Rafael Montero was predictably awful again Monday night against the Nationals, and after the game manager Terry Collins said that he will not start again the next time his turn comes in the rotation. With Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom still hurting, though inching closer to returning, the Mets are left with three choices on their 40-man roster to take over until one, or both, are healthy again.
Option 1: Logan Verrett
For nearly the first three-quarters of the season, before the rotation was thrashed by injuries and the Las Vegas cavalry took over, the Mets only used six starting pitchers. The Opening Day rotation stayed largely intact until mid-August—Matt Harvey's surgery the notable exception—and whenever something came up—be it a bone spur or rib removal—Verrett filled in with a spot start.
That changed after Verrett tossed two straight terrible starts against the Tigers and Padres last month. In 6.1 combined innings Verrett allowed 13 hits and 14 earned runs, which earned him a demotion to Vegas before rosters expanded. In 12 starts with the Mets this season, Verrett has a 6.45 ERA and 1.62 WHIP—numbers that don’t inspire confidence—and failed to reach the fifth inning in four of those starts.
Verrett will likely be the Mets’ choice to fill in for Montero if only because he has the most MLB experience in the role—he’s logged 82.1 innings as a starter over the past two seasons. However, his struggles eating innings in 2016 may be a concern, even though the Mets are carrying extra relievers thanks to September baseball.
Option 2: Sean Gilmartin
As a Rule 5 pick before the 2015 season, Gilmartin performed beyond anyone’s expectations in the Mets’ run to the World Series. Though he had reverse lefty-righty splits, Gilmartin managed a solid 2.67 ERA (and a 2.75 FIP) in 57.1 innings last season, including a spot start after the Mets had clinched the NL East. He only faced two batters in the playoffs, but retired them both.
Gilmartin has not had the same success in 2016, to say the least. He has been up and down from Vegas all season, and has struggled both in the Pacific Coast League and the majors. In 107.1 innings in Triple-A this season, almost all as a starter, Gilmartin’s ERA was an ugly 4.86, and his WHIP was similarly bad at 1.43. Yes, Las Vegas is the worst environment for pitchers in professional baseball, but Gilmartin’s numbers were even worse in his smaller major league sample size.
Though perhaps it may be time to give Sean Gil-money another shot. All nine of the earned runs he’s given up in the majors this season have come in just four of the 15 innings he’s pitched. If Terry Collins wants to ride the "hot hand" strategy, then Gilmartin will be the choice.
Option 3: Gabriel Ynoa
On the surface, Ynoa appears to be a solid innings-eating presence in Las Vegas this year, especially considering the hitter-friendly environment. He made 25 starts for the 51s and had a 3.97 ERA, and he didn’t see a huge increase in home runs when he was promoted from Binghamton. Those numbers are deceiving, however.
His FIP at Triple-A was nearly a full run higher at 4.87, and he walked more batters in the minors this season than in any other year of his professional baseball career. He was never a big strikeout pitcher in the minors, but his 2016 K:BB ratio of 1.95 was also a career worst. And in his limited relief work with the Mets, Ynoa has allowed nine hits and nine earned runs in just 5.1 innings.
Ynoa may be the Mets' choice to take over for Montero, but it would be extremely surprising if he was chosen over both Verrett and Gilmartin.