The first half of the 2023 Major League Baseball season has wrapped up, so it’s time to evaluate each team and hand out grades. For the 2023 New York Mets, evaluating their first half is easy to look at, but not in the way we all thought. Simply put there’s been too many inconsistencies with the team everywhere you look. None more so than the Mets pitching, and they have been the strength of this team for a long time. The starting rotation and bullpen have seen their fair share of struggles and success. A roller coaster to say the least with a lot of walks and first-inning runs allowed. We’ll first take a look at the starting rotation. A rotation that did look strong on paper despite losing Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Taijuan Walker in the offseason.
2023 Mets First Half Grades: Pitching
With a rotation that consists of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, new offseason signings Kodai Senga and José Quintana, as well as Carlos Carrasco, Tylor Megill, and David Peterson heading into Spring Training, the unit looked strong. However, Quintana would suffer a rib fracture during Spring Training, and he’s been out ever since. Then on Opening Day, the Mets lost Verlander for a month due to a low-grade teres major strain. With two starters down, the Mets called on Megill and Peterson to step up, and Senga to develop faster maybe than they would’ve liked. Megill and Peterson would severely regress as Megill pitched to a 5.17 ERA and would be sent down to the minors in June.
Evaluating the Aces, the Veteran, and the New Phenom
As for Peterson, he would be even worse as he pitched to an ERA of 8.08 through May. He would be optioned to the minors but got the call back up one month later. Since his return, he has pitched relatively well with a 2.35 ERA through 3 starts in 15 1/3 innings pitched. Carrasco has reverted back to his 2021 form. Like Peterson and Megill, Carrasco has been hit hard giving up 12 home runs and 35 earned runs. Not what the Mets visioned after his solid 2022. Scherzer started off really struggling through his first five starts with an ERA over six. While his ERA sits at 4.31 at the halfway mark, he has picked it up over his last 11 starts with the exception of clunkers against the San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, and Atlanta Braves. His ERA is 3.88 with 81 strikeouts during that stretch. Verlander did return in May and his season has been up and down. Verlander finished the first half pitching to a 2.03 ERA in his last five starts. Senga is the rotation’s biggest standout. Striking out 113 batters and becoming an All-Star.
Overall, the Mets starting pitching staff has an ERA of 4.57 ERA this year, which is tied with the Washington Nationals. The Mets’ starting rotation is going to have to pick it up and become the consistent unit they have the potential to be if they are going to turn this season around.
To put it bluntly, this Mets bullpen is built around closer Edwin Díaz. Over his last three seasons, the electric reliever has saved 70 games and after an unbelievable 2022, Díaz earned himself a new contract from New York. Unfortunately, Díaz’s season would come crashing down after suffering a knee injury during the World Baseball Classic. His injury was a full-thickness tear of his patellar tendon that has kept him out of action. In his absence, the Mets turned to David Robertson, and he has excelled. Saving 13 games in 39 1/3 innings pitched with 46 strikeouts and Robertson himself would get an A+ for his play this year. Brooks Raley has been solid and reliable. Adam Ottavino meanwhile, has taken a step back after being a good setup man for Díaz last year. He’s been rocky by allowing 17 walks, already more than 2022’s total of 16. Drew Smith struggles with control and allows too many walks and home runs if his fastball isn’t working.
Uknown Pitchers Asked to Step Up
Then you have pitchers such as Dominic Leone, Grant Hartwig, John Curtiss, Stephen Nogosek, and Jeff Brigham. Guys who have been asked to step up for a bullpen that needs it. Some have, like Hartwig and Brigham. Others like Curtiss, Nogosek, and Leone have faltered. The bullpen has been asked to do a lot with the starting pitching not eating enough innings, especially early in the season. Causing the unit to be taxed and forcing manager Buck Showalter to maneuver his way out of situations. Regardless, the bullpen’s era is currently 4.12, which isn’t good enough. Robertson can’t do it all by himself.
Main photo credits:
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, Jose Quintana, Carlos Carrasco, Tylor Megill, David Peterson, David Robertson, Brooks Raley, Adam Ottavino, Drew Smith, Dominic Leone, Grant Hartwig, John Curtiss, Stephen Nogosek, Jeff Brigham