The first 20 or so games for the 2021 New York Mets have been about as up and down as they could be. The season began with a bullpen meltdown, followed by Miguel Castro and Edwin Diaz looking unbeatable. The starting pitching has been elite, only to be countered by an offense that can’t hit a beach ball at the moment. While there is reason to believe an offensive turnaround is coming, the opposite is true for the pitching. No one is expecting Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker to maintain their ERAs in the low twos, and just three days off between today and June 7th will test the true depths of this bullpen.
While the offense will have to find its own way out of this slump, the Mets pitching staff can look forward to impending returns to hopefully maintain their elite performance.
2021 New York Mets: Carlos Carrasco
The unsung member of the blockbuster Francisco Lindor trade, Carrasco has the potential to be one of the Mets’ best offseason additions. Carrasco went down with a strained hamstring during spring training, but reports indicate he is scheduled to return in the second week of May.
Outside of the juiced ball year of 2019, Carrasco has posted ERAs consistently between 2.50 and 3.60 from 2014 to 2020, while starting at least 25 games (12 in 2020). He should fill out the Mets rotation nicely, bumping David Peterson to the fifth spot and replacing the shaky production of Joey Lucchesi. This will be especially important considering the lack off of days over the next month, which prevents management from being able to skip that fifth rotation spot.
The 2021 New York Mets have sorely missed Lugo since they watched new additions Trevor May and Aaron Loup blow an opening day eighth-inning lead. Since then, there has been a remarkable lack of Mets bullpen blowups, but the upcoming schedule is sure to test that.
In 2019, Lugo contributed a 2.70 ERA over 80.0 innings pitched in relief, making him one of the elite bullpen arms in the game. Partnered with a shut-down Edwin Diaz, and backed up by Castro, May, Loup, and a surprisingly excellent Jeurys Familia, the Mets ‘pen could be one of the best in the league. Lugo also provides manager Luis Rojas with the ability to get creative, and let Lugo pitch multiple innings, even entering in the fifth or sixth inning to bridge the gap between the starter and Diaz.
He underwent right elbow surgery in February, and is currently slated to return before the end of May.
The potential return of Thor is the furthest away of this trio, but could also be the most impactful. At the top of his game, Syndergaard was among the elite starters in the game. If he can return to form, the Mets may have more riches than they know what to do with.
All indications are that Syndergaard is progressing well in his return from Tommy John surgery, with a mid-June return in mind. He first faced live hitters last week and clocked in at 97 MPH on the radar gun. Syndergaard would provide a sixth reliable starting pitcher, providing insurance in the event of an injury. If everyone is healthy, the Mets could opt for a six-man rotation, or even push rookie David Peterson to the bullpen if needed.
In the coming days, the focus will undoubtedly be on the floundering offense. If the bats can turn it around, they can look forward to backing a pitching staff that can expect meaningful additions over the next month.
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