Developing Young Pitching Is The New Mets Model

An article by posted on October 15, 2013

John Harper pens a piece in Saturday’s New York Daily News urging the Mets to stay with the concept of rebuilding around their young pitching corps. It’s Harper’s contention that the stunning performance of so many young pitching gun’s in this fall’s post season has fortified the Met front office belief that they need to be extraordinarily careful in considering trading any of their young pitchers. I certainly hope Harper’s assertion is right.

Harper quoted an unnamed Met source as saying, “You just look at the way the game is going with all these young, power arms having such an impact at this time of the year, and it makes you feel good about where we’re going.”

Those young arms are guys like the Cardinals 22-year old Michael Wacha or 23-year old guns like Shelby Miller of the Cardinals, Sonny Gray of the A’s, or Gerrit Cole of the Pirates.

According to Harper, baseball people believe young arms are the ticket in a baseball world moving from ‘juiced up‘ to ‘juicing down.‘ As more and more teams lock up talent preventing marquee players from reaching free agency, young power arms are more valued baseball pieces.

That line of thought drives the Mets rebuild plan. Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia, Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, Cory Mazzoni, Jacob deGrom are just some of the young Met arms in the mix to help them rise again. And, this unnamed Met source cautions Harper that this fall’s lessons extend beyond a teams starting pitching rotation.

“We feel like our young pitching is going to be capable of doing some big things for us, and we have to be careful about not trading any of it away. Because it’s not only about having the starters – look at the Cardinals, with all those young guns in the bullpen, too. Every guy comes out of the bullpen throwing 97-98, and that’s a big part of why they’re there, too.”

I understand the Met caution that comes with maximizing a young pitchers potential longevity with the organization by maxing their time in the minor leagues. Part of the front office risk should include trying some of these young arms earlier. Look at Wacha who was only drafted last year and is already making a name in the major leagues.

The excitement of elevating some of our young arms to the big league roster, especially in 2014 without Harvey, could turn into more on the field baseball success, the turnstiles at Citi Field might actually start turning again, and ultimately more money could find its way into the Met coffers. Forget the chase for some veteran arms on the open market to join the 2014 rotation. Use some young arms. Spend the available resources on securing more punch in the batting lineup.

If a young guy proves to have the talent as a fixture on the Met pitching staff, we should be doing what other teams have done, inking those guys to extensions before they head to the open market.

Whatever the course of action, the stockpile of young Met pitching arms Harper talks about in his column continue to bring a groundswell of baseball optimism to me, and I would hope a more promising baseball outlook for most Met fans.

About the Author ()

MMO Minor League Analyst John Bernhardt is a retired public school teacher and administrator, who still coaches high school baseball. Growing up in a Yankees household, Bernhardt was an ardent Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra fan. When the Yankees fired Yogi in his first season as the Bomber manager, curiosity turned to passion when the Mets signed Berra as a player/coach and he has pulled for the Mets ever since. In retirement, John writes the sports for a local weekly, The Catskill Mountain News and hosts Tip-Off, a Friday morning sports hour, from 8:00-9:00 on WIOX, 91.3 F.M.

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