Last night, the Mets made a trade for 33-year-old right-handed starting pitcher Chris Bassitt, significantly bolstering their rotation for the 2022 season. At the moment, Bassitt is the team’s third-best starter, which is pretty incredible given how well he’s pitched in recent seasons.
Atop the Mets’ rotation are, of course, multiple-Cy Young winners Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, both of whom are among the very best pitchers on the planet. Among starting pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings since the beginning of the 2019 season, deGrom leads all of baseball with a 2.08 ERA, while Scherzer ranks eighth with a 2.86 ERA. Both pitchers were particularly dominant last year, racking up strikeouts and limiting walks while looking about as good as they ever have. If there’s a knock on the duo, it’s that neither one pitched a full season last year, with deGrom missing the second half of the season and Scherzer making 30 starts. Still, there is no better one-two punch in baseball than the one the Mets have right now.
While Bassitt hasn’t quite matched the performance of those two pitchers, he has been very good over the same span of time, as he holds a 3.31 ERA that ranks 27th in baseball out of the 203 pitchers who meet the criteria mentioned above. And if we trim the time span down to just the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Bassitt looks even better, ranking 11th with a 2.90 ERA—and deGrom and Scherzer still ranking first and eighth, respectively. While the appeal of deGrom and Scherzer as a pair is obvious, Bassitt gives the Mets a better number three starters than most teams are able to slot in as their number two pitcher or ace.
From there, the rotation still has some question marks. Taijuan Walker was a revelation in the first half of the 2021 season, but he faded significantly down the stretch. That’s more than understandable given that he had only throw a total of 67.1 innings from 2018 through 2020 before giving the Mets 159.0 innings last year. He finished the year with a 4.47 ERA, but he doesn’t have to match his excellent 2.66 ERA from the first half of the 2021 season to be a solid number four starter.
And in the fifth slot, the Mets have Carlos Carrasco, who a little over one year ago was a pitcher who looked just about as appealing as Bassitt does today. But injuries delayed his season significantly, and when he returned, Carrasco was brutal, racking up a 6.04 ERA in twelve starts. He’ll turn 35 this month, which is to say that it doesn’t seem age has caught up to him just yet. A very good pitcher throughout his career, there’s a chance he can regain at least some of his previous form. Like Walker, the Mets won’t need him to be as good as he was at his best, but they will need him to pitch better than he did last year.
Should injuries or performance issues arise during the season, the Mets’ depth looks pretty solid. Trevor Williams, Tylor Megill, and David Peterson are owners of the following ERAs, respectively: 4.42, 4.52, and 4.64. None of those numbers jump off the page, obviously, but that level of performance works at the back of a major league rotation. Those arms are cromulent enough that the Mets could consider using six starting pitchers at the beginning of the year, but if they stick with five, they’ll all serve as depth.
There are other pitchers in the organization who might get starts at the major league level, including Jordan Yamamoto, who missed most of last year but has already thrown in spring training for the Mets.
Even if the Mets are done making additions to their rotation, it figures to be a significant strength this year. That’s not an entirely new concept, as the Mets’ rotation has been a strength in years past, too, but this group should be very good and very fun to watch.