Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo are all healthy and ready to go for the 2017 baseball season. Seven guys with five spots to fill is an advantage for the Mets. Nothing is certain with the Mets rotation this season, so a surplus of pitching is a must. The only certain spots in the rotation are Syndergaard, deGrom, Matz and Harvey. For the last spot in the rotation Wheeler, Lugo and Gsellman will have to out pitch each other in Spring Training.
Lets take a look at Seth Lugo. Starting the 2016 season in AAA Vegas, Lugo wasn’t exactly a stud pitcher. Then again, not many guys can pitch in Las Vegas and be a stud considering the air is very similar to Colorado. In 21 games pitched with 14 starts, Lugo was 3 and 4 with over a 6.00 ERA. Considering how bad pitchers are normally in Vegas, I decided to take a look at Lugo’s AA numbers in Binghamton in 2015. In 19 starts, Lugo went 6-5 with a 3.80 era. Now, the win/loss record doesn’t stand out to me but that ERA in a place that is similar but colder than New York really did impress me.
With Injuries to the entire rotation minus Syndergaard, Lugo came up in 2016 and played a big factor in turning the Mets season around. After working mainly out of the bullpen after his call up on July 1st, Lugo took the mound for his first career start on August 19th. In 8 starts, he went 5-1 and started to play a major role in the playoff race.
In 2017, I expect a challenge for Lugo to make the rotation. Lugo will not be in camp later in Spring Training because he will be pitching for Puerto Rico in the WBC. With experience coming out of the bullpen, and a curveball still in development, I would like to see Lugo as another strong arm out of the pen. He can be a guy who can come in the 6th and pitch 2 innings, or come in in the 7th and get out of jam. However, I do believe the 5th spot is Lugo’s to lose going into the 2017 season.
Next I’ll like to talk about one of my favorite prospects Robert Gsellman. In July of 2015, my friend Vin and I made a trip upstate to see Michael Conforto in Binghamton. In the first game we saw this guy with long hair on the mound pitching. Gsellman started that game and pitched 7 innings, 2 hits and 2 ER and I was really impressed. Going into 2016, I really considered him to be a dark horse. I really thought he would come up into the major and really be successful.
The numbers were impressive. In 8 games he had 7 starts going 4-2 with a 2.42 era while playing with a labrum tear in his non throwing shoulder. This guy couldn’t swing a bat, which nobody was able to figure out in baseball, and still was able to pitch.
Personally, I love Gsellman, no not because of his hair, but because of that bull dog mentally I believe he has. He is going to get his first full camp with every chance to be the number 5 starter. If he doesn’t get the spot, he should end up back in AAA in the rotation.
The biggest question mark in the 2017 5th spot mix is Zack Wheeler. Going into the 2015 season, the top 2 in the rotation was going to be Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. However, Wheeler had some discomfort early in spring and ended up needing to get Tommy John surgery.
After the emergence of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, it seemed that 2016 would be the year of the young guns with the return of Wheeler at some point during the season. Unfortunately, Wheeler was unable to make a return and would go on to miss 2 full seasons.
Going into Spring 2017, the Mets announced that Wheeler would be on a 100 inning limit. With that being said, I do believe at some point during the season, Zack will be in the rotation, it’s just a matter of when. The key to this is, does the 100 innings include minor league rehab? The last thing the Mets want to do is bring a guy in during a pennant run.
Pitching in baseball is about routine, especially for a starter. I’d like for the Mets to play the handle of Wheeler really safe. I would like for him not to make the team out of camp, let him stay in Port St. Lucie for what is called extended spring training. Wheeler will have to accept a rehab assignment this season, but I don’t see why he wouldn’t. If the rehab assignment won’t be including in his 100 innings, the Mets can evaluate the situation after the July all-star game. If a starter is needed, Wheeler can be the guy. If they need another arm in the bullpen, Wheeler can also be the guy. With all this being said, if all goes right, Wheeler will be back in the rotation in 2018.
My prediction of the starting rotation for the 2017 New York Mets season is Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo. I hope this will be the rotation for the entire season. It’s going to be fun watching these pitchers go out every 5th day to compete. #LGM