Zack Wheeler and the Mets rotation are ‘hitting’ their stride

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.

4 comments for “Zack Wheeler and the Mets rotation are ‘hitting’ their stride

  1. May 14, 2019 at 9:19 am

    The Mets broadcasters mentioned that they’ve already tied for the most HR ever hit by Mets pitchers in a year.

    Vargas has been a pretty good hitting pitcher, with a .210/.240/.240 line. Not much on the slugging side of things but a pretty good AVG.

    I’d enjoy adding Bumgarner and his hitting exploits to the staff. But he’s not the guy he was in 2016 and we shouldn’t trade for him – and pay in trade costs – like he is. Here are his ERA+ numbers the last four years:

    146
    128
    118
    100

    He’d be an upgrade on Vargas but so would Joe Musgrove.

    • John Fox
      May 14, 2019 at 10:26 am

      Bumgarner has definitely fallen off the past 2 years, but he did have a couple of injuries, something he never had before. Hopefully he has learned his lesson about riding on ATV’s. He’s still only 29

  2. Name
    May 14, 2019 at 10:10 am

    I don’t understand why people think postseason exploits from many years past is relevant, but give less weight to someone’s more current season stats.

    Why do we give credit for Bumgarner for being a postseason beast in 2014, yet don’t give a crap what Vargas did in 2017?

  3. Metsense
    May 14, 2019 at 11:28 am

    The Mets should bat the pitcher eighth, the disciplined Nimmo 7th and the more free swinging but fast Rosario 9th.
    The starting pitchers that are on the bench pinch hit when the opportunity arises. That means that they should be doing stretches before they pinch hit because you don’t want to see a starting pitcher get a injury.
    These starting pitchers are exceptional athletes and they should also work on their bunting more. The Mets don’t do the small things that win them games. Is it lack of commitment by the players or is it lack of leadership by the coaching staff?

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