The Mets seemingly sabotaged Logan Verrett's chances of a successful first MLB start. After spending the season as an on-and-off long reliever, the righty suddenly found himself making a spot start in late August. At Coors Field.
Despite getting offered as a sacrificial lamb, strategically resting Matt Harvey while saving him from the Colorado Rockies' unforgiving hitters' park, Verrett flourished. He entered with realistic expectations of lasting four or five passable innings, but he instead allowed one run over eight masterful frames, recording eight strikeouts and his first—and to date, only—major league win.
His other plug-in appearances didn't go as well, but the 25-year-old notched a 3.59 ERA, 39 strikeouts, and 15 walks in 47.2 innings. A .219 BABIP aided his debut, but a 11.6 swinging-strike percentage offers reason to believe he can stick in the bigs. While many fringe starters have enjoyed a second life in the bullpen, Verrett's strong arsenal of secondary pitches makes him better suited for a starting role.
On most teams, he would be at least be spending spring training fighting for a big league rotation spot. On a Mets squad overflowing with young power arms, he'll at best earn a long-reliever role. The more likely scenario: He opens the season in Triple-A, waiting for an injury, overflowing slate of games, or planned rest day to precipitate a promotion.
In a dream world, every Mets starter stays healthy. Then Zack Wheeler joins them, pushing Bartolo Colon into the sixth-starter, long-relief role Verrett hopes to inhabit. In this actual world, four of their five young starters have already undergone Tommy John surgery. Noah Syndergaard, along with Harvey and Jacob deGrom, surpassed previous career-highs in innings pitched before working overtime in October. Don't be surprised if the Mets need a Plan B and C at some point this season.
Verrett is a valuable luxury for the Mets to have. A solid contingency option gives them even more reason to treat any other ailments cautiously and occasionally skip a start if needed.