Steven Matz, LHP
Player Data: Age: 27, B/T: R/L
Primary Stats: 30 G/30 GS, 154 IP, 152 K, 3.97 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 7.8 H/9, 1.46 HR/9, 2.62 SO/W
Advanced Stats: 1.7 bWAR, 0.8 fWAR, 4.62 FIP/4.13 xFIP, 93 ERA+
Free Agency: 2022
2019 Salary: first-year arbitration eligible
An ERA that’s bordering 4 isn’t exactly great, but it was a step in the right direction for Steven Matz. His 3.97 ERA in 2018 was a huge improvement from when he posted 6.08 in 2017 and he’s shown signs that he can do even better in the future, especially because of how well he pitched in his last nine starts (3.11 ERA).
Matz began the month of August with an ERA of 4.60 and slowly worked it down over the course of his final nine starts. He closed out the month giving up no more than three runs in eight straight starts. He posted a 2.44 ERA and a 10.28 K/9 during that span. If it wasn’t for one terrible in July, his season would have been much better. On July 31st against the Nationals, he gave up seven earned runs while recording just two outs.
If you take out just that one bad start, his ERA drops to 3.58, and he begins to look a lot like David Price. The only issue with Matz was that he failed to go deep in games. He made 30 starts and failed to go four innings on five occasions and went six innings or more less than half the time. Even during his hot streak at the end of the season, he averaged roughly 5.2 innings per start.
The home run ball was a big issue for Matz in 2018, his 1.5 HR/9 was the 11th highest for starters with at least 150 innings pitched.
If Matz wants to have a good 2019 campaign, he’s going to have to find a way to stay in games longer and limit the long ball. Over the course of the season, Matz averaged 17.5 pitches per inning. Zack Wheeler averaged 15.8, Noah Sydnergaard averaged 15.6, and Jacob deGrom averaged 14.8. Even Matt Harvey and Jason Vargas averaged fewer pitches per inning. This means that even on days that Matz pitched well, he couldn’t go deep into games.
Matz is likely penciled in as the Mets No. 4 starter behind the three aces. It will be important for Matz to stay healthy and give the Mets quality innings given their lack of depth behind him for starters.