By Matt Mancuso
Now to the casual baseball fan, my title could be easily taken with a grain of salt, especially considering I am a very biased Mets fan. MLB.com and Bleacher Report both disagreed with my opinion, ranking the Mets’ staff as ninth and tenth in the majors, respectively. The rotation’s struggles and inconsistency over the past few years have ruined the lust of the once all-time great rotation.
But my eyes see a group of healthy aces, all waiting to be unleashed on the National League. They have two studs anchoring the rotation and a cluster of talented pitchers that could challenge any other staff. If luck is finally on their side, the Mets could end the 2018 season with baseball’s most powerful rotation.
Now what if I told you five years ago that Matt Harvey would be one of the worst pitchers in the Mets rotation in 2018? You wouldn’t believe me for obvious reasons, but five years later, several pitchers remain ahead of The Dark Knight on the depth chart. This isn’t a knock on Harvey’s pitching, but rather a testament to the amount of promise that the Mets’ arms have.
If pitching is the name of the game, the Mets are guaranteed to win a World Series in the near future. Even past their starting five, three more MLB-caliber starters wait in the wings, biding their time for an open rotation spot.
Their starting rotation is made of an embarrassment of riches, with manager Mickey Callaway being able to throw flamethrowers out night after night. Everyone knows what Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom bring to the table everyday, but the other members of rotation are full of potential as well. Injuries have always held back southpaw Steven Matz, but if his curveball is snapping well and his command is decent, the trio of Thor, deGrom and Matz could arguably be the best in the majors.
Matt Harvey has seemingly solidified the fourth spot with a successful spring. Multiple arm procedures make it unlikely for Harvey’s velocity to return, but he’ll look to recreate himself as a contact pitcher. That approach has worked for certain players in recent years, just ask fan-favorite Bartolo Colon. Finally, the combination of consistent veteran Jason Vargas, Statcast darling Seth Lugo, former top prospect Zach Wheeler and sinkerballer Robert Gsellman should adequately fill the fifth rotation spot, providing productive innings throughout the season. Lugo will get the first opportunity in this this spot, as he was recently named the fifth starter in the Mets rotation.
If you care to, try to convince me that the Indians, Nationals or Cubs rotations are all better. I beg to disagree: The Mets have something that many other teams lack, major-league depth, and they’ll use that advantage in their march to another postseason berth.