Predicting the 2014 Mets Opening Day pitching staff

The Mets 2014 opening day starting rotation will be among the best in baseball; this is due to the overwhelming young talent at the top with veteran experience in the middle. There will be no players selected outside of the organization for the rotation. The bullpen will be filled with young talented arms that the Mets have been stockpiling for years. In 2014 the Mets will finally have a pitching staff that one could look forward too, not on Harvey Day.

Starting Rotation:

1: Matt Harvey

Who else? He was named the starter for the All-Star game and is already among the top five starting pitchers in the game. Harvey will continue to dominate the league and be named the opening day starter- barring any injury.

2: Jonathon Niese

Many would say that Zack Wheeler would automatically get the nod to be 1B in the rotation, but Niese is the veteran of the staff coupled with the highest salary of any pitcher on the Mets. There is no question that mid-season Wheeler could success Niese to be behind Harvey, but on opening day Niese will be the number two starter.

3: Zack Wheeler

Wheeler has already secured a spot on the Mets 2014 rotation and will be competing for the number two spot from the first day of spring training. He will most likely slide behind Harvey by the all-star break, but in order to accomplish the 2 spot he needs to effectively retire hitters on a consistent basis the rest of the 2013 season.

4: Dillon Gee

This is where much of the controversy begins about who will be favored with a spot in the rotation. With the incredible resurgence of Gee he will be chosen to stay in the rotation. While many would say that he isn’t consistent enough, he has the second most innings and second best qualifying ERA on the team behind Harvey. Since his incredible gem against the, Yankees, he has an ERA of 2.53 and has limited his homeruns. After an atrocious start to the season, his long road back from his surgery has paid off and has been the second most reliable starter on the Mets behind Harvey.

5: Jenrry Mejia

Mejia has been reborn in the eyes of Mets fans and officials.  In his first two starts and has shown that he is still very relevant, even with the emergence of Harvey and Wheeler. This choice can be somewhat controversial, but it is more likely that 27-year old Jeremy Hefner is moved to make room for the 23-year old Mejia.

Departures: Jeremy Hefner

Hefner has been a quality arm regardless of his recent struggles but the Mets probably want to go younger. He will most likely be traded to a team with a big ballpark and in need of a number three to five starter for a quality offense prospect.

Bullpen:

Closer: Bobby Parnell

There is little doubt that he will continue to be the closer for the Metropolitans next season. Some believe he is inconsistent but that is crazy because not even the great Mariano Rivera had a perfect season, and he’s the best ever.

Lefty Specialist: Josh Edgin

When he came up at the end of 2012, many people believed he was the Mets future lefty specialist and after a trip to Las Vegas, he has become just that, there is no doubt he has earned that title.

2nd Lefty Specialist: Pedro Feliciano

This can be debated, but with his recent success and return he might want to give it one last full season. The Mets front office will always have a soft spot for the longest tenured Met, so Alderson will more than likely give him a final one year contract.

Middle Relief Pitcher: Jeurys Familia

Familia was cut short due to injury of what could have been a solid season in relief. As a top prospect, he will be given another chance to prove himself as a solid middle reliever.

Long Relief Pitcher: Gonzalez Germen

Germen was a starter in the minor leagues and has shown that he is very efficient in the long-relief role. He does have a slight problem with his walk rate, but he rarely allows any hits. With his proven major league effectiveness, he will be given a spot on the Mets 2014 bullpen.

Set-up Man: LaTroy Hawkins

Hawkins may not be the answer for set-up man next season, but he is more than likely to receive a one-year contract from a team, so why not the Mets? He has been extremely reliable in the relief role this season and a veteran presence never hurts.

Wild Card last slot: ?????

This spot can be filled by anyone; a veteran, a prospect, a reliever in a trade. The Mets will look to spend money in the field, but Alderson will need to find another member for bullpen help.

Departures: Scott Atchison, Greg Burke, Carlos Torres, and David Aardsma.

These veterans will find a home somewhere else, or the Mets might use them to fill their final spot in the bullpen.

Ever since Yadier Molina’s homerun in 2006 against the Mets, they have been in somewhat of a rebuilding mode. But finally in 2014, it will be a season that will be worth watching including homegrown talent in starting pitching, and in the bullpen.

11 comments for “Predicting the 2014 Mets Opening Day pitching staff

  1. eric
    August 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Josh edgin is not a lefty specialist and should never be used in that role. He s better against righties. Frliciano will not be back as long as leathersich improves his command. And i would take torres for long reluef and germen over hawkins because of age.

  2. Hobie
    August 6, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    All of a sudden we have a number of LHRP options. Edgin is a lock barring a sacrificial lamb in a bigger trade. Pedro F is a sentimental favorite, who if he continues at his resurrected level deserves a slot. Rice (not mentioned) has done nothing wrong, and there’s Leathersich.

    As for RHRP’s both John Church (AAA) & Jeff Waters (AA) IMO will be given an opportunity in ST. And there’s Gee if by some chance either Montero or Syndergaard are deemed ready. Hawkins & Germen are on the bubble.

    Sheer guess: SP–Harvey, Neise, Wheeler, Mejia, Thor; RP–Parnell(CL), Edgin(8), Familia(7), Gee(Long), Pedro/Leather(LOOGY), Church/Waters(ROOGY), and one vet (Torres/Hawkins/Atchison)

    • August 6, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      FWIW, Leathersich is a lefty only in the sense that he throws the ball with his left hand. He actually has a very pronounced reverse platoon split.

      Last year, with St Lucie & Binghamton,
      LHB – 101 PA, .267/.370/.337, .707 OPS, 9 BB (8.9%), 30 K (29.7%)
      RHB – 205 PA, .162/.276/.237, .513 OPS, 23 BB (11.2%), 83 K (40.5%)

      This year, with Binghamton & Las Vegas,
      LHB – 77 PA, .295/.429/.393, .822 OPS, 12 BB (15.6%), 25 K (32.5%)
      RHB – 140 PA, .154/.281/.231, .511 OPS, 21 BB (15.0%), 61 K (43.6%)

  3. Name
    August 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Zack Wheeler is not anything close to a 1 or even 2 at this point in his career. Going into next year, fans should treat him as a #5.

    And we don’t need 2 lefties for the sake of having 2 lefties. You take your 7 best relief pitchers regardless of what arm they throw from. You also don’t take guys who can only get 1 out reliably as that creates unncessary strain on the other pitchers who have to pick up their slack.
    Sandy also has a history bringing in cheap bullpen arms so i expect to see 1-2 new faces in the pen next season. Barring a complete meltdown, Torres should be the heavy favorite for the long man for the pen next season.

    • Chris F
      August 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      yep.

  4. August 6, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Nice breakdown, Julian. Here are my thoughts.

    Barring a new injury to any of the 5 or a longer-than-expected recovery from offseason elbow surgery for Mejia, I think you’re right on with the 2014 Mets starting rotation. As for Hefner begin the odd man out, I wouldn’t hesitate to move him for a good player, but he’s still pretty young (turns 28 next March), has an option remaining, and will play 2014 at the league minimum. He could also be your longman in the pen if there’s no room in the rotation. So there’s no rush to deal him.

    As for the bullpen, behind Parnell, that’s wide open (as bullpens should be). Scott Rice was curiously omitted from this breakdown, but I see no reason he’s not back. He’s a league minimum guy and despite being 32 he still has his full compliment of options should he get off to a slow start. Edgin, Familia, and Germen will factor in as well, though there’s flexibility with those guys (again, because they’re cheap & have options, a pleasant recurring theme here). Unless the Mets need his 40-man roster spot, ditto for Greg Burke. An Atchison non-tender would be no big surprise, but I fully expect Carlos Torres to be retained. He’s been excellent, he’s a true swingman, and he’s under team control for the league minimum. No reason to ditch him, IMO. In fact, I’m hoping he gets a few higher leverage opportunies now that he’s back in the pen full time. I’d probably opt to move on from Aardsma, Feliciano, and Hawkins, but I’d also want to bring another low-cost, grizzled veteran type reliever (preferably with closer’s experience like Hawkins) for next year. There are always a handful of guy like that available for $1M or so. And it’s always a good idea to stash an Aardsma or Feliciano or two in AAA on a minor league deal like the Mets did this year.

    If I had to make my 7-man pen today, I’d probably go with Parnell, Torres, Edgin, Rice, Hefner, Familia, and a Hawkins-esque veteran FA to round it out. Of that septet, all but Torres & the Unnamed Veteran have options remaining, so there should be enough flexibility to allow guys like Germen, Jacob deGrom, Jack Leathersich, Jeff Walters, Cory Mazzoni, Chase Huchingson, Adam Kolarek, and whatever minor league free agents the Mets sign to be ready and able to take a turn if someone struggles.

    • Metsense
      August 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      Chris, I couldn’t say it better, especially your take on the bullpen. It is hard to choose a 2014 rotation because in order to get an impact corner OF in trade they will need to move a pitcher. The quality of the pitcher will influence the quality of the OF. Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard should be kept so the quality of the trade OF will be diminished accordingly. What pitcher the Mets trade will allow consideration of Heffner, Montero or deGrom.
      Name points out that Wheeler should be thought of as a back end starter and if the Met fans were smart they would heed his advice. These are young players that need to learn, like anyone in a new job. Wheeler will probably get there but let’s be patient in our expectations.

  5. Hobie
    August 6, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Noted. I’m fine with Edgin as the 8th inning guy and if there is a LOOGY need, Rice or Pedro. If Leather beats another as a MR, I’m fine with that too.

  6. Joe Vasile
    August 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    I’d bet money Feliciano and Hawkins are not back next year (unless they come back on minor league deals).

  7. August 6, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    No need to have 2 left handed loogy for 2014. Agree with Chris and his observations. Signing 1 free agent for the outfielder (the Mets have the salary space) should improve the defense and will cut down on the amount of batters and pitches the starters will make. Thus allowing them to go further into games.

  8. TexasGusCC
    August 8, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Aardsma has done well, aside from his meltdowns this week. Also, deGrom will be knocking on the door. No thank you to Hawkins, the league is hitting .300 against him. Don’t know how he does it. Feliciano is risky, but not adverse to it.

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