It’s no secret that the New York Mets need the help of a starting pitcher. With injuries to Jacob of Grom, Max Scherzerand Tylor Megill the depth of the Mets starting pitcher is tested. Right now, it looks like New York will have to rely on Trevor Williams and David Peterson in the foreseeable future. With Scherzer and deGrom likely out during the All Star break, a move for a starting pitcher may be wise.
Well, according to Jon Heyman, the Mets have scouted two of the best starting pitchers that should be on the market. These are the right-handers of Oakland Athletics Frankie Montas and the Cincinnati Reds right-hander Tyler Mahle.
Montas is sure to be one of the most coveted pitchers out there this season. The 29-year-old is also under the squad’s control for next year which is hugely appealing. He also boasts a strong career ERA of 3.84 and FIP of 3.75.
So far this season, Montas has thrown 49 innings while striking out 53 and allowing just 37 hits. He has an ERA of 3.55, which can be a bit misleading as his xERA of 2.92 and FIP of 3.38 paint a picture of bad luck. Overall, he did a great job limiting walks (6.7% walk rate) and tricking opposing hitters into chasing his pitches (93rd percentile chase rate), resulting in outs at bat. It all culminated in another great start to the season.
Montas has posted an xERA below 4.00 in three of the past four seasons. He is a batting pitcher who has an extra year of control and is still in his twenties. As mentioned above, it will definitely be a hot commodity and its price will reflect that.
Still, bringing him in would not only help the Mets survive the injuries they’re dealing with, but arguably give New York the best rotation in baseball when healthy. He would slot in as the number four starter with New York at full strength. That would be extraordinary considering he’s an ace, or at worst, a number two starter on most other teams.
Mahle is an interesting case. Many can automatically write it off just by glancing at its numbers. However, a deeper dive into the 27-year-old’s season shows a pitcher who fell victim to terrible luck and a bad team behind him.
Mahle has a 5.23 ERA in nine starts this season. This figure would be the highest of his career. However, when examining its FIP and xERA, each of the numbers is much lower. His FIP of 3.35 and xERA of 3.61 are each nearly two whole points lower than his actual ERA. The main reasons for this? Just bad luck and bad alignment behind him.
In his previous five seasons in MLB, Mahle posted an ERA above 4.50 only twice. He’s always pitched with numbers that reflect a very strong number four caliber starting pitcher. His “rough start” to the season shouldn’t deter the Mets from making a move for him. Interestingly enough, this perhaps presents an opportunity for a team, like New York, to “buy low” on the right-hander.
Mahle is only 27 and has another year in team control. Couple these aspects with the fact that he has always been a reliable arm, he should be in short supply. As an analytical paint, Mahle wasn’t as bad as his 5.23 ERA. He’s certainly not on Montas’ level, but would help the Mets instrumentally. It would most likely come at a much lower price than some of the other starters on the market.
What could the Mets rotation look like?
Bringing in Montas or Mahle would give New York an instant boost. This would not only help the team in the short term given New York’s injury problems. But also give the Mets an arm this season. This is significant given that many of New York’s starting pitchers are expected to be free agents at the end of the year.
A rotation of Chris Bassit, Carlos CarrascoMontas/Mahle, Megill (in good health) and Taijuan walker with Peterson and Williams serving as depth, until deGrom and Scherzer return, would be more than helpful. Plus, can you imagine a healthy Mets rotation with the addition of Montas or Mahle?
- Jacob of Grom
- Max Scherzer
- Chris Bassit
- Frankie Montas/Tyler Mahle
- Carlos Carrasco
- Taijuan Walker, Tylor Megill, David Peterson, Trevor Williams
Of course, talking about hypothetical operations is much easier than actually dealing with them. Every exchange has a price. Are General Manager Billy Eppler and the Mets willing to pay that price? Is the team comfortable with what they have until the team is healthy? We will see.