However, Matz has looked dreadful in his first two starts this spring as he has allowed 10 runs in only 1.2 innings pitched while walking four batters and only striking out one batter.
Another thing not working in his favor is the nice start of one pitcher deemed earlier in the spring as likely heading to the minors, Seth Lugo.
The righty has only allowed two runs in 8.1 innings (three appearances) pitched while walking only one batter and striking out six.
While it is Spring Training, Lugo seems to really be mixing in all of his four of his pitches very well while hitting 94 MPH on his fastball a few times yesterday, which is close to what it would be at its peak.
There is a lot more time this spring for the situation to change, but so far Lugo has outperformed all of the starters that could potentially take Matz’s spot.
Zack Wheeler has pitched well, but struggled with control somewhat as he threw two wild pitches in his last outing. Robert Gsellman looked good in his first outing, but then surrendered three runs in the next one.
Would the Mets actually give the spot to Lugo over Matz though?
That’s tough to tell at this point. The Mets keep giving off the impression that they are not concerned about Matz’s struggles thus far.
Despite this, it is hard to imagine that they would actually let Matz start the season in the rotation if he keeps pitching the way he has.
Not only are the results not there, but his stuff just looks very ordinary and hittable right now.
If the decision to replace him was based on merit it would go to Lugo. While they could simply just choose to put Wheeler back in the rotation, Lugo is the most deserving at the moment.
Last season, the Lugo went 7-5 with a 4.71 ERA, 1.372 WHIP, 3.95 FIP, 85 strikeouts in 101.1 innings pitched. That stat line was very unimpressive to go along with a diminished fastball.
However, the 28-year old is only a year removed from going 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA, 1.094 WHIP, 4.33 FIP, 45 strikeouts in 64 innings.
Even if you believe that Lugo is closer to the 2017 version of himself, he actually was the most successful of the three starters last year.
Matz posted a 6.08 ERA, 5.02 FIP and 1.530 WHIP. In 66.2 innings he struck out 48 and walked 19 in 13 starts.
Wheeler pitched to a 3-7 record with a 5.21 ERA, 5.03 FIP, 1.587 WHIP and 81 ERA+ over 86.1 innings last year.
If Matz figures things out that would obviously be great for this team. The more talented the options for the rotation are, the better. If the options continue to pitch in similar trends to what they have early in Spring Training, though, Lugo should be the one joining the rotation.