Álvarez unloads, Keith gets more privileges at camp, and should we be worried about Carrasco?
Chris Bassitt and Francisco Álvarez shine in Thursday's games. Plus, a deeper look at Carlos Carrasco.
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
RHP Chris Bassitt threw five scoreless innings with four strikeouts and no walks in an intrasquad game on Thursday afternoon
In the same intrasquad game, RHP Carlos Carrasco did not fare as well, surrendering six runs in 3.1 — including home runs to Tomás Nido and Jose Peroza
In the Mets’ Grapefruit League game vs. the Marlins, Mark Canha and Francisco Lindor hit back to back homers in the first inning
Edwin Díaz made his spring debut and threw a perfect with two strikeouts
Buck Showalter revealed RHP Drew Smith has been slowed by a foot injury, but the righty appeared in the intrasquad game and threw well
JD Davis was hit by a pitch for the 3rd time in three Grapefruit League games
Showalter is making an effort to treat Keith Hernandez like royalty after the longtime Mets’ broadcaster was reportedly prohibited from certain areas by the previous regime. (Klapisch)
Mets No. 1 prospect Francisco Álvarez crushed a no-doubter of a home run in the 8th inning against Miami, his first of the spring
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets at Astros
Starters: RHP Tylor Megill vs. RHP Hunter Brown (0-0, 3.38 ERA)
When: 6:05 PM EST
Where to Watch: Untelevised
When do we get concerned about Carlos Carrasco?📝
In 2022, the Mets fully expect to ride what they believe will be a historically dominant rotation to an NL East division title. Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer are arguably the top two starting pitchers in the sport, and combining them on the same starting staff is a scary proposition. Throw in Chris Bassitt — acquired in a trade with Oakland a couple of weeks ago — and New York has three righties who could all be number ones on most other teams.
Provided they can get into September and October with their big three healthy, the Mets have every reason to like their chances of beating anyone in a short series. But to get to that point they will need the other 40% of their rotation to do their jobs. Right hander Taijuan Walker was an All-Star last year, pitching brilliantly in the first half. Down the stretch, though, it became clear that after throwing only 67.1 innings from 2018-20, the dramatic innings increase was just too much for his arm to handle as his second half ERA careened to 7.13. That said, heading into 2022 the Amazins’ feel confident he can get back on track moving forward.
And that leads us into the final member of New York’s projected starting five, Carlos Carrasco. The Mets acquired the veteran in the same trade that brought Lindor to Queens, and they thought they were getting a steady middle of the rotation presence. After all, the righty was coming off a 2020 season that watched him deliver a 2.91 ERA in 12 starts for Cleveland. But his first year in New York was doomed before it ever began.
A hamstring injury prevented Carrasco from making his Mets debut until the end of July, and while he was able to stay healthy and take the ball every 5th day over the season’s final two months, he was not effective.
In 12 starts for the Mets, Carrasco finished with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP, while allowing opponents to hit .272 against him and failing to strike out a hitter/inning. He served up 12 long balls in just 53.1 frames — eight of which came in the first inning. In October, Carrasco had surgery to remove a bone fragment from his elbow and entered camp raving about how much better his arm felt. The Mets, meanwhile, are willing to wipe the slate clean and chalk his struggles up to the pressure of joining a new team, the injury that kept him out most of the year, the general weirdness of a second straight season that had COVID complications. And Carrasco very well might be fine in 2022, but his first real outing of the spring yesterday was not particularly encouraging.
Pitching in an afternoon intrasquad game due to a poor forecast for later in the day, the veteran looked a lot like the Carrasco we saw last August and September. In 3.1 innings, he got hit hard for five runs, six hits and two home runs — including a three-run dinger surrendered to minor leaguer Jose Peroza. Now let’s make it clear that we shouldn’t overreact to an intrasquad game in March and Spring Training results, especially for veterans, often do not carry much weight entering the regular season. But things get magnified in this market and when it comes to players that have yet to succeed in New York, even spring training struggles can make some observers nervous.
The Mets have what should be solid rotation depth in Triple-A with David Peterson, Tylor Megill, and Jordan Yamamoto with veteran Trevor Williams likely operating as the team’s swing man at the major league level. But make no mistake, this team needs Carrasco to rebound and be a reliable back of the rotation starter for them to reach their peak potential as a team. And while the time to worry about him may not be today, it could easily arrive sooner rather than later.
Hot Stove 🔥
Veteran LHP Andrew Miller announced his retirement on Thursday (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
The Blue Jays traded OF Randal Grichuk to the Rockies in exchange for OF Raimel Tapia (MLB.com)
The Angels signed C Max Stassi to a three-year, $17.5 million contract extension (MLB Trade Rumors)
31 players — including Mets RHP Chris Bassitt — did not agree to contracts by the arbitration deadline and will go to a hearing (AP News)