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2017 Mets Season Review: Chris Flexen wasn’t ready for the show

The youngster should not have seen as much time in the rotation as he did, and he’ll head back to the drawing board in 2018.

New York Mets v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

In late July, when the Mets unexpectedly called up Chris Flexen all the way from Double-A Binghamton, there was hope that he could give the major league rotation some solid innings that it was lacking due to another injury for Zack Wheeler and ineffectiveness from Tyler Pill.

The Mets would probably have been better off sticking with Pill or someone else with more high-level baseball experience. Flexen didn’t look ready for the big leagues when he allowed four runs in three innings during his debut at San Diego, and he didn’t show much improvement as the season progressed.

Even in his best start of the year — a six-inning, two-run effort against Arizona on August 23 — the California native walked four batters and ran his pitch count past 100. Walks and wasted pitches would be a theme for Flexen despite his excellent control at St. Lucie and Binghamton earlier in the year. In 48 major league innings, he walked 35 batters compared to 36 strikeouts and finished with a 7.88 ERA after pitching out of the bullpen for most of September. It also didn’t help that Flexen was prone to the home run ball, giving up 11 of them, which put him on a 200-inning pace of over 40.

In a nutshell, Flexen wasn’t ready for the big leagues in 2017. He was thrown in the deep end right away, and he could have used some water wings. However, the 23-year-old still has some potential based on how he looked in the minors before the big call-up. Not every prospect is going to excel in his first tour of the majors, so fans should look for Flexen to reestablish himself as a solid control pitcher at Double-A in 2018.