Pitching and hitting has been a recurring problem for the New York Mets, and the ballclub has been scrambling to step up their roster as they now sit 6 games below .500, but there have been some notable improvements over the past week.
Pitching has been a top priority for the team and things seem to be coming around, at least for the starting rotation. Zack Wheeler did an excellent job holding the line against the Diamondbacks. In his latest start, Wheeler gave up 6 hits and 2 earned runs with the third run being unearned due to an error that was charged to Wilmer Flores.
Rafael Montero also had an excellent outing in the first game of the Mets and Diamondbacks’ doubleheader, where he surrendered only one home run in contrast to his first two starts. Since then, his ERA dropped from 6.97 to 4.96.
Daisuke Matsuzaka – a reliever – started in the second game of the Mets and Diamondbacks’ doubleheader and impressed many by giving up just three hits and two earned runs over 6 innings.
While it may be likely that the rotation is through messing around, it’s too bad that the bats haven’t cooperated.
Although pitching has improved greatly in the rotation, the Mets’ bats couldn’t drive in the runs as they left 31 runners on base in their series against the Diamondbacks. No doubt the Mets have solid hitters on the card, but aside from David Wright, Daniel Murphy, and Juan Lagares, most of the other bats are hitting below .250, leading to an underwhelming offense.
The Mets’ prospects
To stop the bleeding, the prospects, Flores, Montero, and Jacob deGrom were called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to help bolster the offense and defense. Other prospects such as right-handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard and right fielder Cesar Puello are expected to arrive in Queens this year, however, with Syndergaard put on the DL and Puello’s break-out season in 2013 tainted due to PED use, they may arrive much later than expected.
Meanwhile, Vic Black also was called up from Triple-A as the 26th man for Sunday’s doubleheader, but now it looks like he’ll be in Queens full-time since Jose Valverde was released after he blew yet another game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, so we’ll get to see how Black performs in Citi Field.
For now, let’s take a look Flores, Montero, and deGrom.
Wilmer Flores, while not known for his fielding, is expected to bring more fire-power to the starting lineup due to his great numbers in Triple-A. Yes, he had no idea how the infield fly rule worked, but in Triple-A he had 86 RBIs and hit .321 in 424 at-bats last season.
Whether Flores’ offense will also transfer to the majors has yet to be seen as he is currently batting .231 since he arrived, but with Ruben Tejada slipping, this could be his break. If Flores can make the adjustment, he can be the top dog at short and provide a much-needed bat on the card.
When Jenrry Mejia proved ineffective in the rotation, the Mets considered trying Mejia out as a closer. This led to Rafael Montero to receive the call, however, his first two starts caused some to doubt whether he could make it in the majors.
Thankfully, Montero showed his true colors when he picked himself back up by giving only a single home run and striking out 10 players through 6 innings. This outing shows that Montero has tons of potential as a starting pitcher, and his addition, along with deGrom, could stack the starting rotation.
Jacob deGrom was brought up along with Montero to fill in for Dillon Gee who was put on the DL. In Triple-A this year, deGrom threw 29 strikeouts, gave 11 earned runs, and 39 hits to accumulate a 2.58 ERA in 7 games started. Since deGrom came to the big leagues, he has had 3 quality starts and currently boasts an ERA of 1.83. While it may be too early to tell if deGrom will remain consistent, Terry Collins may have to consider keeping deGrom in the rotation when Gee returns because of his fantastic performances.