Multiple reports are suggesting that Zack Wheeler will be a part of the Mets’ starting rotation at the start of the year, joining Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom, Matt Harvey and Robert Gsellman.
Wheeler hasn’t pitched in more than two years after having Tommy John Surgery, and he has really opened eyes this spring, not only with his velocity, but his effectiveness as well. The decision to put him in the rotation was clearly influenced by the unavailability of lefty Steven Matz, who’s MRI came back negative on his pitching elbow. He will be shut down for three weeks and will begin the season on the Disabled List.
There’s pros and cons to Wheeler joining the rotation. The Mets need to be careful. Wheeler is facing a strict innings limit as he makes his way back, so the bullpen will likely be relied upon, at least in the early going. If Wheeler needs a rest, guys like Seth Lugo and Rafael Montero would likely see a spot start or do. Even though Montero has been better than expected this spring, my money’s on Lugo to get the first call if Wheeler needs a blow. The odds are that both of them will get a shot at some point. Speaking of odds, the odds for betting on this game can be found here.
Obviously, it’s exciting to see Wheeler back. His stuff is undeniable. The concern with him has always been injury-related, so if he can stay on the field, the Mets have yet another young weapon to join Syndergaard and DeGrom, as well as a hopefully-effective Harvey.
As for the rest of the roster, there are many established definites. The lineup will likely be Reyes, Cabrera, Cespedes, Granderson, Walker, Bruce, Duda and D’Arnaud. The bench will be Renee Rivera, T.J. Rivera, Michael Conforto, Wilmer Flores, Ty Kelly. Bullpen will be Reed, Robles, Blevins, Smoker, Edgin and Salas. One of Seth Lugo and Montero will get the final spot.
These guys join Syndergaard, DeGrom, Harvey, Wheeler and Gsellman.
The opening week pitching lineup looks like this:
So what can we expect from this team in 2017? It depends on the health of the rotation. Jeurys Familia will be back after a 15-game suspension, so the bullpen will get better early on. If they combine solid starting pitching with timely hitting and an effective bullpen, there’s no reason why 2017 can’t be a special season for the New York Mets.
Are you ready for some baseball? I sure am.