At the conclusion of the 2020 season, it seemed like a pretty safe bet that David Peterson would be in the Mets’ rotation in 2021. After all, it looked like the Mets were going to need to sign three starters and how likely was it that they were going to get three or four guys better than Peterson? Then the Mets went out and re-signed Marcus Stroman, traded for Carlos Carrasco and signed Taijuan Walker. And they also acquired Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto. And, of course, Noah Syndergaard is still in the picture, too, even if not until June.
With his success last year, and the fact that he’s a lefty, Peterson likely retains the inside track to open as the club’s fifth starter. But Lucchesi is a lefty, too, and Yamamoto is having the best Grapefruit League start (1.08 ERA, 0.96 WHIP) of any club pitcher besides Jacob deGrom. Then add in the uncertainty if Carrasco will be ready to start the season and if Walker will be on any kind of innings cap and projecting the totals for these potential SP candidates becomes a big mess.
So far in this projection series, there is deGrom with 210 IP, Stroman with 180, Carrasco with 176.1 and Walker with 154. Virtually none of those innings will likely occur in relief, so we’re in the neighborhood of 115 starts. So, we have roughly 47 starts left to divide among four pitchers, as our hope – however unrealistic – is that no one else starts a game besides these eight hurlers.
If Syndergaard comes back in early June, we could assign 21 or so starts to him, leaving about 26 for the others. It still seems to me that the lion’s share of those will go to Peterson, with Lucchesi and Yamamoto divvying up the remainder. If there are a dozen starts from the fifth slot before Syndergaard returns, that leaves around 14 for “missing” starts from the others. And then you have to guess when those “missing” starts will occur. Will they happen early in the year – like if Carrasco has to miss any time – where if Peterson is in the rotation already, those starts will go to Lucchesi or Yamamoto? Or will they be in the second half, when Peterson becomes free? Also, will any of these three spend time in the bullpen in the majors or will they go to Triple-A to keep stretched out as a starter?
Since we’re looking at four pitchers here, we’ll dispense with listing multiple projections for each one. Instead, we’ll just use the FanGraphs’ Depth Chart (FGDC) – which is essentially a mixture of the forecasts that appear on their site, meaning neither Marcel nor RotoChamp will factor into things. Finally, the computer models don’t care about having starts or innings make sense on a club level. They just forecast what the player is likely to do given what he – and others like him – have done in the past.
FGDC – 55 IP, 4.15 ERA, 55 Ks, 20 BB, 8 HR
M360 – 17 IP, 4.76 ERA, 15 Ks, 6 BB, 3 HR
FGDC – 94 IP, 4.11 ERA, 84 Ks, 38 BB, 11 HR
M360 – 102 IP, 4.50 ERA, 79 Ks, 51 BB, 12 HR
FGDC – 96 IP, 3.74 ERA, 97 Ks, 25 BB, 12 HR
M360 – 126 IP, 3.25 ERA, 126 Ks, 35 BB, 14 HR
FGDC – 17 IP, 5.19 ERA, 16 Ks, 8 BB, 3 HR
M360 – 45 IP, 4.40 ERA, 45 Ks, 20 BB, 6 HR
You’ll have more credibility if you weigh in now with what you think this quartet will do in 2021.