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Handicapping The Mets 5th Spot In The Rotation By Rich Coutinho Met Beat Reporter @NYEXTRA.com

When you look at the Met starting rotation clearly Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker are rounding into shape nicely but there are some other real questions as Luis Rojas puts his rotation together.

First of all the health of Carlos Carrasco as the Met had some soreness in his pitching elbow last week but he seems to be once again on track to start the season on time. Met manager Luis Rojas said, “I like his optimism that he’s going to be there at the start of the season and I will always trust his optimism and his experience.”

So assuming deGrom, Stroman , Walker and Carrasco form the first quartet of pitchers in the rotation lets look at that last spot. I really believe David Peterson showed enough last season to command that #5 spot in the rotation. In 2020, he made 9 regular season starts and held a 3.44 ERA coupled with 40 strikeouts in 49.2 innings. But more than that, he showed the poise of a veteran making big pitches in key situations all year long.

But he has struggled some in spring training opening the door for others including Joey Lucchesi who pitched well today here in Jupiter hurling 3 scoreless innings giving up only a walk and hit while striking out 4 showing good command. Jordan Yammamoto has also impressed holding a 1,08 ERA over 8.1 innings of grapefruit action .

So this trio of pitchers–Peterson, Yamamoto, and Lucchesi are all competing for that one spot and as I have said all winter, I really believe Peterson gets that spot. But this is a fierce race and if Carrasco’s elbow soreness resurfaces or worsens 2 of these hurlers could take spots 4 and 5. And even if Carrasco is ready the depth this group gives the Mets could be key if injuries or pitching slumps surface which often times occur in a long 162 game season.

” Competition is tough in camp”, said Rojas, “and this will be a tough decision”. And if you gave Rojas truth serum I am sure he wants his decision to be tough because it reaffirms the notion that the Mets have plenty of depth. The next 2 weeks will tell us the answers at least in the short term but I still believe if Carrasco is healthy the smart money is on David Peterson.

I say that because Peterson showed in the 2020 truncated season that he can take the ball every fifth day and give the Mets extended innings of solid work. But I also see that same skill from Lucchesi who is intent on showing the world what he can do when he said today, “You can never be too content and you’ve got to be better because this game is a jungle, so working hard is key. You can’t get lazy and I always try to just get better and nitpick what I can from each outing.”

But nothing has been decided yet so stay tuned Met fans.

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