Zack WheelerIt has been a hot topic as of late. Who is going to start for the New York Mets on opening day?

Three names have been thrown around: Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon and Zack Wheeler. Niese, who has started opening day for the Mets in the past, hasn’t gotten off to a great start. He still has yet to throw in a spring training game as a shoulder injury has kept him sidelined.

Colon was brought in to fill in for Matt Harvey and bring in a veteran presence to the pitching staff. What better way for this veteran to lead than to go out there on opening day and prove him doubters wrong, again.

Then there is the curious case of Zack Wheeler. Wheeler, who looked good in his last spring training outing, has said that he wants to take the ball on opening day.

All three are very good options, but which one should Terry Collins hand the ball to?

Well there is a big if behind my answer. If all three are healthy, then that guy should be Jon Niese. Not only has Niese been around longer, but he also has experience opening the season for the Mets. Colon is still getting adjusted to a new team and pressure shouldn’t be added on him to be “the guy” on opening day. Wheeler is also still young and developing, so slotting him behind both of the guys above can only help his growth. For those of you that think it should be Wheeler, remember that Matt Harvey did not start opening day last year. That responsibility was given to my pick, Jon Niese.

Now it seems that Niese and Colon are going to be the final two battling for the spot, as Wheeler still is working on finding his big league game.  Either one is a quality option for the Mets to go with when the open up against the Nationals on March 31st.

But as always, injuries need to be taken into consideration. Niese’s shoulder/tricep injury is something to keep in mind as he continues to work toward being ready for the season, as should Colon’s calf injury that has kept him out of action at points during the spring.

Opening day is in 26 days. This allows for 26 more days of articles like this being written, and no answer to the question being posed. If health prevails, then Jon Niese should be on the rubber come March 31st. But, as always with the Mets, that’s a big if.

9 comments on “Who is right for Opening Day?

  • Sean Flattery

    I’ll be there, and I would like to see a Strasburg/Wheeler matchup..but I think it will be Niese barring no setbacks.

  • pete

    I think you need to put Niese being around longer in context. You meant as a Met of course. Colon as a veteran could open for the Mets and I can accept that. Coming from the American League with so many teams having exceptional hitting DH’s and line-ups, the NL should be easier for Colon.

  • Name

    The guy who pitches first has the opportunity to get the most starts over the course of the season. Since we’re so concerned with innings limits, i’d have him go 4th for this reason. Neither Colon or Niese has pitched more than 190 innings in the last few seasons, and since Colon isn’t a spring chicken anymore while Niese should be entering his prime at 27, i’d give the spot to Niese based on innings consideration. Heck, based on this analysis Gee should get consideration for the spot.

    • Name

      I mean to say Wheeler should go 4th for that reason.

    • Sean Flattery

      Also, and this is micro-managing, but it would be good to have a Niese pitch against the Reds the next series. Niese is the best starter at holding runners, and they’ll be starting Hamilton at leadoff who might steal 100 bases this year. Plus, Votto and Bruce being left-handed.

      • Name

        Niese actually doesn’t have good career stats against the Reds, small sample size though.

        I was looking at the schedule and potential roster manipulation, and i noticed that if the #2 starter would be willing to pitch on 3 days rest first time thru the rotation, then the Mets would not need a 5th starter until April 12th, and then skip then again until the 22nd. Could they be optioned down on the 12th in this case and then brought back up on 22nd? seems like it would fall in the 10 day rule, but it’s right on the cusp so i’m not sure if that is 9 or 10 days.

        If this were the case, I actually might prefer the Mets go Colon-Niese or maybe even Niese-Gee if Niese’s injury slows him down in Spring Training as i don’t think Colon can perform on 3 days rest this early in the season. Whoever is pitching on 3 days rest would preferably get a quick hook in their first outing, likely just 5 innings or 80 pitches.
        This would also allow the Mets to limit the 5th starter’s innings in April, which is perfect for a certain 5th starter candidate!

        • Patrick Albanesius

          While this sounds good, the likelihood of Collins or Alderson allowing a pitcher to go on short rest so early is probably not good. Let’s say Niese does go 5 innings Opening Day, then pitches on 3 days rest and somehow hurts his shoulder. The backlash alone would probably give them enough reason to bypass this. Creative thinking though!

          • Name

            Yea i don’t think it will happen. Another creative option is to have Torres be a starter for the first 2 turns in the rotation (#5 would pitch on the 6th and 12th), and then you wouldn’t need a starter until the 22nd, which is where you insert Mejia.
            However, i’m not quite sure if this can be implemented this late in the game, as Mejia is already starting to build up arm strength, and it would probably be counter intuitive to shut him down now, unless he suffers an injury. Also, i don’t think the Mets are treating Torres as a starter this spring, which is a shame in my opinion as it reduces the Mets options.

  • pete

    I’m sure the weather will help as well. Have a rain out here and there and you’re all set.

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