Now that the 2013 season has concluded, Mets 101 will be taking a look at how the New York Mets performed in the 2013 season. Over the next three days we will look at how the offense, starting pitching, and bullpen performed over the course of the season. Today we will look at the Mets' starting pitching staff, arguably the team's strength.
After we took a look at the Mets' offense yesterday, today the Mets 101 staff takes a look at how the club's starting pitching performed during the 2013 season. The Mets' starters were the backbone of the team's success in 2013, anchored by the emergence of Matt Harvey as a bona fide ace. The Team went through a lot of starters due to injury, and each of them had a unique story for the season. In this review, we will take a look at how the starters performed and what to expect out of the rotation going forward.
Dillon Gee: Gee nearly got himself bounced out of the rotation in May after a terrible start to the season, but a 12 strikeout performance against the New York Yankees got his season on track. Gee was the only member of the Opening Day rotation to last the entire season, and he was the team's second best starting pitcher after Matt Harvey. Gee went 12-11 with a 3.62 ERA in 199 innings pitched. Gee's ERA is impressive considering that it was near seven by the end of May. Gee posted a 2.74 ERA after the All Star Break, establishing himself as a big part of the Mets' rotation in 2014 (assuming he isn't traded over the winter).
Aaron Harang: Harang was a late addition to the Mets' organization, signing a minor league deal in September after spending time with the Seattle Mariners earlier in the year. Harang pitched for Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League playoffs before joining the Mets for the last few weeks of the season to essentially eat innings. Harang was surprisingly effective even though his won-loss record did not reflect that. Harang was 0-1 with the Mets, but he pitched to a 3.52 ERA and struck out 26 batters in 23 innings pitched. Harang is a free agent after the year, but he could be brought back to compete for a starting job out of spring training.
Matt Harvey: Harvey entered the season expected to slide into the number four slot in the starting rotation, but the loss of Johan Santana and Shaun Marcum to injuries forced Harvey into the top half of the rotation. Harvey immediately excelled, dominating the National League and taking the city by storm. Harvey had a spectacular first half and earned the start in the All Star Game at Citi Field, which would be the highlight of the year for the Mets. Harvey continued to pitch well after the break, but a rough outing against the Detroit Tigers led to Harvey complaining about some tightness in his elbow. An MRI revealed that Harvey had suffered a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament, an injury that ended his season after 26 starts and that could force him to undergo Tommy John surgery. Harvey finished the 2013 season with a 9-5 record while posting a 2.27 ERA and striking out 191 batters in 178.1 innings pitched. Harvey is currently trying a throwing program to see if he can avoid surgery and pitch for the Mets in 2014, but his status for next season is up in the air at the moment.
Jeremy Hefner: Hefner was expected to be the swingman for the Mets before Santana's injury forced him into the starting rotation. Hefner, like Gee, struggled out of the gate but managed to right the ship by June. Hefner was strong for the Mets in the last month and a half before the All Star Break, but got whacked around to the tune of a 9.13 ERA in five starts. Hefner was placed on the disabled list before an MRI revealed that he had suffered a torn UCL in his pitching elbow. Unlike Harvey, Hefner's tear required immediate surgery. Hefner finished the 2013 season with a 4-8 record and a 4.34 ERA in 23 starts. Hefner will likely miss the entire 2014 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
Aaron Laffey: A forgettable Met, Aaron Laffey was actually the team's fifth starter back in April. Laffey was in the Mets' rotation while Shaun Marcum worked his way back from a neck injury and was absolutely dreadful. Laffey got knocked around in both of his starts and pitched to a 7.20 ERA in 10 innings as a Met. Laffey was designated for assignment after Marcum's return from the disabled list and pitched for three other organizations in 2013.
Shaun Marcum: Marcum was the team's biggest free agent acquisition last winter, signing a one year deal worth five million dollars to help fill some of the innings R.A. Dickey left behind. Marcum started the year on the disabled list with a neck injury and was completely ineffective upon his return. Marcum went 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA in 12 starts for the Mets and was likely about to lose his job in the rotation before he was lost for the season with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Marcum was waived by the Mets afterwards to clear a 40 man roster spot, and his other notable moment came when he called out SNY's Ron Darling for criticizing Frank Francisco's decision to hit Jayson Werth with a pitch.
Daisuke Matsuzaka: The Mets added Dice-K in late August after the right hander got his release from the Cleveland Indians' farm system. Matsuzaka was signed to eat innings and couldn't do that in his first couple of starts, getting tattooed by the Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Atlanta Braves in consecutive outings. After being threatened with losing his spot, Matsuzaka managed to turn his year around, going 3-0 in his last four starts and giving the Mets quality innings each time. Matsuzaka finished the year 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA and struck out 33 batters in 38 innings pitched. Dice-K is a free agent after the season and, like Harang, could re-sign with the Mets to compete for a fifth starter's role next spring.
Jenrry Mejia: Jenrry Mejia got hurt in spring training and appeared to be an afterthought for the suddenly pitching rich Mets. Mejia quietly worked his way back from a sore elbow and got promoted to the major leagues to pitch in the first half of a double header with the Washington Nationals. Mejia dominated the game and earned a place in the Mets' rotation. Mejia, who was the organization's top pitching prospect at one point, made four more starts and pitched really well before being forced to leave an outing against the San Diego Padres with elbow pain. Mejia finished his year with a 1-2 record and a 2.30 ERA in 27.1 innings pitched before undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow. Mejia is expected to compete for a role in the starting rotation in spring training unless he is dealt in an offseason deal.
Collin McHugh: The dearly departed McHugh lost a lot of his luster with the Mets in 2013. After failing to make the team out of camp, McHugh resurfaced for a couple of relief outings before getting a spot start on June 1st against the Miami Marlins. McHugh got shelled, and would never pitch for the Mets again. McHugh was designated for assignment on June 15th so the Mets could bring Carlos Torres to the major leagues. McHugh was then dealt to the Colorado Rockies in a deal that netted Eric Young Jr, which will probably end up making McHugh the answer to a trivia question if Young goes on to do big things for the Mets.
Jonathon Niese: Niese entered 2013 as the Mets' Opening Day starter and de facto ace following Johan Santana's injury. Niese quickly ceded the role of ace to the emerging Matt Harvey and was pitching pretty well until mid-May, when he started to struggle mightily. Niese was eventually placed on the disabled list in June with a partially torn rotator cuff, an injury that was initially expected to sideline him for the remainder of the season. Niese was able to rehab the injury and made his way back to the majors in August, where he was able to finish out the season. Niese went 8-8 with a 3.71 ERA in 24 starts for the Mets, but he will need to step up once again in 2014 with Matt Harvey's presence in doubt. Niese is also the only pitcher with a long term contract, adding pressure to assume the role of staff ace once again.
Carlos Torres: Torres nearly made the Mets out of spring training before spending the first two and a half months of the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. With Torres likely to opt out of his contract in mid-June, the Mets promoted him to the major leagues. Torres initially filled in the bullpen before making a spot start for Harvey in Pittsburgh. Torres pitched well there and filled in the rotation again until Jon Niese returned. Torres was set to pitch out of the bullpen once again until Harvey's injury allowed him to finish the season in the rotation. Torres made nine starts for the Mets and went 4-6 with a 3.44 ERA in 86.1 innings pitched. Torres will likely be back in 2014 and could be a member of the rotation, but the Mets clearly prefer him to fill the swingman role that Hefner maintained prior to his injury.
Zack Wheeler: Wheeler's arrival in the major league rotation was highly anticipated, and the moment of truth came June 18th in a doubleheader against the Braves. After Harvey dominated the day portion, Wheeler pitched a strong outing in the night cap to mark his arrival in the bigs. Wheeler struggled in his next several turns, but managed to get into a groove after the All Star Break. Wheeler showed flashes of the pitcher the Mets hope he can become, going 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 100 innings pitched for the Mets. Wheeler was shut down with a week left in the season due to minor soreness in his pitching shoulder, but he and the Mets have indicated it is nothing to be concerned about. With Harvey's uncertain status next season, Wheeler will likely be forced to assume a bigger role than anticipated.
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