The top three spots in the 2024 rotation appear to be set. After a 12-7 rookie season with a 2.98 ERA, the Marcel projections on Baseball-Reference pegs a year of regression for 30-year-old righty Kodai Senga in 2024, sliding down to a 9-7 record with a 3.52 ERA. There appears to be no logical reason for this prediction and with a little run support and less blown saves out of the pen, my revised prediction is that Senga will go 15-7.
Entering his 13th professional season, 34-year-old lefty Jose Quintana is predicted by Marcel to have a 2024 record of 4-6 with a 3.88 ERA. Hard to see the logic in this prediction with the way he pitched at the end of 2023, and if he stays healthy my revised 2024 prediction is a 10-6 record.
Twenty-nine-year-old reclamation project, righty Luis Severino, ended 2023 with a 4-8 record in 18 starts to go along with a 6.65 ERA. Starting his ninth season, Marcel predicts a 6-7 record with a 4.90 ERA in 2024. It has been discussed that Severino was tipping his pitches in 2023, which we know the Mets will be working to resolve in spring training. If they do, perhaps he can revert back to his old form and pitch more like his career record of 54-37 and ERA of 3.79. My revised 2024 prediction for Severino would be a 12-7 record.
If you take Marcel predictions as gospel, Senga, Quintana and Severino will pitch to a 19-20 record. My revised predictions has the trio winning 18 more games than predicted, bringing their 2024 won-loss to 37-20. With 88 wins as a likely number to make the playoffs, the Mets will need to come up with 51 more wins from the rest of their staff. So how will the Mets fill out the rest of the rotation?
Twenty-five-year-old righty Jose Butto appeared in nine games with the Mets in 2023, seven as a starter. While his record was only 1-4, he impressed with a 3.64 ERA. In six minor league seasons he went 23-32 with a 3.86 ERA. Marcel, which seems to have every potential Mets starter regressing, pegged Butto to have a 2024 record of 3-5 along with a 4.26 ERA. Ever the optimist, I see him moving forward and finishing the 2024 campaign with an 8-7.
Thirty-year-old lefty Joey Lucchesi started nine games for the Mets in 2023 recording a 4-0 record to go along with a 2.89 ERA. Marcel projects him to have a 2024 record of 5-3 with an ERA of 3.94. There are some who might say that a projected 3.94 ERA is fair given that over the course of his career, most of it playing with the San Diego Padres, he had a 4.07 ERA and a 23-24 record. Lucchesi was certainly a breath of fresh air and my projection for him in 2024 is a 10-7 record.
Twenty-eight-year-old righty Tylor Megill will begin his fourth year pitching for the big club in Queens. Of his 58 appearances during that span, 52 as a starter, he accumulated a 17-16 record to go along with a 4.72 ERA. Marcel pegs him to achieve an 8-7 record to go with a 4.65 ERA in 2024. Given that you never know which Megill will take the mound, getting eight wins out of him appears to be a fair projection but I predict he will also suffer 11 losses. This will likely be his last shot at playing for the Mets if he can’t get his act together.
The biggest disappointment on this list is 28-year-old lefty David Peterson. He starts his fifth season pitching for the orange and blue and has accumulated an 18-21 lifetime record with a 4.51 ERA over 80 appearances, 64 as a starter. While he has shown flashes of success, he has never grasped the opportunity to be a productive member of the rotation. Then, when the Mets need him to step up the most with the rotation in flux, he requires hip surgery, and is not expected to rejoin the team until likely after the trade deadline. It is certainly a possibility that he does not return at all, so Marcel’s 2024 projection of a 5-7 record with a 4.58 ERA is generous. My projection is that we will not see Peterson this season and therefore he will add nothing to the win-loss totals.
Thirty-year-old righty Adrian Houser was an off season pick up from the Milwaukee Brewers, where he had a cup of coffee in both 2015 and 2018 before joining their rotation in 2018. In 2023 he appeared in 23 games, 21 as a starter, and pitched to an 8-5 record with a 4.12 ERA. His career record is 31-34 with a 4.00 ERA. Marcel predicts Houser will go 8-7 with a 4.24 ERA in 2024 and that seems reasonable.
Soon to be 32-year-old lefty Sean Manaea inked a two-year $28 million free agent contract with an opt out at the end of 2024. In 2023 Manaea went 7-6 with a 4.44 ERA appearing in 37 games, 10 as a starter. For his career, Manaea is 65-56 with an ERA of 4.10. Marcel predicts a 2024 record of 7-7 with a 4.58 ERA. The Mets are again trying to catch lightning in a bottle with yet another reclamation project. My revised prediction is for him to end the season with a 10-11 record.
In summary, my prediction for the top three starters and this hopeful group of back of the rotation pitchers to attain an 81-64 record is extremely hopeful. This leaves plenty of room for other starters or relievers to win 10 of the remaining 17 games to bring them up to a final record to 88-74 and a wildcard spot. Since the Mets are not apt to unload prospects to trade for a top pitcher, who might only have a year or two of team control left, what remains is what’s left on the free agent market.
On the surface, 31-year-old lefty Blake Snell, owner of a 71-55 career record with a 3.20 ERA, and two Cy Young Awards, would be a likely target. But, as has been discussed by many on this site, aside from his two award winning years (21-5 with the Tampa Ray in 2018, and 14-9 in 2023 with the Padres), he has been pretty mediocre having a winning record in just two of those other six years. He has also never topped 130 innings in any of those seasons meaning he averages out to less than a quality start each time out. For the Mets, the biggest downside is that they would need to throw at least three relievers each time Snell took the mound and that seems like a recipe for disaster. The latest news on Snell was that he rejected a five year/$150 million offer from the Yankees. With teams desperate for pitching, someone will overpay for Snell, but it will likely be a team that needs a starter to throw them over the top. That would not be the Mets, although I would consider two years and $60 million, with an opt out after the 2024 season if he was still sitting out there as spring training gets closer.
Thirty-one-year-old lefty Jordan Montgomery will be entering his eighth season, and his stock went through the roof after his post-season contribution to the Texas Rangers’ world series win. He has a career record of 38-34 with an ERA of 3.68 and in 2023, over 32 starts for two teams, pitched to a 10-11 record and 3.20 ERA. Marcel predicts that in 2024, he will go 9-9 with a 3.66 ERA. He reportedly is looking to top the seven-year, $170 million contract signed by Aaron Nola, but it is hard to understand how this career .500 pitcher expects to go from $10 million to more than $25 million annually. He is another player that will likely land on a team closer to the finish line than the Mets.
If the Mets were a pitcher away from a championship caliber team, then overpaying for Snell or Montgomery might make sense. We are all holding out that that a serious front line pitcher will be obtained before spring training starts so that we do not have to rely on every bounce going our way with the cast of characters noted above.
In the meantime, it’s time for this cast of players to step up and make the most of their opportunity in 2024.