LOD’s 3 Players to Watch: New York Mets
The New York Mets walked into the 2023 season looking to finish what they started last season. After winning 101 games in 2022 and basically giving away the NL East division crown to the Atlanta Braves, who also won 101 games, New York has a lot to prove to themselves and their fans.
With additions to the roster, especially in the pitching staff, the Mets have new and old players that will be watched very closely to see if they can be the different makers that will help get the team over the hump and finally back to the World Series. A lot of Steven Cohen’s money is on the line as well as keeping the fan base happy.
One of the major acquisitions in the offseason was the signing of Kodai Senga, the Japanese export that comes with the skill of being a big game pitcher. He also has a pitch that drops out of the strike zone, which has been named, the Ghost Pitch.
After watching how Japan dominated in the World Baseball Classic, its safe to say that if the Japanese ball players are dominating in Japan during their careers, that we should expect nothing less in the states.
During 11 years pitching in Japan, he was 104-51, with a 2.42 ERA, 1486 strikeouts in 1340.2 innings pitched. In his three spring training starts for the Mets, he was not overpowering as he finished 1-2, with a 4.00 ERA through nine innings, while recording 10 strikeouts.
Senga gets the start on Sunday against the Miami Marlins and depending own how the Mets fair on Saturday, he will either be looking for a team series win or tie. So far in two games, the Mets have only put six runs on the board, five in game one and one on Friday, so the hope is that a great outing from Senga sparks an offensive explosion.
Senga will be a must watch every single time he takes the mound.
When the Mets signed free agent David Robertson to a contract, the idea was that he would be a set up for closer Edwin Diaz. Never in anyone’s wildest dreams was their a thought that Diaz would be lost for the season and Robertson would be thrust into the closers role.
Robertson started his career with the New York Yankees back in 2008 and the 37 year relief pitcher has some miles on his arm, as he has appeared in 739 innings before recording his first Mets save on Thursday against the Marlins.
The Birmingham, AL native had a stretch from 2014-2016, where he saved at least 40 games each season, with a high of 44 in 2016 with the Chicago White Sox.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020, he returned to the pen with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2021, appearing in 12 games in September, along with three postseason appearances.
In 2022, after signing a free agent contract with the Chicago Cubs, he appeared in 36 games, saved 14, to a tune of 3-0, with a 2.23 ERA. On August 2, 2022, the Cubs traded Robertson to the Philadelphia Phillies and he was 6 for 9 in save opportunities while appearing in 22 games. In the postseason for the Phillies, he was 1-0, with a 1.17 ERA.
Up until the Diaz season ending injury during the WBC, Robertson was gearing up to get the ball to one of the dominate closers in the game, but now he becomes that guy to close out games for the Mets. He has the experience, but how much does he have left in the tank? Mets faithful hope, just enough.
Last April the Mets received a shot in the arm, as Tylor Megill exploded on the scene was a 4-0 month of April, posting a 1.93 ERA through five games. On April 29th, he pitched five shutout and hitless innings, ending an amazing month on the mound, but unfortunately that was short-lived. In his very next start in May, he took the loss after giving up three runs on four hits in 5.1 innings pitched. Then took a turn for the worse as he allowed eight runs on eight hits in 1.1 innings of work, losing his second straight game.
After two more failed starts in June, he was placed on the 60-day injured list with a right shoulder strain. When he returned in September, he was moved to the bullpen and never truly regained his dominating force on the mound.
During this past spring training, he appeared in five games, making three starts, and was 1-1, with a 3.71 ERA through 17 innings.
With starters Justin Verlander and Jose Quintana on the 15 day IL, Megill will start on Saturday against the fish and hopefully he can give the Mets a shot in the arm they desperately need, even this early in the season.
Megill will be a pitcher to watch, as the Mets hope they can see the Megill from April 2022, and someone they can rely on to help out the starting rotation throughout the summer.