After their game against the Yankees in Port St. Lucie this afternoon, the Mets announced that Jacob deGrom will make his first spring training start of the year on Sunday, provided his next bullpen session goes smoothly. deGrom has been delayed a bit by lower back tightness, which didn’t prevent him from throwing over the past couple of weeks but did have the Mets dial things back a bit.
Much has been made of whether or not deGrom could start for the Mets on Opening Day, but if he’s able to start sometime in the first turn through the starting rotation, it won’t really matter much in the end. Just having him around is a significant plus for the Mets, as he was clearly the team’s most valuable pitcher last year.
In 201.1 innings, deGrom had a 3.53 ERA, which while the worst mark of his career was still quite a bit better than the league average pitcher. He and Noah Syndergaard figure to form the top of the Mets’ rotation and should be considered the sure things—as sure a thing as any pitcher can be, at least—with Jason Vargas somewhere behind them and plenty of uncertainty about just what Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, and Seth Lugo can do as starting pitchers.