Mets send down Yamamoto

Jordan Yamamoto has been sent down to MiLB camp today. The Hawaiian born right-hander had an impressive spring as he was in competition for a spot in the rotation.

Although he’s only pitched in three games, he does owns a 1.08 ERA in 8.1 innings pitched while also having struck out five. Even though the former second-round pick doesn’t have an overwhelming fastball, he does know how to work his secondary pitches really well.

With this move, it looks like the Mets will utilize a rotation with two lefties included. The first being David Peterson and the latter being the newly acquired Joey Lucchesi.

While it was pretty much expected that Peterson would have a job on the MLB club, Lucchesi may come as a surprise to some. However, it probably won’t come as too much as a surprise.

This spring Lucchesi appeared in three games and has pitched to a 3.24 ERA in 8.1 innings pitched. While these numbers may not be a good as Yamamoto’s, it’s important to point out the Lucchesi has gotten batters to swing and miss more often.

The Mets may choose to skip Lucchesi’s first start of the season, being that there’s two days off within the first 10 days. This will give the Mets a fresh arm to use a couple of weeks later while not pushing the limitations of the starters in the rotation.

With everything said and done, we’ll see a healthy portion of Jordan Yamamoto this year. The right-hander has a ton of talent and knows how to put an incredible amount of movement on his pitches.

Who Fills Carlos Carrasco’s Spot in the Rotation?

With the injury today of Carlos Carrasco, there becomes two major questions: will he be ready to go for the first turn in the rotation, and if not, who takes his place?

Earlier this morning, March 18, the Mets announced that Carlos Carrasco has a strained hamstring. This injury could take varying amounts of time. Until we have more clarity about how long this will sideline the starting pitcher, we have to wonder who will take his rotation if he is not ready for opening day. Carrasco is currently awaiting the results of an MRI, which should provide more answers.

(THIS IS ALL ASSUMING HE IS HURT ON OPENING DAY)

The Rotation Right Now

  1. Jacob DeGrom
  2. Marcus Stroman
  3. Carlos Carrasco (INJURED)
  4. Taijuan Walker
  5. David Peterson

There was a lot of discussion as to whether David Peterson would be the five starter for the Mets on opening day, but now there is no question that he will be in the rotation.

The primary question now, is who will be the new number five? This is where the depth the Mets acquired in the off-season finally pays off.

The Candidates

The candidates are players that I believe have earned the right to be in this spot, not just any starting pitcher eligible.

Jordan Yamamoto

Jordan Yamamoto has been overly impressive this Spring. Yamamoto, 25, has pitched in 3 games this spring. He has pitched to a 1.08 ERA with a 0.960 WHIP over 8.1 IP. Granted, it is Spring Training, but Spring Training right now is the best evaluator of how he will pitch this season. I believe he has earned the right to be in the starting rotation, but there are still more pitchers to overview.

Robert Gsellman?

The main reason I have a question mark next to Gsellman’s name is because I’m not sure if he is ready to be a starter, or if the Mets want him to be. However, Gsellman has been having a good Spring. He hasn’t started yet, but was a starter at the beginning of his career with the Mets. He has pitched to a 2.25 ERA over 4 IP so far in Spring Training. The main issue is his WHIP- 1.750. He has given up six hits in those four innings, which leads to concerns about his ability to be a solid pitcher, let alone a starter. Either way, there should be a discussion had because of his past as a starter on the team.

Joey Lucchesi

The Mets three-team trade pickup has been dominant this Spring. He has pitched in 5 innings through two games, and has not given up a run. He also has been keeping people off base, with a 0.600 WHIP. The only baserunners he has allowed have come on three walks. Lucchesi has also struck out seven batters this spring. I think Lucchesi has a very good chance at cracking the rotation. He has a similar past in the Majors to Yamamoto, and has looked better in the Spring. The other thing that is in Lucchesi’s favor is his arm. He is a left-handed pitcher, something the Mets are always yearning to have more of. Having David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi in the rotation back-to-back would be tough for opponents. This is because teams normally need to change up their batting order to tackle a lefty.

Mike Montgomery

Montgomery is an interesting one. Another lefty, Montgomery has past starting experience. However, the Mets initial plan with him was to be a bullpen depth piece. That being said, the opportunity for him to start has to be discussed. He has only pitched in two games this Spring, but Luis Rojas said that they intend to stretch him out. Doing so allows the Mets to see how he will handle starting, and pitching long into games.

Corey Oswalt

This is a name that will probably confuse people. Oswalt is also the most high-risk high-reward player here. He was unbelievably dominant in his first and only outing of the Spring. He threw two innings, didn’t give up a baserunner, and struck out five. Those are numbers that someone would expect from Jacob DeGrom. Oswalt obviously needs more opportunities in the Spring, but those numbers normally would make him a clear favorite. However, it is his past at the MLB level. Oswalt has pitched to a career 6.19 ERA in 23 games, splitting time as a starter and reliever over the course of three seasons.

Who Gets the Spot?

I think there are really only three players that are finalists here- Jordan Yamamoto, Joey Lucchesi, and Corey Oswalt.

My personal choice would be Joey Lucchesi. I believe he has a very high upside, and having another lefty arm in the rotation can be very important for a few starts. Granted, this may only be for one or two starts at the beginning of the season, but this may actually matter more than most may think. The person that gets this spot, is also considered the top backup for when anyone else is injured.

As of right now, Lucchesi has impressed me the most. However, I think it will come down to who puts out the best final Spring Training starts.

Photo credit New York Post

Lucchesi Strong in most Recent start

Joey Lucchesi is keeping pressure on David Peterson for the fifth starters spot in the Mets rotation. After Peterson struggled in latest outing, Lucchesi pitched 3 hitless innings today.

Lucchesi has pitched 5 hitless innings, allowing just three walks, while striking out 7.

David Peterson on the other hand, has allowed three runs over 6 innings of work. In that span he has allowed 6 hits and 2 walks, with just 1 strikeout. In watching Peterson outings, I saw a ton of hard hit contact.

Lucchesi has a longer samplesize in the majors, as a solid fifth starter. Peterson had a great rookie year, but his expected ERA was at 4.33.

To me the edge is still slightly for Peterson, but he definitely needs some good starts to get his spot. Lucchesi is definitely knocking on the door and the gap isn’t big between the two of them. Interesting last couple of weeks for the fifth starter battle.

And don’t forget that Yamamoto is also looking strong, although my guess would be that he is little more unlikely to get the 5th spot.

Photo by: Mets Twitter

Wednesday’s Pitching Preview 3/17

Wednesday will feature a couple of pitchers that have yet to give up any earned runs so far this spring. The Marlins will host the Mets in this matchup and Miami will send out Sandy Alacantara for the fourth time.

Alcantara has pitch 7.2 innings and has struck out ten batters while maintaining a 1.57 WHIP. In 2020, the right-hander appeared in seven games and posted a 3.00 ERA in 42.0 innings pitched.

The Mets have a scrap going on for the fifth and final spot of the rotation. With Carlos Carrasco experiencing some elbow issues, it may be wise to have someone else ready to go at start of the season.

One of the candidates is Joey Lucchesi and the left-handed is just making his second appearances of the Spring. Also with a 0.00 ERA going into today’s contest, Lucchesi has pitched just two innings and has three strikeouts with a 0.50 WHIP.

The Mets of course acquired Lucchesi during the off-season in a three-team trade that had also sent Joe Musgrove to the San Diego Padres. Sandy Alderson and crew only had to give up MiLB catcher Endy Rodriguez to the Pirates in this deal and yes, that’s it.

Tomorrow’s game is scheduled for 1:05 P.M. EST and will unfortunately not be televised, however radio will be available on Miami’s WINZ AM.

Photo from Call to the Pen

Digging Deep: Love for Lucchesi

The Mets traded for Joey Lucchesi, giving up their number 14 prospect Endy Rodriguez to the Pirates (three team trade). The Mets added much needed depth for their rotation as Lucchesi still has two options left and is under control until 2024.

Lucchesi pitched just 5.2 innings in 2020 and was horrendous. Obviously 5.2 innings is an extremely small sample size, so it’s worth digging into his years prior.

In 2018 and 2019, Lucchesi pitched to a combined 4.14 ERA with a 1.25WHIP. Over 293.2 innings pitched, he struck out 303 batters. In 2019, he was above average in most major statcast numbers, besides Fastball velo and Spin, which on sinkers is common. So an above average arm is what we can expect.

Lucchesi’s main pitches are his sinker, cutter and change-up. However, I think the change is more seen as a curve ball, but registered by Baseball Savant as a change-up in 2019. I could be wrong but still let’s take a look at that pitch success.

The expected slash line against the Change/Curve in 2019 was .203/.268/.369, which is very good. His sinker success wasn’t as bad as well, having an expected slash line of: .303/.366/.395. Yes he allows hits on that pitch but not much power.

Lucchesi is also another arm that induces ground balls. His GB% on batted balls was 48.7% in 2019, above league average. He is another arm that will benefit from having Lindor man down short behind him. Keeping the Mets strong in the infield is now more and more important for this staff.

Overall, Lucchesi’s numbers doesn’t wow you but the cost in return, plus him having MiLB options provides flexibility. Lucchesi should battle with Matz, Peterson and others for a spot in the rotation but even without making it, he is better depth than we had in Oswalt, Lockett, Jurado etc.

Photo by: Dennis Poroy/Getty Images

Mets acquire Joey Lucchesi in three-team trade

In the same trade that’s sending Joe Musgrove to the Padres, the Padres will be sending left hander Joey Lucchesi to the Mets.

The Mets will send prospect Endy Rodriguez to the Pirates. Rodriguez was ranked the Mets 14th top prospect and spent time between catcher and the outfield.

Lucchesi is 18-20 and owns a 4.21 ERA in 299.1 career innings pitched. He’s struck out 308 batters giving him a 9.3 K/9 rate with a 1.28 WHIP.

The left hander will give the Mets some competition in the back-end of the rotation with Peterson and Matz.

Photo by Matthew Stockman/ Getty Images