The New York Mets have one of the best and most underrated rotations in baseball entering the 2020 season, whenever it may begin.
Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman has the number two role in the Mets’ rotation secured if or when the MLB season starts up. Stroman was supposed to be third in the Mets’ rotation but Noah Syndergaard needed Tommy John surgery and would be out for the season, pushing Stroman into the number two role.
Syndergaard successfully underwent the procedure on March 26th and is now recovering.
New York Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner has very high hopes for Marcus Stroman. Hefner believes Stroman has the chance to dethrone teammate Jacob deGrom as the National League Cy Young award winner.
Hefner has appeared in two MLB seasons with the Mets, from 2012-2013. He was also an advanced scout with the Minnesota Twins before getting promoted to assistant pitching coach in 2019.
When speaking with SNY’s Baseball Night in New York: Living Room Edition, Hefner said “For Stro, the sky is the limit,” Hefner said. “He could easily push Jake (deGrom) in the Cy Young Award race.”
Stroman has finished in the top 10 in the Cy Young race just once, doing so in 2017 with the Blue Jays.
Stroman pitched relatively well for the Toronto Blue Jays and Mets last season. He finished with a combined 3.22 ERA, 3.72 FIP, a WHIP of 1.307 while striking out 159 batters in 184 innings. His numbers with the Mets were worse than his numbers with the Blue Jays.
An increase in ERA or WHIP from a pitcher going from the American League to the National League is rare. It’s usually the other way around seeing as the pitcher doesn’t have to deal with deeper AL lineups that features a designated hitter. The increase may be because Stroman is still getting accustomed to the settings in New York City.
Although his numbers last season were respectable, they were far from the numbers of Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.
Inconsistencies have plagued Stroman for much of the past four seasons, sporting a 3.86 ERA while pitching to the offensively-gifted American League East consistently.
Since the beginning of the 2017 season, only seven pitchers in Major League Baseball have recorded two years in which they threw at least 180 innings and sported an ERA+ of 135 or higher. Stroman is one of them.
Hefner is confident in the New York native because of his versatility and unique approach to pitching.
"His ability to control his body - he throws a million different pitches in a million different locations and can do some funky things from a timing standpoint to mess up the hitter. For me taking this job, I was excited to get to work with him. It's someone I've admired from a distance for a while," Hefner said.
The Mets hired the 34-year-old as their main pitching coach over the winter where he helps round out a young coaching staff that also features first-year manager and 38-year-old Luis Rojas.
I think it is safe to say Hefner is a little bit too optimistic about Stroman. Stroman has pitched well over the past few years, but he has had his ups and downs and had only one season that was Cy Young Award caliber.
Regardless of baseball being played in 2020, Marcus Stroman will be a free agent this winter where he will be one of the top pitchers available on the market.
In the past, the Mets have not spent too much money on free agents, meaning they might never get their lethal one-two-three-punch of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Marcus Stroman.