Since 2015, The Mets have been patiently waiting for the potential of Steven Matz to blossom. And he has shown flashes of brilliance but 2 things have stepped in the way of that evolution; Durability and that one bad inning that transforms some of his starts into poor performances because he could never stop the bleeding in that one troublesome frame.
I think he has cured the durability issue as in the last seasons Matz has pitched full seasons with no health interruptions. However, his overall numbers in those 2 seasons were substandard as he has allowed 4 earned runs or so in every nine innings he has worked in and that one bad inning albatross is the biggest reason why his ERA has inflated to unacceptable levels.
Midway through last season, I saw a change in that trend as Matz began to limit the damage and really stayed focus on the hill. Today, I watched him pitch in a simulated game at CitiField and his command was outstanding. His pitches had superior late movement and his mound presence gave us a look at what Matz could do.
His performance even caught the eye of Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom who called it “the best I have ever seen him pitch.”
With the loss of Noah Syndergaard many experts are wondering when the #2 starter behind deGrom would appear. Most have said that it would be Marcus Stroman whom I think has excellent stuff but do not rule out Matz. He has arrived on the scene with a purposeful plan. He does not want the word “potential” to remain the way he is described. And he has taken the important first steps in removing that adjective from his resume.
In the NL East, there is so many bats from the left side to contend with and right now Matz is the team’s only southpaw starting pitcher. So, the importance of Steven Matz can not be overstated. And he seems ready to accept the challenge of bringing his career to the next level.