GREAT YOUNG STARTERS IN METS' HISTORY - Tom Brennan
As we ponder entering the playoffs on Friday, we are already reminded that 2015 is the Year of the Starting Pitcher.
· 20 game winners Dallas Keuchel and Jake Arrieta toss shutouts in the two wild card contests.
Not to be outdone:
· The Dodgers are bringing two greats at the Mets: Clayton Kershaw and Zach Grienke.
· We counter with 3 stellar laser-equipped starters in Jake deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Noah Syndergaard.
So how do the latter 3 compare to Mets rookie starting pitchers of yore. Well, on Tuesday I posted on this site a comparison between Noah S. and Doc Gooden over similar periods in their rookie years...performances virtually identical.
Of course, over the next one and a quarter seasons, spanning late 1984 and early 1985, Doc went on an unparalleled 32-5 run with an ERA of about a buck and a half. Stunning.
In the following comparison of Mets rookie pitchers over their first 2 years, Gooden is the clear gold standard, despite tough competition
Doc went a ridiculous 41-13 those 2 seasons. ERA of about 2.00, a few dozen CG (complete games), 11 SO (shutouts), around 550 Ks. Not only the best in Mets history...the best for a guy who'd not yet turned 21 in baseball history. So Doc over 2 years is #1 on the list. Ended up 194-112, 3.51 for his career.
From here on out, it gets tougher. But my rules are, if a guy had a short cup of coffee in the bigs, I count that along with their first 2 years. Which especially makes sense in Harvey's case.
#2 - Jerry Koosman - after a shaky cup of coffee in late 1967, Kooz went 36-23 through 1969, with a jaw dropping 33 CG and 13 SO, with a skimpy 2.33 ERA (2.18 in his 2 full years of 1968-69). He struck out 369 in those first 527 IP. A very fine 19 year major league career that saw him as both a 20 game winner and a 20 game loser, due to poor run support).
#3 - Tom Seaver - pitching for the Mets in 2 offense-starved years, Seaver went 32-25 with a 2.47 ERA over 529 IP, with a whopping 32 CG and 7 SO, and 375 Ks, and rookie of the year honors in 1967. That Cy Young 1969 season was a true sign that Tom Terrific would one day make the Hall of Fame, ending up with a career record of 311-205, 231 CG, 61 SO, and 3640 strikeouts. Maybe 400 wins if he pitched for the Reds his whole career. Wow.
#4 - Jake deGrom and Matt Harvey - take your pick. A tie:
- #4a deGrom in about 1 3/4 seasons in 2014 and 2015 has gone an amazing 23-14, 2.61 over 52 starts, no complete games (it ain't the late 1960s anymore) and a sizzling 349 Ks in 331 IP.
- #4b - Matt Harvey has been terrific and the media should cool it. He has gone 25-18, due to lots of crappy run support, in 65 starts spanning his short 2012 debut, his spectacular injury shortened 2013, and his return in 2015. He has put up a sparkling 2.53 ERA, 429 Ks in 427 IP, and 1 SO. It would be a Dark Night in Gotham without him.
#6 – Another Mat, Jon Matlack, a very fine lefty, went 29-29 in 1971-73 (oh, that lousy offense), with 22 CG, 7 SO, 2.85 ERA, and 398 Ks in 523 IP.
#7 - the Darling of the broadcast booth, Ron Darling, went 29-18 in his first 2+ years in the promising mid-1980s,489 IP, 326 K, 3.27 ERA. He finished his career with a fine 136-116 record and nearly 1600 K's.
#8 - Zach Wheeler - get well soon. In 2013 and 2014, he went 18-16 (yep, lack of offensive support) with an ERA of 3.50 and a terrific 271 Ks in 285 IP.
#9 - another mid 1980's daling, El Sid, Sid Fernandez....in 42 starts, spanning 266 innings, Sid struck out a terrific 251 batters, 3.11 ERA, and went 15-16. He ended up a fine 114-96, 3.36, with 1743 Ks in 1866 IP.
#10 goes to Gary Gentry, another of the late 1960s / early 1970s stud arms. He went 22-21, 3.53 with 288 Ks in 422 IP. Weaver and Koosman were a tough act to follow then. But Gentry was fine in his own right those first 2 years.
I was going to stop at 10 but added one more.
#11 - Dillon Gee - yes, the man the Mets just released makes the list. Dillon, like Matt H, had a short initial season, with one of his next two seasons curtailed by injury. So combining those 2+ years into effectively about 2 full seasons, Dillon was thrillin' with a combined record of 21-15, ERA of about 4.00 over 304 IP, and 231 Ks. He was hurt by allowing 32 long balls over that stretch, hence the higher ERA.
The latter 2 most likely will be supplanted by 2017 by Noah Syndergaard and Steve Matz, two terrific up-and-comers who have combined tossed about a full season. A fine full season.
That's my list. Thirteen guys in 3 time clusters, with a lot of lean years in between.
Good to see that 5 of the 13 names mentioned will start for the Mets in 2016. Did I forget anyone? Have a great day, today, and especially tomorrow for game 1.