The Mets entered 2017 with a deep and healthy rotation. It was so deep, in fact, that it didn’t look like the team would have room in the five-man unit for useful arms like Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo. However, Mets fans have learned to expect the worst, and that’s why not everyone is surprised that the team is turning to Rafael Montero to fill in after just one month of baseball. He’ll make his first start of 2017 on Friday night against Miami.
Montero will be taking the spot of Noah Syndergaard, who will be out for multiple months due to a lat tear that he suffered on Sunday in Washington. Although Montero was formerly a promising pitching prospect who was just as highly touted as Jacob deGrom, his career has not quite measured up to that of our floppy-haired hero. In three spot starts last year, Montero combined to pitch just 11 innings with nine strikeouts, a whopping 14 walks, and a 7.36 ERA. Pitching out of the bullpen did not serve better, as he finished the season with an 8.05 ERA overall in 19 big league innings.
This season, the Mets were hoping that Montero could be an asset as a relief pitcher, but all he’s done is allow eight runs in six-and-two-thirds frames with more walks than innings pitched. Needless to say, it will be a pleasant surprise if he’s able to throw a quality start on Friday.
Syndergaard is expected to miss a lot of time, the Mets might not be stuck with Montero in the rotation for the duration of the ace’s absence. Lugo and Steven Matz have been making progress in their recovery from injuries and should be ready for action sometime before the All-Star break.