While injuries have been a constant concern for the Mets starting pitchers this season, there is no doubting they boast one of the best rotations in all of baseball. There are not many teams that can claim to have five starters 28 years old or younger, all pitching or with the potential to be at least number three starters. With so much talent on their staff, it is hard not to wonder how the future will unfold for this group. We rank the Mets starting pitchers for keeper and dynasty purposes and also discuss their seasonal league value in this week’s The Five Spot.
- Noah Syndergaard (SP, Mets) – Syndergaard has ascended rapidly and is considered one of the best pitchers in baseball. He’s followed up an impressive debut season with even better stuff and numbers in 2016. He is striking out 11 batters per nine innings and his ERA sits at 2.41 after a few dicey (relatively speaking) outings in June. He has had a few health scares, but so far they have not amounted to anything serious. After admitting to having a bone spur in his elbow a couple weeks ago, Syndergaard just left his most recent start with arm fatigue. It would be a shame if injuries derailed what he has going on here. It will be interesting to see how he finishes the season. He did pitch just under 200 innings in total last season (including minors and playoffs) so there should not be any restrictions unless he has further arm trouble. Seasonal: Syndergaard was tremendous in April and May, but sputtered a bit in June. Expecting Top 20 production from here on out is certainly reasonable. Health is the main concern. Long-term: Outside of a dominant Clayton Kershaw, Syndergaard is right there with Jose Fernandez as heirs to the throne. He gets the edge on Chris Sale and Madison Bumgarner because of age. I don’t like banking of pitchers long-term but Syndergaard has to be one of the most valuable keepers in baseball.
- Jacob deGrom (SP, Mets) – deGrom may not have the ultimate physical ceiling to match anyone on this list, which is weird to say of a pitcher whose career ERA is in the mid-twos and has more than a strikeout per inning. Oh, and he won Rookie of Year in 2014. At 28-years-old, though, this is the best version of deGrom and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. For Fantasy purposes, he is an ideal SP2 that pitches more like a Top 15 starter. Seasonal: deGrom is an above-average option moving forward that you can rely on. He will continue to deliver a low ERA and WHIP along with strong strikeout rates. Long-term: He does not always get the proper credit for the numbers he has put up, which could lead to a buying opportunity. While not an ace-level starter, he makes a strong case to be in the next tier.
- Steven Matz (SP, Mets) – Matz was a first round talent that dropped to the Mets in the second round in 2009. Unfortunately, he had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and missed all of 2011. Once he started pitching in the minors, he moved relatively quickly, reaching the majors last year. The lefty has power stuff and strong secondary offerings that make him very enticing for Fantasy purposes. He is pitching with bone spurs in his pitching elbow, which is cause for at least mild concern. He should be able to pitch without restrictions and may require minor surgery in the offseason. Seasonal: Matz is a solid mid-rotation starter just as long as he can stay healthy. His upside is that of a Top 30 starter for the second half. Long-term: There’s untapped potential for the 25-year-old, and Matz could develop into a strong number two starter in both Fantasy and real life baseball. He is an excellent mid-rotation starter to have stock in over the long-term.
- Matt Harvey (SP, Mets) Harvey took the league by storm in 2013, but Tommy John surgery knocked him out for all of 2014. He bounced back strong last season and regained all of the value he had previously lost. Harvey got off to an ugly start this year and while he was starting to turn things around, thoracic outlet syndrome is ending his season. The surgery for TOS could end up being more than just a road bump. It also might knock him out for part of next season. He is arbitration eligible this offseason. A healthy Harvey would likely have sat as high as number two on this list. Seasonal: Drop him because he is out for the year. What a disappointing season overall from what should have been your most valuable or second most valuable starter. Long-term: Still has plenty of upside and could be an ace again if he can get past these injuries. Optimism is not particularly high given the severity of the latest surgery and he’s a major risk in keeper and dynasty formats at this point. If you have deep rosters, he is not a bad buy low, but I would need a significant discount to take him.
- Zack Wheeler (SP, Mets) – Wheeler has been dealing with some complications of his own as he tries to come back from Tommy John surgery later this season. Once a top pitching prospect, Wheeler has been impressive in his 49 starts with the Mets. He owns a 3.50 ERA and just under a strikeout per inning. He has struggled with control issues dating back to his time in the minors, which accelerates his pitch counts and prevents him from pitching deep into games. He will turn 27 next May and if healthy, he could be put himself right back on the Fantasy map. Seasonal: Keep him stashed if you have the DL space, but it is looking like he is at least a month away, if not longer. Don’t expect much in 2016. Long-term: Quality SP3 if he can harness that control. If not, he is still Fantasy relevant because of his strikeout potential. Scoop him up in dynasty leagues if you can get him cheap.
Honorable Mention: Bartolo Colon (SP, Mets) – You cannot talk about the Mets starters and not bring up Colon. He has really reinvented himself in the past few years, effectively eating innings at the back of the Mets rotation. He is 43-years-old and has next to no dynasty value moving forward, but that type of rejuvenation deserves mention.