tylor megill mets
Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when we said the Mets would need every bit of the perceived pitching depth they built up over the winter? That was (unfortunately) proven yet again on Thursday. Instead of preparing for his team debut, Justin Verlander is now on the injured list. It seems minor and precautionary, which provides some silver lining. However, this also means Tylor Megill will take his spot for the time being.

That’s a role the hurler they call “Big Drip” is quite familiar with. It’s one he excelled in at the start of the 2022 season.

Taking the hill on Saturday in Miami is important. But what’s more notable — from a pomp and circumstance standpoint — will be his second start of the year. When manager Buck Showalter initially set his starting rotation order, he had Max Scherzer lined up for Opening Day and Verlander set to pitch the home opener next week.

This honor now belongs to Megill. It’s the second straight year a Mets Opening Day start has literally fallen right into his lap.

Last April, Jacob deGrom hit the injured list less than a week before Opening Day in Washington D.C. against the Nationals. It was too late for Scherzer to change his schedule, so Showalter decided to give Megill the ball. He responded with five shutout innings while allowing just three hits, no walks, and six strikeouts while earning the win.

His performance also kickstarted a tremendous April for the right-handed hurler. Through 28 innings of work, Megill posted a 1.93 ERA and 0.86 WHIP to go along with a 25.2% strikeout rate and 5.6% walk rate. In the five starts he made, Megill walked away with four victories and one no-decision.

He also racked up 0.8 fWAR in April, which was among the top-15 in baseball when looking at qualified starters. That number was slightly better than guys like Dylan Cease, Logan Webb, Shane McClanahan, Shane Bieber, Corbin Burnes, and Verlander, to name a few.

If there’s anyone who can join the rotation and start producing in this exact situation, it’s Megill. I mean, he just did it last year. What’s interesting is the resume he’s built up since debuting in 2021. The 27-year-old has tossed a total of 137 big-league innings. He hasn’t accumulated more than 90 in a single year.

Yet, in his third season, he’ll already have one Opening Day start and one Home Opening Day start under his belt. That has to be rare, right? What’s even better is the timing of it all.

When Megill took the hill for Opening Day last year, the date was April 7th. Once he toes the slab at Citi Field to kick off Mets home games in 2023, the date will be April 6th. The symmetry is just immaculate.

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You can reach Matt Musico at matt.musico@xlmedia.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.