The Mets starting rotation seemed set as Spring Training was drawing to a close. It did not include lefty David Peterson, who started the year in Syracuse, or righty Tylor Megill, who seemed likely to join Peterson in the minors or at best be a long-relief pitcher. However due to injuries to ace Jacob deGrom and Taijuan Walker, both Megill and Peterson have moved into the rotation and both are providing lights-out performance so far.
Losing the best pitcher in baseball (deGrom) for an extended time as well as an other starter would be a devastating blow for any team. But so far the tandem of Megill and Peterson have kept the Mets rolling without losing a beat.
Sure the season is young, but the two 26 year old pitchers have a very good stat in common, that is that they are both boasting 0.00 ERAs. In fact neither pitcher has allowed a run at all so far, either earned or unearned.
Peterson has pitched in two games, the first being a long relief stint taking over for the injured Walker, and the second a start against the Diamondbacks. Peterson is a finesse pitcher who mixes up a four-pitch assortment of fastballs, change-ups, sliders and occasional curveballs.
His average fastball velocity is 93.6, decent but not overwhelming. He has loads of good stats other than that great ERA including WHIP at 1.20 and FIP at 2.86. Opponents BA against him is only .207.
When batters make contact, very often the result is a grounder, his ground ball rate is just shy of 60%. With the improved infield defense behind him, Peterson is pitching to a team strength. He is not an overwhelming strikeout pitcher, but he gets his share with a K/9 rate of 7.56.
Peterson has yet to record a win this season, his first appearance turned into a loss despite his four scoreless innings, due to one of the bullpen implosions that the Mets have suffered. In his start on Sunday he was pulled after 4 ⅓ scoreless (of course) innings, perhaps due to his pitch count of 80 in a game that the Mets won handily over Arizona.
As good as Peterson has been, Megill has been even better this year. He is more of a power pitcher with his fastball averaging 96.5 mph this season. He is striking batters out at a 9.58 rate per 9 innings. His WHIP figure is a microscopic 0.58, and his FIP is 0.97. Hitters are only batting .167 against him. When batters do put the ball in play against him, he is mostly keeping the ball on the ground with a 52.2% GB rate. The results have been a won-loss record of 2-0, including the opening day gem against Washington.
Peterson seems to profile best as a back-of-the-rotation starter, due to the fascination teams have for the pure power pitcher in this era. But a fourth or fifth starter can be very valuable to a team, especially if Peterson proves to be durable. He may get a demotion when the injured starters return, but barring a setback he is going to be a part of the rotation for the next few years.
Megill, on the other hand, has all the makings of a future ace. He has plus stuff, and he seems unflappable on the mound. He is pretty likely to be in the rotation at least until deGrom returns, and it would be no surprise if he is in the rotation not only for this year but for years to come.