Predicting the Mets’ 2014 starting rotation

Outside of phenom Matt Harvey, starting pitching has not been the New York Mets’ strong suit in 2013. From Aaron Laffey to Shaun Marcum, nobody has been anywhere near as consistently reliable as Harvey has. This poses a lot of questions as to who will start Opening Day next year, or in the games following for that matter. Here’s my prediction for just that.

1. Matt Harvey – I don’t think this one comes as much of a surprise here. The 2013 National League All Star Game starting pitcher doesn’t look like he has much competition for the nod on game number one. Harvey’s 7-2 record is only being held back by a lack of run support and his 2.35 ERA is good for fourth in all of baseball, ahead of veterans like Adam Wainwright and Felix Hernandez. His 1.9 walks per nine innings pitched is phenomenal, which leads to a WHIP of 0.92, second best in the bigs.

2. Zack Wheeler – Though he has proven to be shaky at times, Zack Wheeler is still Zack Wheeler, the top pitching prospect in baseball. The Mets didn’t keep Wheeler in the system because he was a potential number four starter. They kept him because he’s an ace or at least has the potential to be. Wheeler has shown he can be overly dominant at times, such as his Major League debut, in which he allowed four hits and recorded seven strikeouts in six innings of work in Atlanta. Or his last outing before the break against the Giants where he gave up only three hits in seven innings.

3. Free Agent – Jeff Wilpon recently announced that the Mets would in fact spend money during the upcoming offseason, and with over $42,000,000 to spend, that seems entirely possible. Most have suggested that money be spent on a big name outfielder such as Carlos Gonzalez, Jacoby Elisbury, or Shin-Soo Choo. But if the three of them decide they don’t want to take their talents to Queens due to team’s talent, it would make sense to spend that money (or a part of it) on starting pitching. Since the Mets rank near the bottom in the majority of categories related to pitching stats, someone like a Jason Marquis, a Roy Oswalt, or a Paul Maholm could absolutely help that.

4. Jonathon Niese – According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, a scout said that due to all the Mets young pitching, Niese could be the number four starter not too far in the future. With that being said, let’s go ahead and say that Niese will start the fourth game of the season next year. And there’s good reason behind that. Niese’s 3-6 record and his 4.32 ERA isn’t exactly what Terry Collins, or the entire Mets fan base, envisioned out of their Opening Day starter in 2013. Along with that, Niese has been sidelined with a partially torn rotator cuff since June 20.

5. Jeremy Hefner – Unlike most Major League teams these days, the Mets fifth starter next year should not be in question. Jeremy Hefner has been outstanding as of late as he could provide some much needed depth at the back end of the rotation in 2014. Hefner has completely turned it around as of late, having not been tagged with a loss since June 11. Another key stat is that Hefner has not given up three runs or more since May. That June 11 game was also the last time Hefner had two strikeouts or less. Hefner should definitely be the front runner for the number 5 slot in the 2014 New York Mets rotation. Though his recent success shows hope, Hefner seems like a better option than Dillon Gee. This is due to to Gee’s history of inconsistency and history of being injury prone. Look for Gee to be the first starter called from Triple A if such a pitcher is needed.

In conclusion, this rotation looks solid. If Matt Harvey pitches like Matt Harvey in 2014, there’s no question he can solidify his position as one of the top pitchers in baseball. Zack Wheeler hasn’t reached his full potential yet so having a veteran backing him up is what a young team like this needs. Niese and Hefner can provide a strong back end of the staff and help win games that teams wouldn’t expect to win with their number four or five guy taking the hill. Do I think this rotation is going to win a World Series. No. But just wait until the 2015 rotation…

26 comments for “Predicting the Mets’ 2014 starting rotation

  1. July 19, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Hey, so I don’t argue with your logic but I imagine that Gee is getting traded in this version of reality.

    There is a shot that deGrom or Montero could break camp with the Mets (deGrom could be up with another injury) so whomever the Mets sign as a free agent starter they will be looking for a bargain or someone who can transition to the bullpen once Montero/deGrom/Syndergaard are ready.

    • July 19, 2013 at 9:31 am

      What team would take Gee? I don’t he’s a key piece in a deal, so is he just a throw In?

      Saying deGrom will break camp might be a stretch. He went from A to AAA in a matter of months because Mazzoni was injured and Montero was promoted, then Wheeler was promoted and McHugh was traded so there was a lack of SP at those levels. He might be able to be up by June or July but we’ll see.

      • July 19, 2013 at 9:44 am

        Gee could be traded in the next few weeks, but I’m betting the Mets trade Hefner who is the higher value.

        I read somewhere that Montero will not be up in 2013 but that the Mets would consider moving deGrom to the majors. He’s pitching well in AAA (Vegas was made for sinker ballers) and for whatever reason the Mets see him as the most polished option in AAA.

        Not saying Montero or deGrom should be favorites to break 2014 camp but the possibility would be there where it wasn’t in 2013 with Zack Wheeler.

        • July 19, 2013 at 9:50 am

          How interesting would that be huh? Move deGrom from A to the big leagues in one year. Not ruling it out though.

          I don’t think they’re going to move Hefner, basically because he’s young and the Mets might want to hang on for a bit longer

          • July 19, 2013 at 10:14 am

            The Mets can hope that the Hefner 2013 is for real but I would love to hear what they get offered for him.

  2. Name
    July 19, 2013 at 9:55 am

    “starting pitching has not been the New York Mets’ strong suit in 2013″
    -5th in ERA in July
    -3rd in ERA in June

    “nobody has been anywhere near as consistently reliable as Harvey has”
    -Hefner: 3.33 ERA overall(19th overall in league), 1.76 ERA since June
    -Gee: 2.67 ERA since May 30th

    “This poses a lot of questions as to who will start Opening Day next year”
    -Matt Harvey

    • July 19, 2013 at 10:47 am

      2013 refers to April, May, June, and July. Don’t get me wrong, Hefner has been fantastic as of late and so has Gee, but Hefner also did not get a win until his eleventh game of the season and the Mets lost 12 of his first 13 games pitched. Dillon Gee has also given up five runs or more in two of his last four starts so he’s tailed of a bit but he’s still strong. Gee also had a 5.20 ERA thru 12 games as he was not anywhere near as sharp in the two months of the season. What about the Mets ERA in April or May? That’s 2013 as well, right?

      • Name
        July 19, 2013 at 11:20 am

        I agree that you can’t just throw out April and May, but i think we have to account for the fact that they had the worst schedule in the the early part of the season because they played in some of the worst weather conditions possible which led to numerous cancelations/delays. I don’t think it’s conincidence that the pitching staff starting putting it together when they weren’t playing in 30 degree temps with snow falling.

        Everyone already knows that you can’t measure a player by the number of wins he has, or even by the team’s record in a game a pitcher starts. Clayton Kershaw-the best pitcher in baseball this year- has 6! losses and his team is only 11-9 in the games he has started.

        And just wondering… are you the kidcaster Jacob Resnick? Awfully impressive if this was written by a 13-year old.

        • July 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

          Your right. Wins are not the definite measure of a pitcher’s success. Such was displayed in 2011 when the 13-12 Felix Hernandez brought home the AL Cy Young. And yeah I’m the kidcaster. Thanks for the kind words.

  3. Diane Forden
    July 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Great article, Jacob. It’s obvious you’ve really studied these players and make very convincing arguments. Keep up the good work!

  4. Barry Rosenbloom
    July 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Good article. How about Matt Garza, whether or not he gets dealt in the next couple of weeks? I think he’s a free agent for next year, and whoever ends up with him this year (looks like Texas so far) may not re-sign him for 2014.

    • July 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks for reading Barry. It is unlikely Garza will come to NYC after this season. I don’t think money is the problem, because the Mets can drop salaries from Santana and Bay.

  5. blastingzone
    July 19, 2013 at 11:09 am

    In 2014 Montero will have a very good shot to make there starting rotation but knowing the mets like I due they will wait until mid june just like they did with Wheeler to bring up Montero? Why can’t Syndergaard also make the rotation in mid june next year? He’s in AA but
    should see a promotion to AAA in sept or should at least start 2014 in AAA and if he pitches well who knows? Harvey, Wheeler, Montero, Syndergaard, and Niese, Hefner, or Gee but being Niese is the only Left handed starting pitcher on our roster and is signed for a few more years I think he would have the advantage and they would keep Gee and Hefner till Montero and Syndergaard are ready in mid june and then trade one of them while using the other out of the bull pen! This is all based on Montero and Syndergaard pitching well and being ready, if not then Syndergaard in 2015!!

  6. July 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I can’t see why we want these guys when we already have”VETERAN” pitchers of our own. Do the names Marcum and Young say anything to you. Niese and Gee are more than able to help than these overhyped pitchers. A rotation of Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, Gee/Hefner and a rookie would not be bad.

  7. July 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I don’t see the Mets spending money on a FA pitcher this offseason.

    • July 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      ^What he said.
      The starting pitching has been pretty good this year and the offense has been pretty bad this year. If you’re looking at triage, patch up the scoring with a big bat and hold off on spending for a new pitcher. Even if there is a need in 2013, there’s so much raw talent coming up just beyond that we’re already having problems finding five spaces in the rotation.

      • Name
        July 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm

        The offense and pitching have been Jekyll and Hyde this year.

        Offense started off roaring (top 3 in April-thank you Buck), then was ice cold in May and early June(bottom 2-thank you Ike), and we now have the most runs scored over the past month.
        SP was average to start the season, terrible in May(thank you weather), and has been a top 3 rotation over the past 1.5 months.
        The bullpen had been horrendous over the first 2.5 months, but over the last month they are in the top half in the league with a sub-3 ERA.

        Overall, the Met SP are 8th in ERA, RP are 13th, and contrary to popular belief the offense has been above average and rank 6th in runs scored and are almost knocking on the door for spot #5.

    • July 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      Okay but look at history. Sandy Alderson signed Shaun Marcum this year, a few cheaper pitchers last year and Chris Capuano in 2011. The Mets may not want to spend money on pitching, but looking at what Alderson has done in the past, there’s no telling they won’t.

      • Chris F
        July 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm

        Except that the arrival of the minor leaguers is here, which is new to the “Met-rics”.

    • Chris F
      July 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Exactly. I would be shocked and disappointed if we laid out $ for starting pitching given the desperate needs at many positions, including:

      1B, SS, LF, CF, RF, possibly 2B.

      Anyways, enjoyed your article Jacob! Thought provoking as virtually all the stories on Mets360 are!

      • NormE
        July 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm

        Jacob,
        Good work! I believe, given Alderson’s history, that the Mets will look on Hefner as being too valuable to trade. His value is based partly on performance, age and very low salary. The latter makes him too much of a valued property. If all are healthy I see nothing terribly wrong with Harvey, Wheeler, Gee, Niese and Hefner as the projected starting five in ’14. The young arms in the minors offer decent insurance.
        The major problem is upgrading 1B, 2B, SS and the outfield.

  8. 3doza33
    July 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Our pitching staff next year should look more like this: Harvey, Niese, Hefner, Wheeler, Montero/ Gee. With Syndergaad coming in after super two cutoff. Plus we have seemed to fix the bullpen and have plenty of kids coming up next year to help. Spending money on a starter would be crazy with all the holes we need to fill on the field. I personally think Flores has plenty of bat for 1st base. We have d’Arnoud coming with plenty of backup catchers ready to help fill in. Our main focus needs to be outfield and shortstop! A solid shortstop and one or two outfielders and we have a team that’s young, talented and ready to win again! It’s so close I can taste it!! Let’s go Mets!!

  9. July 20, 2013 at 12:24 am

    Roy Oswalt? Jason Marquis? Are you kidding? Oswalt will be approaching 37 and has been injury prone and ineffective since 2008. Marquis pitches in a pitcher friendly ball park and has already yielded 18 home runs with an ERA of almost 4 so far this season. By the way that averages to one home run per start, How much are you going to pay these lost causes for their ineffective services? Maybe 4 million like Marcum? Might as well bring back Santana! Hire a respected manager who holds the players accountable who can bring out the best in his players. Finally take your best 7 relievers in the bullpen regardless of which side they throw from and forget about match-ups as the only guide to follow.

    • NormE
      July 20, 2013 at 8:43 am

      I especially like your last two sentences, peter.

  10. Francis Redis
    August 1, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, Gee, Mejia & Syndergaard. Add Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury. Dump Ike. Satin or Murphy at 1st. And (drum roll please)…. sign Robinson Cano!

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