Thursday, March 11, 2021

Surviving Carlos Carrasco's Sore Elbow

An old baseball adage is that you can never have too much pitching. This spring, it didn't take the New York Mets very long to prove the wisdom of this saying. Now likely to begin the season without Seth Lugo, one of their best relievers, and Carlos Carrasco, their #2 starter, the depth the Mets put together this winter is already being tested. Fortunately, the Mets seem in a pretty good position to survive these setbacks. Not that it's ever ideal to lose key contributors for any length of time, but having a deep and flexible pool of pitching to draw from is going to be a key for any team hoping to make some waves in 2021.

I wrote yesterday about the depth in bullpen arms. The Mets also run 8 pitchers deep in starters who have enjoyed some Major League success and are already on the 40-man roster: Jacob deGrom, Carrasco, Marcus Stroman, Taijuan WalkerDavid Peterson, Joey LucchesiJordan Yamamoto, and Robert Gsellman.  And, of course, a strong return by Noah Syndergaard in June would really add quality to all of this depth.

Obviously, you wouldn't have the same confidence in Gsellman starting a game as you would with Carlos Carrasco. That's not the point. The point is having starters available who potentially can pitch well enough to keep you in a game and give your team a chance to win. In previous years we've seen too many games that were essentially over by the third inning because the replacement starter brought up from the minors wasn't good enough to at least compete.

Even off the 40-man roster, some pitchers might potentially contribute something. Of the group slated to begin the season at the alternate site and eventually be on the Triple-A roster, Jerad EickhoffHarol GonzalezMike Montgomery, and Corey Oswalt could conceivably help. However, it's nice not to be hanging my hopes on anyone in that group. In previous years pitchers like that would have likely been competing for the fifth starter slot. Now they comprise the very deepest of the pitching depth.

I hope that Carlos Carrasco doesn't miss too many early-season starts, but it helps that both Stroman and Taijuan Walker have looked really good in their early outings, and deGrom still looks like deGrom. The Mets are well set up for Carrasco to miss a start or two. It might even work out as a bit of a positive for Carrasco to get a slightly late start in a season where many teams will be utilizing different techniques to limit starters' innings.

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If you've been reading my stuff for a while, you've likely caught on to the fact that the direction the club takes in scouting and development is important to me. I really enjoyed the great piece by Doug M. over at MetsMinors.net, detailing some of the ongoing changes in Player Development. 

While Fred and Jeff Wilpon were notoriously difficult to convince that investment in new technologies was money well spent, the Steve Cohen-owned club is getting deeply involved in putting together something special for Mets prospects. For instance:

[New Rookie League pitching coordinator Carter] Capps will be creating a pitching "academy" of sorts at the Mets' Port St. Lucie minor league complex, mimicking what the Mets are doing down at their complex in the Dominican Republic. The goal is to create a continuum of instruction for the Mets young pitchers arriving in the United States from the Dominican, with a focus on using data and technology to grow and mold their arsenals. Bringing in a coach with Capp's resume to accomplish this, is the exact thing you want for reasons discussed in further depth here.

The Mets are doing equally exciting things for their young hitters, too. I enjoyed reading about all of it in Doug's excellent piece. I couldn't recommend it more highly if, like me, you're interested in learning more about what Cohen is investing in to make the Mets more competitive and keep them there.

Okay, that will do it for today. Thanks for stopping by. Please stay safe, be well, and take care.


 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos.

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