mets former aces
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If you pick one Mets-related photo that makes you sad every time you see it, what would you choose? Mets fans have a lot of choices, but for me, I think this one takes the cake:

The vibes were immaculate for the Mets when this picture was taken. Sure, they had just lost the World Series to the Kansas City Royals, but the future looked bright, didn’t it? They made a deep postseason run for the first time in about a decade, and all the rebuilding/retooling around elite pitching prospects was about to pay off.

Except it didn’t.

But on the heels of Jacob deGrom needing a second Tommy John surgery and missing the rest of 2023, it got me thinking about this picture again. And, how virtually none of them are having the type of season they envisioned during the winter.

Matt Harvey put together a solid showing in the World Baseball Classic. Despite a lack of velocity, he was trying to show he could reinvent himself on the mound and still be effective. No teams came calling, which led to him officially retiring.

Noah Syndergaard has continued to look like a shell of his former hard-throwing self. Through 52.1 innings with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he owns a 6.54 ERA with a 1.39 WHIP, a 15.3% strikeout rate, and an average fastball velocity of just 92.7 mph. He’d also do just about anything to pitch the way he used to again.

After spurning the Mets for a four-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, Steven Matz hasn’t been anywhere close to what he produced in 2021 for the Toronto Blue Jays. In 103.1 innings with his current club between 2022-23, the southpaw owns a 5.31 ERA and 1.47 WHIP.

Zack Wheeler is in the best spot of all his former teammates. His 2023 season hasn’t necessarily been bad, either. It’s just been much worse than his first three seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.

From 2020-22, Wheeler went 30-19 with a 2.82 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 463 strikeouts in 437.1 innings. This included a second-place finish in NL Cy Young voting in 2021. So far this season, his ERA (4.33) and WHIP (1.21) are much higher through 68.2 innings. Adjusting to the pitch clock could be impacting him, which is something he may not “ever get comfortable with”.

While Bartolo Colon wasn’t one of the homegrown aces, we’ll throw him in here, too. He’d like to be pitching for the Mets right now. Instead, he’s preparing for his official retirement ceremony at Citi Field this August.

Baseball is a crazy game. Just a few short years ago, it looked like at least a couple of these hurlers would anchor New York’s rotation for a long time. None of them are associated with the organization any longer, and they’re all dealing with a 2023 campaign that’s not looking how they hoped it would.

You can reach Matt Musico at 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.