Which Mets pitcher will have the best return from injury?

Harvey, Matz, deGromAs we approach spring training the Mets have had very little offseason action to cover.   Most of the work accomplished this winter by Sandy Alderson was keeping his own players by resigning Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker accepting the qualifying offer and exercising Jay Bruce’s option.  The remaining work to be done this offseason should involve the team signing a couple more relievers and trying to unload an extra outfielder.  The main question marks that should remain involve the healthy return of the four starting pitchers returning from injury.

Jacob deGrom is coming back from surgery to remove an irritated nerve in his pitching arm.  This condition affected him towards the end of last season affecting the velocity of his pitches and the outcome of his starts.  Eventually it led to the team shutting him down for the season.  If he comes back healthy from surgery to alleviate this problem, he should be a force to reckon with in the new season.  deGrom has been a dominant starter with good strikeout numbers and low ERA while healthy.  His healthy return would be a shot in the arm for the Mets rotation.

Matt Harvey is returning for thoracic outlet surgery that involved the removal of a rib.  He much like deGrom has been a dominant starter while healthy throughout his career.  This surgery has been a bit of mixed bag with the results of pitchers the year after this procedure.  If he can return to form and regain his ability to avoid hard contact and finish batters off it would also be huge for the team.

Steven Matz was eventually shut down last season with a bone spur in his left elbow.  He tried to pitch through the injury with mixed results before being shut down as well.  Bone spur removal is not a historically difficult procedure to recover from.  This is good news for the Mets although with his history of injuries Matz is far from a sure thing.

Zach Wheeler is the wild card of the bunch.  He is trying to come back from Tommy John surgery after missing the last two full seasons.  The Mets are likely hoping to slot him in as the fifth starter, but a pitcher in his position is anything but a sure bet.  The odds of him being able to go every fifth day for an entire season are probably not great, but there is a chance the team could utilize him out of the bullpen and see what they can get.  In either case, he will most likely be kept on a strict pitch count, which will keep him out of the running for team ace.

I believe the strongest candidate to emerge from these four to be the be the number 1A to Noah Syndergaard’s 1 is Jacob deGrom.  With a proven track record and the mental toughness to dominate, I believe he will have the biggest season of the four starters returning from injury.

6 comments for “Which Mets pitcher will have the best return from injury?

  1. Jerry k
    January 31, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Here’s the better question, how many starts from Noah,Harvey,deGrom and Matz? Will it be closer to 110 or 80?

  2. MattyMets
    January 31, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Anyone else concerned that Matz was shut down for shoulder discomfort but they fixed his elbow?

    • January 31, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      No.

      We knew he had bone chips in elbow and that the plan was to take care of in the offseason. As for the shoulder, they can do more with exercise to strengthen the shoulder than they can do to strengthen the elbow.

  3. Eraff
    January 31, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    I always think of this as a Starting Pitcher-centric team, with the idea that they need any three to provide a combined 540-600 innings to assure success.

    When I look back at last year, the Pitching Health/performance is Baffling…the top 3 guys had 522 Innings combined, and 190 of that are now gone. I don’t remember Verrett making 12 starts–along with Montero and Ynoa, that’s 18 really bad days!!! Lugo’s whip was superior to Gsellmans…. but the 1.6 fewer strikeouts per 9 and the 7 bombs versus 1 translated to “Gsellman looked way better”.

    It was a True Rabbit Hole… but I cling to the idea that they need 3 starters to Pitch major innings and arrive healthy to the playoffs— That’s what has to happen for this team…right?

    It was a strange season!

    • February 1, 2017 at 8:08 am

      The 18 really bad days likely aren’t going to be avoided. The Nationals won 95 games last year but also had three guys who combined for 18 starts with an ERA over 5. The key to their season was the health of their starters and position players, as spelled out in an earlier article. The Nats got 123 starts from their top four starters. Aside from those 18 bad days and their main five guys, they only had two other starts.

      What saved the Mets last year is that Matz + Lugo + Gsellman combined for 37 starts with a 2.85 ERA. That trio outperformed Max Scherzer.

      In 2015, the top six starters (in terms of starts made) for the Mets made 150 starts. Hopefully the 2017 Mets can approach that total. If you tell me that Noah, JDG, Harvey, Matz, Gsellman and Wheeler combine for 140 starts, I’ll feel pretty good about the season.

  4. Eraff
    February 1, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Interesting stuff! The Nats Top 5 Made 142 Starts…The Mets 126. The Nats top 3 starters gave them 615 Innings, the Mets Top 3 came in at 522

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