Who Should The Mets Convert To Relievers?

By Fan Shot

November 26, 2013 8 Comments

There is perhaps one area in which the Mets can be very optimistic for the next few seasons and that is the depth of young arms that they have in the majors and upper minor leagues. The eventual debuts of Rafael Montero and Thor will likely be the biggest headlines of the upcoming season and my hope is to see them contributing to this club for a very long time.

However, the abundance of hurlers leads to a good problem for the Mets in 2015. The rotation will have 6-7 internal candidates battling for 5 slots. Additionally, there will be another half dozen pitchers that have the potential to contribute to a ML team a year from now.

This leads me to thinking, at what point do the Mets begin converting some of their Triple and Double A starters into the relievers that most of them profile to be? By my count, the Mets have 10 pitchers (organized into groups based on level and prospect potential) who would be fighting for rotation and bullpen slots during Spring Training in 2015. Of the group, Montero and Noah Syndergaard are locks to remain starters. But what about the rest? What kind of performance standards do you go by to determine if a player remains a starter or not and how long of a time frame do you allow for their performance to pan out?

Jeremy Hefner
Jenrry Mejia

Rafael Montero
Noah Syndergaard

Jacob deGrom
Cory Mazzoni

Logan Verrett
Tyler Pill
Darin Gorski
Erik Goeddel

Eventually, the organization will have to weigh the trade value of each individual vs their actual usage value and potential. If you keep everyone as a starter and three of these pitchers do well, four are mediocre and three pitch poorly in the upcoming season, you will have seven guys on the wall between AAA and the big club. A handful may be traded, or exposed to roster limit casualties or stuck in AAA while not contributing to the team in Queens whether by trade or by performance.

Due the realistic number of players that can be traded (even those not on this list) as well as the number of available roster spots on the ML team, I would be inclined to convert half of these pitchers by mid-season. Even if half of the converted pitchers are successful, you can be that much more confident that they can come out of the bullpen in the big leagues instead of attempting a transition while on the big stage. Now the question is, who do you give the bad news to and when do you do it?

  • doekie

    You might be looking at 9 MLB starters after the 2014 season. Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, Gee, Montero, Syndergaard, Mejia, Hefner and DeGrom. All 9 could be solid starters. Perhaps you can add Mazzoni, Verrett and Gorski too.

    The surplus of starters could also mean that the Mets can make some bold moves like Wheeler for Profar (or something like that). Or Montero and Mejia for a Myers kind
    of deal (remember the Rays-Royals deal last winter?)

    I would keep all starting as long as possible. A starter has sooo much more value in a trade then relievers.

  • William Li

    I am extremely excited about the starting potential that we have in 2015. However, it would be very difficult to trade away a half dozen pitchers over the next year and I would not want to count only on trades to ensure that I receive value from my players.

  • djmurphy

    wheres Matz?

  • B-Met Fan

    I would seriously consider moving Cory Mazzoni to the bullpen. I watched Mazzoni pitch for Binghamton many times this summer. I love his stuff. He has a 95 mph fast ball as an anchor pitch and developing off-speed selections. Mazzoni was downright dominant almost every time I saw him pitch for 5 of the six innings. His problem – he often had one poor inning where he would allow 3 or sometimes more runs. I always thought that fact might make him an interesting choice in the bullpen.

    It’s interesting to note that Gonzalez Germen had a mirror image during his Double-A stop in Binghamton in 2012. Two different times I watched him work he pitched perfectly through the batting order the first time only to run into difficulties during the second time through. I remember sitting there saying, “I think this kid might make a decent relief pitcher.” Germen, indeed, had a decent rookie season out of the pen this summer for the Mets.

  • William Li

    I didn’t include him as he will likely start in Binghamton. All the pitchers I listed will either start in AAA or have a shot at starting the season in AAA.

  • William Li

    Good to hear that Mazzoni has a heater and it sounds like he is a great candidate to be converted. I think he gets another half season to prove himself as a starter and unless he is dominating, he will get shifted to the pen.

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