Before the 2024 season began, I think it is safe to say starting pitching was not expected to be a team strength for the New York Mets. The headline starters from the 2023 season, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, had been shipped elsewhere prior to the end of last season. No big-name starters were signed in the off-season, so the rotation seemed kind of mediocre. The relief corps, with Edwin Diaz returning figured to be a team strength, and there were proven hitters in the lineup. So far this season, however, the relievers have been as good or better than expected, the hitters have been kind of up and down, but the pitching rotation has been absolutely stellar.

Occasionally on this site, an author has been known to refer to sports entities outside of MLB, Notably the Minnesota Vikings and North Carolina State basketball. I too will now briefly enter into that now charted territory. The defensive unit of the 1972 Miami Dolphins was given the nickname “No-Name Defense” by the Hall of Fame Cowboys coach, Tom Landry. The nickname was not meant to be denigrating, Landry meant that despite the lack of marquee names, the defense worked hard and got the job done. The Dolphins not only won the Super Bowl that season, they went undefeated as well. The current Mets rotation could be the baseball equivalent of those Dolphins

The casual baseball fan might not know some of the Mets’ starters, there are no overpowering dominating hurlers in the mold of a Spencer Strider or a Zack Wheeler on this team, yet the results have been there. So, who are the pitchers who make up the “No-Name” rotation? We will look at the five main starters, in alphabetical order. Please note that all stats cited are through the games of Wednesday, April 17.

We’ll start off with right-hander Jose Butto, aged 26, the only pitcher in the current rotation on the good side of 30. Butto stated the year in the minors, then he got called up after the Tylor Megill injury. Butto so far has started two games, and pitched 12 innings. Of course that is a tiny sample, but he has put up a glittering WHIP figure of 0.75, and coincidentally an ERA of O.75 also. He’s thrown 15 strikeouts to only 4 walks. He has achieved this excellent strikeout ratio with a fastball that averages 93.8. That not bad velocity, but it is nowhere near the upper 90s fastballs that a lot of the top pitchers throw. Butto may not be able to sustain his success over the season, but he is certainly off to a good start.

Adrian Houser, 31, has been pitching as the 5th starter. Up to this year, he had spent his entire MLB career with the Milwaukee organization, so presumably Mets President David Stearns is familiar with him. In 3 starts he has 15.1 Ip, with a 0-1 record. His ERA is up there at 4.70, and his strikeout ratio is 5.28 Ks per 9 innings. He is not a hard thrower, with his sinker being his main pitch as he throws it 44% of the time. He does hold batters to a .232 BA. Expectations were not real high for him, and as someone slotted toward the bottom of the rotation, he is respectably holding down the fort so far.

Sean Manaea is a well-traveled lefty who has pitched 14.2 IP to a 1-1 record. His ERA is 4.30, but his FIP looks better at 3.52. He throws fastballs a little over 50% of the time, with an average velocity of 92.7. That of course is not the kind of stuff to make highlight reels, but he must have good command because he’s struck out 18 batters so far, better that a strikeout per inning.

Jose Quintana, 35, has spent most of his career with the White Sox, he made the All-Star team for them back in 2016. He was never a fireballer, and at this stage of his career he would be considered a finesse pitcher. In 4 games he has 20.2 IP with a 1-1 record and a fine ERA of 3.05. He has struck out 16 but walked 11 batters so far. He throws curves and changeups and fastballs, with his 4-seamer only averaging 90.1 MPH. He has gotten results though, with that approach that used to be called throwing “junk”.

Finally, there is 30-year-old Luis Severino, a long-time Yankee. He has had 4 starts with 21 IP and a 2-1 record. His ERA is excellent at 2.14, and he has averaged exactly a strikeout per inning so far. His WHIP is decent at 1.38. He leads the starters in fastball velocity at 96.6. The 2-time All-Star (2017, 2018) had a bad year for the Bronx Bombers last year but this year he is looking like the ace of the Mets staff.

When team pitching stats for this season are looked at, the “No-Name” rotation has acquitted itself very well. The Mets are first in the N.L in team ERA with a mark of 3.15, and second in the League in BA against with .221. With reinforcements on the horizon such as 2023 breakout star Kodai Senga, this rotation could lead the Mets to a very good season.

7 comments on “The Mets’ pitching rotation is producing good results

  • Edwin e Pena

    This rotation is a surprising group, and Senga will join it soon, but it’s only April. If they keep it up, they will be in the playoffs, otherwise none outside of Senga are long term signees and could be gone after this year, opening spots for the rooks headed by Christian Scott. The bullpen is even more surprising.

  • José Hunter

    “overpowering dominating hurler in the mold of Zack Wheeler”

    I disagree

    He’s a good #2, an excellent #3, but that’s as far as I’ll go, with all due respect to you, whom I (nonsarcastically) consider a pro

    Similar to when I inform YouTube gasbags that they couldn’t carry my mathletic supporter

    • John Fox

      You right Jose I suppose I could have thought of a better example of a dominating pitcher than Wheeler, although he led the League in strikeouts a few years ago and I think he has pretty much been the number one starter for the Phillies since he got there,

  • TexasGusCC

    Nice overview John and certainly a fitting nickname. Let’s not jinx them, but there are some guys we would like to upgrade from as soon as possible.

  • Brian Joura

    Before the season started, my opinion was that Houser and Severino were the weak links in the rotation. I still don’t believe Houser is good enough but Severino might be.

    Severino’s ERA look good thanks to all of the unearned runs. He’s been better than I thought but I’m still not overly impressed with his performance as a Met. I’d be thrilled if he finished with a 3.73 ERA, which is his current FIP. It just feels like he’s been very lucky but I wouldn’t argue with someone who felt differently.

    But you don’t have to squint too hard to see a good rotation here. If Senga can perform like he did last year, that’s an SP1. I’ll sign on the dotted line for Manaea to be terrific in two out of every three starts. Quintana has been solid and Butto is following up his strong September performance.

  • Footballhead

    So out of action for us is Senga, Megill, Peterson……and Luchessi is still lurking around. Do you thing Luchessi and/or Megill would be better options if Houser continues to be a meh?

    Counting on Senga before June is wishful thinking…at least with what little in the way of news we have about him. In the meantime, lets hope the present rotation stays healthy and productive.

    Thanks for the article John.

    • Metstabolism

      Thank you for pointing out Senga’s realistic return date. If we’re going to start making value judgements on these pitchers just three weeks into the season, then Senga’s return date 6+ weeks down the line is not “soon”.

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