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Carlos Carrasco is an important piece of the Mets’ rotation

The Mets’ third-oldest starter at the age of 36, Carrasco will look to anchor the back end of the 2023 rotation.

Miami Marlins v New York Mets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Oftentimes a forgotten piece of the trade that brought Francisco Lindor to the Mets ahead of the 2021 season, Carlos Carrasco had a very solid 2022 season after missing much of 2021 due to a hamstring injury. When he did pitch in 2021, he was very ineffective, leaving plenty of question marks going into last season.

Carrasco answered those questions, making 29 starts and pitching 152 innings, with an ERA just under 4 and a FIP of 3.53. His consistency and reliability was much needed for the Mets, as their rotation was oftentimes in flux due to the injuries of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, as well as Tylor Megill.

Heading into 2023, Carrasco’s health is just as important as last year. With the top of the rotation anchored by two future Hall of Famer’s who are closer to the end of their careers than the start in Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, Carrasco will need to give the Mets reliable innings once again. The injury to Jose Quintana, who is not expected back until midseason, further drives home the need for Carrasco to stay healthy this year and be a solid end of the rotation starter.

For this season, Fangraph’s projects Carrasco to pitch 108 innings across 22 starts, with a FIP of 4.24 and ERA of 4.35. At age 36, it’s entirely possible that is the total amount of innings Carrasco throws, especially considering the 150+ innings he threw last year was the most he had thrown since 2018. It remains to be seen how his arm responds to pitching again this year after putting much more mileage on his arm than he had in recent years.

If Carrasco is able to replicate much of success he had last season, while staying healthy, the Mets should complete at the top of the NL East in part to their strong pitching staff, especially the back half of it. However, if he does get hurt for an extended period of time, it could test the pitching depth of the Mets, leading way to pitchers like Joey Lucchesi to step in his absence.