David Peterson Looks Primed to Assume Spot in Rotation
Rojas notes southpaw as being ahead in the competition down the stretch in camp
The New York Mets have a decision to make. Actually, they have a handful of decisions to make, but, ultimately, it all comes down to one guy.
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco, officially diagnosed with a Grade 1 right hamstring tear on Thursday, is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks while rehabbing.
After throwing 20 pitches in a side bullpen session on Thursday, Carrasco was injured while running sprints, telling reporters on Saturday he felt a “pop”.
A late-April return is likely the best-case scenario, but there are a lot of hurdles to clear before attempting to predict that date. Carrasco said on Saturday, “I just want to be ready to pitch,” adding, “[rehab is] gonna go day-by-day and we go from there”.
Naturally, that doesn’t bode well for the Mets. But, unlike years past, this roster is chock-full of viable depth that can theoretically carry the load while Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard (UCL surgery) prepare for their respective returns (Syndergaard’s earliest return would be in June).
We spoke this week about the importance of having a pitcher like Marcus Stroman in the mix to assume the level of production that Carrasco would have provided behind Jacob deGrom, as well as the back-end rotational depth the Mets have put together in Taijuan Walker, Joey Lucchesi, and Jordan Yamamoto.
All have performed very well this spring, as outlined in the links above, and most should all end up contributing on varying levels this season. A question most have justifiably asked this spring is where does this all leave left-hander David Peterson?
Before making his hasty MLB debut in 2020, the 25-year-old’s highest level of professional baseball was 13 starts at Double-A Binghamton in 2019 (4.19 ERA over 24 starts).
His 1.89 ERA over nine starts with Single-A Columbia the previous season gave us all a glimpse of Peterson’s potential, as did his outstanding run last season (3.44 ERA, 40 strikeouts, 24 walks, 1.21 WHIP in 49.2 IP), but it’s tough to imagine anyone had Peterson pegged for even a cup of coffee with the big club in 2020.
This spring, Peterson’s struggled to an extent. Though, as we are all well aware, spring stats don’t mean much; it’s the process that counts. In two appearances (six innings total), he’s allowed three earned runs on six hits with two walks and a punchout over six innings.
Nothing to induce the organization to begin drawing up extension papers, but, alas, the southpaw has apparently impressed the Mets enough that skipper Luis Rojas told reporters on Saturday that Peterson has a leg up in the competition for the team’s number-four spot.
Peterson spoke on Saturday about his performance and mindset going into a major league roster competition this spring.
“My goal all along has been to come in and show the coaching staff and the organization and the guys in that locker room that I’m ready to contribute again at the big league level,” he said. “The goal for me is to be in the rotation. For me, my work in spring training has been centered about being as ready as possible to go every fifth day and let the rest take care of itself.”
Lucchesi — who has minor-league options remaining, as does Yamamoto — and Peterson are the only left-handers currently jockeying for position in the starting five.
Whether Rojas employs an opener (as he’s alluded to this spring), utilizing both southpaws and Yamamoto in some fashion, or goes with a balanced rotation pushing one guy out of the picture is to be determined.
But that’s the fun of watching spring training wrap up, right? However things may shake out, the Mets hammering out these tough decisions are good problems to have.
Losing an integral cog in Carrasco certainly wasn’t on the docket, but having capable reinforcements to carry the load in his absence could end up being a godsend for this team.
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