Tylor Megill Looks to Be a Keeper
Quiet, confident consistency should keep the rookie righty in the Mets' mix
These Metsies are coming together. Again.
Following a turnaround series win in Cincinnati this week, the Mets opened a three-game set against the rapidly drifting but Very Talented Blue Jays on Friday with one of their more pleasant surprises of the 2021 season, Tylor Megill, on the hill.
Heading into the night against a Toronto lineup littered with land mines in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, et al, Megill had arguably his toughest test in the majors on the docket.
The rookie righty turning in six scoreless in the Mets’ 3-0 win with five strikeouts and just three baserunners (two hits and a walk; 78 pitches) on his card is a pretty solid indicator of a passing grade on that exam.
“Just attack the strike zone with all three of my pitches,” Megill said after the game about his approach against this treacherous group. “I had them on their toes trying to pick out what kind of pitch to sit on and whatnot and being able to execute all three pitches.”
This is true. He certainly had them guessing. And with good reason.
Megill’s slider has held batters to a .133 batting average against with a 29.8% whiff rate this season. His swing-and-miss rate on the changeup is at 37.9%, and Megill’s fastball, in particular, has been an absolute weapon over his first six outings.
Over 305 four-seamer’s thrown by the 25-year-old, he’s picked up 58 called strikes. That’s gonna play.
When hitters are watching 19 percent of the heaters they see go by (pitches that every hitter from Little League on is taught to attack), it’s clear that whatever game plan Mets pitching coaches Jeremy Hefner and Jeremy Accardo have been building is working.
Through his first six MLB starts, Megill has a 2.10 ERA. Per Sarah Langs of MLB.com, that puts him among some fairly lofty company.
Oh, and Megill also notched his first major league hit off none other than former Mets mainstay Steven Matz in the fifth. Talk about a cherry on top!
The Citi Field crowd gave Megill a standing ovation for his efforts, though the right-hander admitted he didn’t realize what was happening for a second as he “blacked out” after making it to first. Ah, to be young.
After the game, Mets manager Luis Rojas had nothing but praise for Megill’s performance thus far.
“It started him joining us with the need that we had, and then it went from one good start to another good start,” Rojas said. “How consistent his poise, his demeanor’s been on the mound, how calm he is just to get through tough lineups.”
“This guy is here and he’s here to stay,” he said. “He’s put us in a position to win a lot of games already.”
That consistency goes a long way. On Friday, with a fully-rested bullpen at his disposal, Rojas had the luxury of pulling Megill after six and tabbing Seth Lugo, Trevor May, and Edwin Diaz take things home.
The Mets’ trio of back-end relievers allowed one hit between them, striking out four on just 36 pitches total over three scoreless innings.
May needed nine pitches to retire the Jays in a perfect eighth and Diaz — shaky of late — got back on the good foot with a 10-pitch effort in a clean ninth.
Bichette and Guerrero made extremely solid contact against Diaz (97.3 MPH and 106.5 MPH exit velocities, respectively) but, last I checked, hard-hit outs still count.
Plus, those two are frozen rope manufacturers. Keeping them in the park will suffice.
Pete Alonso’s two home runs powered the offensive side — Alonso’s 15 home runs since returning from the IL May 31 are fifth in MLB — but it wasn’t simply a polar bear show on Friday in Flushing.
Luis Guillorme (up to .300/.417/.360 on the year) went 1-for-3, as did Brandon Nimmo, and J.D. Davis, who also made a terrific play at third base early in the game (an obligatory nod to Michael Conforto’s web gem in right field, as well).
Team effort, all the way. We love that.
The Mets head into Saturday four games up on the Phillies in the NL East, five games up on Atlanta, and the Nats have drifted back seven. Onward and upward.
The Mets take on the Jays on Saturday night. Taijuan Walker and Hyun Jin Ryu will square off at 7:10 PM on WPIX and WCBS 880 AM.
We’ll leave you with Alonso going 450 feet into the 400 section in center field last night. Because… Meat. Good times. LFGM.
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