2021 Mets Starting Pitching Staff Optimistic Grades

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So far, the New York Mets have found themselves on top of the NL East (currently a game ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies) due to the Mets starting pitching staff doing very well to open the season. The New York Mets have only allowed a 1.83 ERA in home games, which is one of the many incredible statistics that the bullpen and the starters have combined to push the Mets to the top of the division. 

In this article, I will be giving a grade for each member of the Mets starting pitching staff based on their performance so far in the 2021 MLB season. The statistics in this article are accurate as of May 19, 2021. 

Mets Starting Pitching Staff

Jacob Degrom: A+

Despite only making six starts and pitching 40 innings, Jacob Degrom has continued his reign as the top pitcher in the league. His stats of a 0.68 ERA and a 0.6 WHIP are incredible, and it is probably because of his increased confidence with his fastball. His average fastball velocity has increased to 98.9 MPH for the current season, and he throws it on 63.8% of his pitches versus 44.9% of his pitches in 2020. Hopefully, Degrom will be back on the mound shortly as he is vital to the Mets starting pitching staff.

Taijuan Walker: A

Taijuan Walker has been surprisingly productive for the Mets. In his career, he had been a solid starter in the league, averaging an ERA of 3.71 and a WHIP of 1.227. This season, Walker has thrown a diversity of pitches including a 94.3 MPH fastball (31.4% usage rate), an 85.7 MPH slider (23% usage rate), a 93.3 MPH sinker (22% usage rate), an 89.6 MPH split-finger (14.6% usage rate), and a 75.9 MPH curveball (9% usage rate). 

By varying the speeds of the pitches and the spin on the ball, Walker has left hitters guessing at the plate which has contributed to his strong start to the season. Taijuan Walker was pulled from his start on May 18th with tightness in his left side, so hopefully, he can return to the Mets starting pitching staff promptly.

Marcus Stroman: A-

Marcus Stroman has been impressive to watch this season. His ERA and WHIP have been better than expected at 2.72 and 1.06 respectively in 46.1 IP. His pitches are all mostly designed to generate easy ground ball outs for the defense. He has thrown his sinker on 44.8% of his pitches this season, and hitters typically ground out on either that pitch or his 86 MPH slider that he uses 25% of the time. It would be huge for the Mets if Stroman can extend his good opening start to the entire season. He is scheduled to start on Saturday against the Miami Marlins. 

David Peterson: B-

David Peterson has had a lukewarm start to the 2021 season. There have been some good starts, but his overall statistics have not reached his expectations so far. Currently, his season ERA is at 4.86 and his WHIP is at 1.26. Peterson is relying a lot more on his sinker this season (37.4% usage in 2021 vs 15.8% in 2020), and he has thrown a lower proportion of fastballs (23.7% in 2021 vs 37.4% in 2020). Hopefully, Peterson can fix his mechanics and get back on track for the rest of the season. He is scheduled to start tonight against the Atlanta Braves.

Carlos Carrasco: TBD

Carlos Carrasco was placed on the 60-day injured list on May 6 with a hamstring injury and it is unclear when he will return. The Mets will hopefully enlighten the public about Carrasco’s injury timetable shortly. 

Noah Syndergaard: TBD

Noah Syndergaard is currently with the St. Lucie Mets (Single-A). In his first rehab start, he pitched four scoreless innings. He should return to the major league level in mid-June.

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