by John Jackson, Last Word on Baseball
The New York Mets came into 2016 with high expectations. After losing to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series, they had some unfinished business. However, injury after injury occurred. David Wright, Matt Harvey, Justin Ruggiano, Neil Walker, and Zack Wheeler won’t return this year. Lucas Duda, Jon Niese, and Juan Lagares have only a slight chance of returning. Other players such as Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Reyes, Jim Henderson, Yoenis Cespedes, Travis d’Arnaud, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz have all missed or are missing a varying amount of time.
The Mets record reflected this as they hovered around .500 for a good part of July and August. Even though a lot of the offensive pieces that the Mets were missing in July and August have come back, the rotation is still missing most of the familiar and reliable faces that took the Mets far last year. However, a trio of unlikely pitchers have done an outstanding job thus far as they fill in for one of the best rotations in MLB.
The question many baseball fans and perhaps even some casual Mets fans may have is who are these unlikely pitchers? Their names are Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, and Rafael Montero and they all have different stories on how they have made it this far to keep the Mets competitive.
Unlikely Pitchers Are Keeping the New York Mets Competitive
Lugo is a right-handed pitcher drafted by the Mets in the 34th round of the 2011 amateur draft.
Lugo, 26, has spent over five years in the minors after being drafted out of Centenary College of Louisiana. He was not a top prospect when being drafted and instead had to work his way up the Minors. While Lugo found success along the way, this year he struggled in his time at Triple-A Las Vegas. He pitched to the tune of a 6.50 ERA in 21 games (14 starts) with 62 strikeouts in 73.1 innings. Triple-A Las Vegas is known as a hitter’s ballpark, similar to Coors Field in Colorado. The Pacific Coast League in general is filled with ballparks that result in big offensive numbers. With that in mind, the Mets did not weigh that as a big factor.
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