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
- Jacob DeGrom
- Marcus Stroman
- Carlos Carrasco (INJURED)
- Taijuan Walker
- 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 are players that I believe have earned the right to be in this spot, not just any starting pitcher eligible.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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