Let’s get this out of the way first…
That the Mets will enter the 2022 season with Jacob deGrom on the IL because of a shoulder injury — with deGrom possibly out until around June 1 — is distressing and certainly casts a pall over Opening Day.
Some Mets fans are incredibly concerned, which is understandable. Fandom is emotional and at times irrational. And Mets fans are also scarred by recent seasons that have been derailed by injuries, including 2021. But what the Mets are going through now is not a nightmare, and the sky is not falling.
The sky certainly could fall. But that is the case for every team in the sport with the exception of perhaps the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose depth is laughably good.
It should also be noted that when it comes to the Mets’ ideal 28-man roster, they are expected to enter the season with 27 of the 28 players who were initially projected to be on it. The only one missing will be deGrom.
Now, when it comes to the Mets and the current state of the rotation, nuance is needed — as is a look back at what happened last season (especially in the second half) and why this season is different.
Had Scherzer not been briefly bothered by a hamstring issue that was always viewed as minor, odds are that the level of concern right now among fans would not be nearly as high as it is. And with Scherzer now expected to pitch Friday, it appears that issue is about to be behind him if it isn’t already.
As far as Walker, he said Tuesday that the knee issue he’s dealing with is a result of lots of recent work on his mechanics/lower half. And he expects to make his first regular season start as scheduled.
Aside from the recent hysteria over Scherzer and Walker, there was some shouting about the Mets potentially resorting to a bullpen game on Opening Day (something they’re not going to do). But even if they had decided to, it wouldn’t have been because of a lack of depth. It would’ve been done to keep everyone on schedule.
Speaking of the Mets’ starting pitching depth, here’s what it currently looks like:
That’s a lot different than lat season.
Carrasco of course missed the first four months of last season, while Peterson missed the last three months. Megill was an afterthought until midseason, and Williams was a trade deadline acquisition.
Are there concerns about some of the above pitchers? Sure. But again, you can find concerns with pretty much any team in the league except the Dodgers.
For a reminder of the starting pitching mess the Mets found themselves in last year — especially in the second half — let’s take a look at some of the pitchers who started games for them (not including the bullpen games):
To reiterate: The beginning of this season is not the second half of last season. That’s not only because of Scherzer, but because of Bassitt, who will for now slide into the No. 2 spot behind Scherzer with deGrom out.
For the first six-to-eight weeks of the season, the Mets will have Scherzer and Bassitt atop the rotation instead of deGrom and Scherzer. And as is noted above, the depth behind the top two is a hell of a lot better this season than it was last season.
The enormous question mark obviously revolves around deGrom. Specifically, when will he return and what kind of production can be expected when he’s back?
SNY spoke with a sports surgeon to get insight on deGrom’s injury and prognosis, and the main takeaways from the surgeon were that a full recovery was “by far the most likely outcome” and that deGrom’s velocity and command should be unaffected.
In the unthinkable scenario where deGrom doesn’t make it back this season, the Mets will very likely turn to the trade market for reinforcements.
But for right now, the Mets are just fine in the starting rotation. And even without deGrom at the moment, they still have what it takes to be highly competitive in what should be a very tough NL East.
Source: Yahoo Sports