The Mets have several exciting young arms in their stable, including a couple of the nominees for the Piazza for Best Starting Pitcher. The rotation as a whole was slightly below average (105 ERA-, 106 FIP-, where a number above 100 is below average). However, that includes starts from pitchers who either won't be around next season or who will instead be in the bullpen. There is reason to be excited about the rotation both for next season and beyond. Today, I think everyone has a strong guess as to who will take home the hardware.
The nominees for Best Starting Pitcher are:
Bartolo Colon: It wasn't a disappointing season for Colon, but he didn't match his performance in Oakland from 2012-2013. His 4.09 ERA wasn't very good for a pitcher in this run-scoring environment. However, his peripherals suggested he may have deserved better. His K/BB ratio of 5.03 was tops in the rotation, and he walked just 30 batters in 202.1 innings pitched. Colon gets bonus points for entertainment value. His double against the Cardinals in June was one of the highlights of the season.
Jacob deGrom: deGrom already won the Piazza for Best Rookie, and he's the favorite to win for Best Starting Pitcher. He's got the stats to win the award, and the stuff to make you believe he can be just as good (or better) in 2015. Let's hope his impending nuptials don't have the same impact on his performance as they did on David Wright's.*
*I am not actually worried about this.
Jon Niese: Niese has been around long enough that it feels strange including him among the Mets' impressive young arms, but he's only about a year-and-a-half older than deGrom. He had a classic boring-but-useful Jon Niese season: about average overall, and certainly worth his team-friendly price tag. Trading him this offseason might make sense, but I prefer to keep him around as the token lefty in the rotation.
Zack Wheeler: Wheeler improved his strikeout, walk, and groundball rates in 2014 as compared to 2013. Those are the three big categories, so it's safe to call his 2014 season encouraging, but not quite great. Fewer walks and lower pitch counts would help; easier said than done. Wheeler was probably the second- or third-best Mets starting pitcher this season, but if he can make an even bigger jump in 2015 than he did in 2014, he has a shot at being the best.
And the Piazza for Best Starting Pitcher, in another unanimous vote, goes to...
Jacob deGrom! Jacob couldn't make it today, so we set up this cardboard silhouette to stand in for him.
Here is how everyone voted:
|Aaron Yorke||Jacob deGrom||Zack Wheeler||Bartolo Colon|
|Andrew Cohen||Jacob deGrom||Zack Wheeler||Bartolo Colon|
|Chris McShane||Jacob deGrom||Zack Wheeler||Jon Niese|
|Chris Strohmaier||Jacob deGrom||Bartolo Colon||Zack Wheeler|
|Colby Conetta||Jacob deGrom||Zack Wheeler||Bartolo Colon|
|Eric Simon||Jacob deGrom||Zack Wheeler||Bartolo Colon|
|James Kannengieser||Jacob deGrom||Jon Niese||Zack Wheeler|
|Jeffrey Litt||Jacob deGrom||Zack Wheeler||Bartolo Colon|
|Jeffrey Paternostro||Jacob deGrom||Jon Niese||Zack Wheeler|
|Joseph Wolkin||Jacob deGrom||Jon Niese||Zack Wheeler|
|Matthew Callan||Jacob deGrom||Zack Wheeler||Bartolo Colon|
|Michael Avallone||Jacob deGrom||Zack Wheeler||Bartolo Colon|
|Nicholas Walsh||Jacob deGrom||Zack Wheeler||Bartolo Colon|
|Scot Cohen||Jacob deGrom||Zack Wheeler||Bartolo Colon|
|Steven Schreiber||Jacob deGrom||Zack Wheeler||Jon Niese|
|Sydney Hunte||Jacob deGrom||Zack Wheeler||Bartolo Colon|
And here is the final vote tally, using a 3-2-1 points system:
Now it's your turn to vote. We'll summarize the community awards in a post at the conclusion of The Piazzas.