In 2018, Drew Gagnon finally overcame seven long years of being stuck in the minor leagues to finally make it on to a major league roster at the age of 28. The Mets called Gagnon up on July 10 to make his MLB debut for the Mets in a spot start against the Phillies. Gagnon got the shot after several injuries ravaged the Mets’ pitching depth, and he had earned it by pitching to a respectable 4.40 ERA in 18 starts in hitter-friendly Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, Gagnon gave up six earned runs in 4.2 innings that night and was demoted shortly thereafter. He was called up again once rosters expanded in September, this time to pitch out of the bullpen. He pitched 7.1 innings in relief that month and only allowed one earned run. He finished the year with 12.0 innings pitched in the big leagues and a 5.25 ERA to show for it. He also delivered more minor league innings than any other pitcher in the entire organization by throwing 157.2 innings over 27 starts for Las Vegas, with a solid 4.57 ERA and 3.66 xFIP.
While Gagnon is certainly a feel-good story and easy to root for, it doesn’t necessarily make him a valuable asset to the Mets for this upcoming season. Gagnon was among the first cuts from major league camp last week, and the 40-man roster spot that he has held since last season is in serious jeopardy with a roster crunch on the horizon.
With the Mets adding to their pitching and infield depth throughout the offseason, they have several non-roster invitees who may warrant 40-man roster spots very soon. On the pitching side, Hector Santiago and Luis Avilan are two pitchers who have pitched well enough in camp so far to warrant breaking camp with the team, while Pete Alonso, Adeiny Hechavarria and Devin Mesoraco are all position player NRIs who could all very likely make the Opening Day 25-man roster as well.
That would be five players necessitating 40-man roster spots, and the Mets currently only have one spot open on their 40-man. So the team is likely going to make some cuts before Opening Day rolls around, and Gagnon looks like to be a possible casualty.
That said, it doesn’t necessarily mean Gagnon will be leaving the organization. If he goes unclaimed, he will likely turn out to be a stable commodity in the Syracuse rotation, just as he was for Las Vegas last year, and could be in line for another spot start or September call-up should things go awry with the Mets’ pitching depth once again.
While he’s not likely to contribute to the major league team much, if at all, this season, Gagnon provides the type of organizational depth that is standard and necessary for every team in the upper-minors, and he’s an easy guy to root for should he ever need to step in for an emergency situation.