5 New York Mets Pitchers Who Will Excel In Matt Harvey’s Absence
5 Mets Who Will Step Up For Harvey
Matt Harvey is doing everything he can not to miss all of 2014 with his partially torn UCL elbow ligament. Usually, Tommy John surgery is necessary when this injury occurs. There are times very few and far between when a player can play through if the tear is a very small, but Harvey's claim that he is going to be ready on day one of the 2014 season is unlikely.
With that said, the New York Mets are still in a very good position pitching wise. It may not look that way when they are signing the likes of Daisuke Matsuzaka, but the September 1 expansion will show some of the talent they have sitting in the minor leagues currently. They have one of the better pitching staffs on top of one of the better pitching prospects in the majors.
They are currently ranked 11th in the majors in ERA ... with a bullpen that has just one player (Pedro Feliciano) who has an ERA under 3.40. The future for the Mets' starting five may be the brightest in the league. Even with the injury to Harvey, they are still going to have a very good rotation in 2014.
These five are going to gain the most with the extra attention they will get in Harvey's absence. Whether its a player who had a good year, or a minor leaguer who will take his rotation spot, they are all going to gain something that they can use for the rest of their career. The Mets will get to see that they are in good shape pitching-wise.
5. Dillon Gee
Dillon Gee had an awful start to this season. After three starts, Gee posted an 8.36 ERA. In the first two months, his ERA was well over 5.50. Then he started to really get hot. In June, he posted a 2.73 ERA. In July, it was 2.88. Then in August, even with the four earned runs he allowed to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, his ERA for the month was 2.10. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2011, he has improved every season -- not bad for a guy who they were expecting to be a fourth or fifth starter.
4. Noah Syndergaard
The R.A. Dickey trade is looking better and better every single day. The big piece they received was catcher Travis d'Arnaud. He may have been injured this season, but when he returned, he took over the starting catching position. He has struggled in his first 10 games, but he is a top prospect who will figure it out with time. John Buck was surprisingly decent for the Mets to start and then helped bring back a prospect in the trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Then there is Noah Syndergaard. He may end up being the best player in this entire trade. He is currently in Double-A Binghamton, and he has been lights-out there. He has a perfect combination of a mid 90s fastball and devastating curveball. He may take until midseason next year to make the team, but he has been flying through the farm system. Expect to see him pitch in a Mets uniform before you see Harvey.
3. Jonathon Niese
Jonathon Niese seemed poised to have a very good season with the Mets this year. After struggling to keep his ERA under 4.00 in his first few seasons in the majors, Niese posted a 3.40 ERA in 2012. He wanted to expand on that this season, but it looked like it wasn't going to work out that way. When he was sent to the disabled list with a shoulder issue, he had a 4.32 ERA through 14 starts. A little over a month later, he returned and has been dazzling since. In his four starts since returning, he has posted a 1.98 ERA and has won three of his four starts. If he can continue to pitch at this rate for the rest of the season, he could vie for the opening day starter spot next season.
2. Rafael Montero
Rafael Montero slightly edges out Carlos Torres on this list. Torres will feel the short-term effects of Harvey's injury, but Montero take that spot in the rotation in the long run. The Mets may pass on calling up Montero this season so that his arm doesn't get damaged, but he could start next season in the rotation. He has flown through the minors and is already with the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s. He is the Mets' best prospect right now. His control is phenomenal. He is slated to one day be the Mets' third "ace" in their rotation.
1. Zack Wheeler
Meet the second ace. Zack Wheeler has been the Robin to Matt Harvey's Batman this season. In his last 10 starts, he has dropped his ERA by over a run and posted seven quality starts. His strikeout rate goes up every month, and he seems poised to take over in the absence of Harvey. Wheeler has been everything the Mets could have hoped for this season. Harvey's injury is very unfortunate, but it opens the door for Wheeler to become the star. He can take over superhero duties for a year while Harvey gets his elbow back to normal.