If everything had gone according to plan for the Mets last year, Gabriel Ynoa might not have pitched in the big leagues. It certainly wasn’t that he didn’t deserve a shot after pitching well in Triple-A Las Vegas, but the Mets were pretty far down their depth chart for pitchers when they got to the point that Ynoa was starting games in mid-to-late September as the Mets tried to secure a Wild Card spot.
Ynoa began the season in Vegas, coming off a decent season with Double-A Binghamton in 2015 that saw him finish with a 3.90 ERA. In a much tougher environment for pitchers, he managed to put together a 3.97 ERA in 154.1 innings in the Vegas rotation. He got called up for the first time in mid-August, and he made three relief appearances for the Mets before being sent back to Vegas for a couple of starts—a pair of scoreless eight-inning outings—and brought back to the Mets in early September as rosters expanded.
From there, Ynoa made three starts and three appearances out of the bullpen, and the major league results were decidedly mixed. He threw a total of 18.1 innings in the majors and had a 6.38 ERA, which was very far from ideal. He struck out 8.35 batters per nine over that tiny sample, a rate that far exceeded any of the rates he had posted in the minors and probably won’t sustain itself at baseball’s highest level going forward. But thanks to that strikeout rate, an average-ish walk rate, and the fact that he didn’t allow any home runs, Ynoa had a 2.60 FIP.
This year, the same could probably be said of Ynoa’s status and the Mets’ depth chart as last year. If everything goes according to plan—especially if that plan includes the acquisition of any of the remaining free agent relief pitchers—Ynoa might not see much time with the Mets. But with the some major league experience under his belt and the realities of health over the course of a 162-game season, perhaps he’ll get a longer look in the bigs than he did last year.