Even with Steven Matz nearing a return to the rotation, Corey Oswalt still will get his chance to impress the New York Mets heading into 2019.
It has been an up-and-down year for New York Mets pitcher Corey Oswalt. For the bulk of the season, he has gone back-and-forth between the big leagues and Triple-A Las Vegas. Now, with Steven Matz on the disabled list due to a forearm strain, Oswalt is going to get a chance to put his name in a conversation for the 2019 roster.
Despite taking a no-decision in each of his last two starts, the 24-year-old right-hander has had three quality starts in his last five outings despite never throwing more than 87 pitches.
However, last Sunday’s game could be an indicator that the Mets coaching staff is looking to see how far Oswalt can go into games. Well, one thing to consider is that he has not thrown more than six innings in any game this year and that includes his time in Las Vegas.
The last time that Oswalt has gone seven innings or more in a game was on August 20, 2017, when he was Double-A Binghamton. The key for him is to get experience facing an opponent a third time through the order. This year, teams are 5-for-18 the third time around with one home run allowed.
While Oswalt doesn’t generate many swings-and-misses with his fastball, he has done a good job throwing his changeup for strikes. According to Brooks Baseball, teams are hitting .182 against that pitch with five strikeouts. Plus, he has had seven strikeouts off of his curveball with just one home run allowed. These stats are before Saturday’s start in Miami.
When Oswalt is at his best, it is when he is getting the opposition to hit the ball on the ground. He has had eight or more groundball outs in four of his last five outings. With that being said, he did have 13 fly ball outs against the Braves. However, that comes with the territory of pitching to contact rather than racking up a high strikeout total.
Even if Oswalt makes a good impression down the stretch, it is highly unlikely he will be in the 2019 rotation regardless of whether the Mets decide to trade one of their top starters this winter. Since Seth Lugo will likely be in the rotation in that scenario anyway, Oswalt could possibly be in the running for the long man spot in 2019.
The New York Mets may have top prospects with more hype in the minor leagues such as Justin Dunn and David Peterson. However, Oswalt showed in the minors that he can consistently put up quality starts. Now, he will get his opportunity to show he can do that at the Major League level.
Steven Matz will throw a simulated game tomorrow, Mickey Callaway said. He might pitch in the doubleheader Thursday against the Phillies.
When Matz is back, Mets might go to a six-man rotation to keep Corey Oswalt around, Callaway said.
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) August 10, 2018
If Oswalt can start pitching six innings in outings more frequently, then he has a good opportunity to crack the 2019 roster.
With the way Jason Vargas has pitched, it at least gives New York Mets fans something to watch from the back end of their rotation the rest of the way.