Tom Brennan - 2017 METS STARTERS VS. 1986 AND 1969


Tom Brennan: 2017 METS STARTERS VS. 1986 and 1969

Last I checked, Mets are interested in winning a World Series this year, right?  Yep.

They were interested in 1986 and 1969, too, so interested that they DID win World Series both those years, just in case you weren't paying attention.  

They say pitching wins games.  

OK, then, how does the 2017 starting staff stack up against the starters in 1986 and 1969?  

Answer? Pretty darned well.

In 1986, the team had everything in winning 108 games: offense, defense, great relief pitching and...yes...excellent starting pitching:

DWIGHT "DOC" GOODEN: 17-6, 2.84
RON DARLING: 15-6, 2.81
BOBBY OJEDA: 18-5, 2.57
RICK AGUILERA: 10-7, 3.98

Wow, a combined 76-30!

And fourteen games were started in 1986 by others, with 12 by Rick Anderson and Big Bad Bruce Berenyi.  Those 14 starts resulted in a mid-4's ERA, so not nearly as elite as the starting 5....but not many starts, either.

In 1969, pitching and great fortune carried a team that WAS nearly 400 games below .500 in its first seven seasons to a stunning 100 win season:

JERRY KOOSMAN: 17-9, 2.28
GARY GENTRY: 13-12, 3.43
DON CARDWELL: 8-10,-3.43
JIM MCANDREW: 6-7, 3.47

A combined 73-45, largely thanks to the ice cream boys, Tom and Jerry (a combo of Tom Carvel and the #2 man in the Ben and Jerrys empire. Spoiler Alert: the writer loves ice cream, so don't let the ice cream spoil).

The Mets had 18 starts from 2 great baseball names and one more obscure one: Jack Dilauro, Tug McGraw, and Nolan Ryan.  Test yourself, and see if you pick out The obscure one.  Anyway, these 3 fellas, in starts and relief, combined for about a 2.60 ERA, so these 1969 reserve starters delivered QUALITY.


The Mets have 7 guys this year who could contribute greatly as starters, potentially as good - or better - than the above.  Health could be a hindrance, but I am cautiously optimistic the health thing will square itself away nicely.

Jake deGrom?  Could be close to Tom Seaver, circa 1969.  Make, when healthy, is great. Period.

Noah Syndergaard? Not as good as the 1985 Gooden (24-4, 1.53 is hard to match), but better than the 1986 one.

Steve Matz? Better than Bobby Ojeda, and perhaps as good as the Kooz, but Stevie Wonderful will be hard-pressed to equal those terrific 1986 and 1969 seasons by the two lefties.

Matt Harvey? As good or better than Gary Gentry's 1969, a long shot to match El Sid's 1986.  I somehow think Harvey returns to at least 2015 form after seeing the uptick in his velocity in his last start.

Zach Wheeler, Rob Gsellman, Seth Lugo (and let's throw in a few spot starts from Rafael Montero) for the "#5 and beyond" starting roles: tricky call here, given the short (but certainly excellent) histories of Lugo and the Giz, and the innings limit on comeback Zach Wheeler.
But the potential is surely there for this foursome to give them great back end of the rotation production. Montero's 20 Ks in 13 innings this spring are heartening, too.

All in all, I am not saying the 2017 starting staff will be as good as those of 1986 and 1969, but the potential is certainly there...and that is a starter for me being really excited for 2017.

You can disagree with me if you want to be wrong, but don't start up with me.

Let me add a late note....the poor performances Wednesday of Messrs. Matz and Zach may make many wax nostalgic for the 1969 and 1986 years gone by...but Lugo was better in his loss in the WBC loss, fanning 7 in his 4 innings.  Can't win them all.  And Gsellman has been amazing, with another great start Thursday.

The week's final spring starts will be fascinating to watch for these 7 guys.


Mack Ade said...

Tom -

I spend considerable time on this issue in my upcoming weekend recap.

Look, I'm a 'go with what you got' kind of manager and, right now, my four top horses are, Syndergaard, deGrom, Lugo and Gsellman.

That would leave Wheeler, Harvey, and Matz determining their fate NEXT WEEK what their opening day role will be.

Right now, I would put Wheeler in the pen And frnakly, I might leave him there. His velocity is just fine and he is far more dominant in early innings than the back end of his starts.

That leaves Matz and Harvey... and if they both throw a no hitter next week, I convert this rotation to a 6 man version

Thomas Brennan said...

Matz, to me, has to be in. 1) a Lefty 2) he was great last year until he had a potato chip in his elbow. Now that he's had it removed, and it went very well with dip, by the way, I think he will be very, very good this year.

I think Lugo heads to the pen to protect matt's ego, and Wheeler goes to extended spring...but next week's spring starts could turn all that upside down

Richard Herr said...

My two cents is: right now the five starters are Syndergaard, deGrom, Gsellman, and two other guys. Those two will have to emerge from the four-pack of Harvey, Matz, Lugo, and Wheeler.

Reese Kaplan said...

I think Harvey needs a mysterious ailment to justify extended spring training and go north with Lugo temporarily in his spot.

Gary Seagren said...

Thomas LOL my wife and I owned the Carvel in Union N.J. from 76' to 90' after growing up in Brooklyn and practically lived at our local store in season...back then they closed in the winter. To the point I agree but of course the dreaded "if their healthy" line applies here so here we are with fingers crossed and a loud LETS GO METS!!!

Eddie Corona said...

I read a years ago that Mel Stottlemyre indicate in the 86 season that they need 75 wins from their starters ... and that has to be what this team needs... Anchored by Thor and Degrom (they need to put up 32+ wins... )
Gsellman, Matz, Wheeler, Harvey and Lugo need to be able to get the balance...
But the Key is Thor and Degrom (remember the season was almost lost when degrom went down last year... Saved by Lugo and Gsellman)

Mack Ade said...

good ole Tom Carvel...

Thomas Brennan said...

I remember flying saucers at Carvels in 1959 when I was 6 were a mere 7 cents. Those were the days, my friends :)

Thomas Brennan said...

I would be STUNNED if Matz is not one of the 5 starters, so it seems between Wheeler, Lugo, and Har-ar-vey for the last spot. Iicthink Thor and Jake are locks, Gsellman is close to being one, at least for now.

Mack's Mets © 2012