The starting pitching is starting to come around for the Mets after a rocky stretch, but we’re going to look at the offense provided by the staff, as the Mets are getting more than the usual punch from the nine spot in the batting order this year. Three of the Mets starting staff are having pretty good years at the plate, (for pitchers), and one is doing ok. This prowess with the bat by the pitchers has helped the team rack up a couple of wins. And now there is a chance, perhaps small, that the staff could be fortified by another good-hitting pitcher.
Zack Wheeler has 19 PA so far, and his slash line is .263/.263/.474. He’s got a double, a homer and 3 RBI. Jacob deGrom has 16 PA, and he sports a .250/.250/.500 line with a homer and a double. He has recorded two RBI. Noah Syndergaard in 20 PA has assembled a .176/.263/.529 slash line with two homers and two RBI.
Several points should be noted. These guys are providing more power than you would expect from the bottom of the order, although it’s a small sample, those SLG figures do stand out. The group is not just slapping a few singles through the infield, they are driving the ball with authority on occasion.
This hitting has accounted for a lot of the credit in at least two games so far in this young season. On April 23, against the Phils, starter Wheeler smashed a two run double to put the Mets ahead, and he later added a homer as the Mets cruised to a victory. On May 2, Syndergaard pitched a complete game shutout against the Reds at Citi Field, with the only run of the game being produced by Syndergaards’ blast over the fence. So in two games so far this season, the Met starting pitcher has provided the game-winning hit.
Steven Matz has turned in a .167/.167/.167 line in 13 PA, fairly normal production for a pitcher. He does have a sacrifice. Fifth starter Jason Vargas is hitless so far this season in 10 PA, he has helped himself by making two sacrifice bunts.
So, for the Mets, at least, the nine spot in the batting order is not the black hole that it is for some NL teams. Obviously the starters arms are far more important than their hitting, but it is useful when the pitchers contribute at the bat.
There was an interesting article on the CBS Sports website over the weekend where it was noted that the struggling Giants might be willing to part with their longtime ace pitcher, Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner will be a free agent after the season, and the Giants are likely to be in rebuilding mode. The article noted several teams as possible landing spots for Bumgarner should he be moved, the Mets among them.
Vargas has been pitching better than expected this year, but wouldn’t it be great to have the 29 year old Bumgarner in the rotation instead? His production had fallen off a bit the past two years partially due to injuries, although he had been very durable up to that point. This year he has a 2-4 record with a bad team, his ERA is 3.88 and WHIP is 1.168. The article pointed out his velocity has ticked back up a bit this year, and his K rate is 9.4/9IP. He is a postseason beast with a 4-0 record in three winning World Series with the Giants, and he won the WS MVP award in 2014
Any deal would probably be toward the trade deadline, and would only happen if the Mets were in contention. It would likely cost the Mets at least one highly ranked prospect, and probably another player as well. Oh, one more point, Bumgarner is another good hitter (for a pitcher) with 18 career home runs.