 games on the season.
The Mets finished 2016 with an 87-75 record on the strength of their pitching staff. According to baseball-reference.com, the Mets starters gave up the third fewest runs per game in all of baseball last year at 3.81 – the league average was 4.48. Their 87 quality starts were also sixth overall, and twelve more than the league average.
Considering that Harvey’s ERA went up over two runs from the previous year, Wheeler didn’t pitch at all and injuries affected almost every other starting pitcher, those are pretty impressive numbers.
Bend but don’t break
On the surface, the rotation’s individual stats from last year don’t jump out at you as elite. In fact, if you subtract Colon from the equation, as we did below, the remaining starters’ 2016 numbers appear quite mediocre.
|Wheeler||DID NOT PITCH|
So how did they do it? The answer is a bend but don’t break pitching staff.
The Mets don’t walk anyone. Their BB/9 rate at 2.73 and K/BB rate at 3.18 were both second best in the majors. They don’t give up home runs either, as is evidenced by the staff’s league-best HR/9 rate at .95, showing they don’t allow the big hit with runners on. Their Left-On-Base percentage of 75.6 was also second best in baseball.
2016 was a great year for the Met’s pitching staff. But what’s more encouraging is that there’s room for drastic improvement.
So what do the experts think?
The expectation across baseball is that 2017 will be an even better year for the Amazins than last season, and ESNY agrees.
Here are some of the experts’ predictions for where the Mets staff will rank in the upcoming season:
- USA Today – Second
- Fox Sports – Second
- FanSided – Fourth
- Bleacher Report – Sixth