With just one day to go until the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball season, there is plenty of excitement surrounding both New York teams. When it comes to the New York Mets, their success this year will hinge on the longevity of the starting rotation.
For the Mets to make the playoffs this season, they are going to need their rotation to step up and be the strongest part of the team. We have been hearing about this “super rotation” for over five years now. It is about time that we see all of these starters healthy at one time and reaching their full potential.
As we get ready to begin the 2018 season, it is worth pointing out that Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler have still yet to take a rotation turn together. This is mainly due to injuries.
Harvey had Tommy John surgery in 2013. DeGrom was called up in May of 2014 and joined Wheeler in the rotation. Right as Harvey was getting ready to return, Wheeler suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and had to have Tommy John surgery. After missing two seasons, Wheeler finally made his return to the Mets last year. In the time that he was out, Syndergaard and Matz both made their MLB debuts. The closest that the Mets have come to a full healthy starting rotation with all five of these guys was in 2015. Wheeler was the only guy injured then. As we know, the Mets reached the World Series that season.
The Mets have been hit hard with injuries over the last couple of seasons. The starting rotation is the area of the team that has suffered the most. Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz and Wheeler have all spent time on the disabled list over the past two seasons. Out of the five of them, deGrom was the only one who managed to make it through the 2017 season without suffering an injury. He missed the last month of the 2016 season after undergoing surgery on his ulnar nerve. Syndergaard missed almost all of last year because of a torn lat muscle in his right arm. This injury to their ace particularly hurt the Mets.
Even though all five starters are currently healthy, only four of them will be in the Mets starting rotation come Opening Day. On Saturday, the team announced that Wheeler will begin the season in Triple-A. He did not perform well enough in spring training to earn a spot in the rotation. Instead, Seth Lugo will be the fifth starter.
One has to wonder if we will ever see Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey, Matz and Wheeler make a turn through the rotation together. While it’s still possible that this happens at some point this year, it is not necessarily crucial to the Mets success. The most important thing is that the pitchers who are currently in the rotation stay healthy for the entire season. If this happens, the Mets will almost certainly be a playoff team.
While the Mets do have a good lineup, a lot of their main hitters are very reliant on the home run ball. Guys like Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes are going to hit plenty of home runs if they stay healthy. However, they are also probably going to strikeout a lot. There will be games this season where the Mets score eleven runs, and then there are going to be games where they score just one run. This is why it is so vital that the guys in the starting rotation stay healthy and perform well. The Mets need the rotation to be the dominating force that it has the potential to be. If this happens, they have the chance to overtake the Washington Nationals in the NL East this season.
If all goes well, 2018 could be a memorable year for the Mets. This team will go as far as their starting rotation takes them this season.