When fans talk about the Mets, baseball’s most dynamic young pitching staff is at the forefront of the conversation. From Matt Harvey to Jacob deGrom to Noah Syndergaard to Steven Matz, four dynamic arms helped the Mets reach the World Series last October.
While it’s easy to consider the 2016 Mets possessing four—or five if Zack Wheeler returns from Tommy John surgery—aces, ESPN prospect writer Keith Law doesn’t quite put Matz on the same level as the three right-handed horses that he shared postseason glory with. The reason? Health, not stuff.
In a conference call with NJ Advance Media on Tuesday, Law explained why he had Matz ranked as the 37th best prospect in MLB and a notch below the other Mets stars.
“He just has no history of staying healthy,” Law said. “That’s why he’s below the other three currently in their rotation. Yes, deGrom and Harvey have had their Tommy John moments, but they have been durable otherwise. With Matz, it’s always something. He’s never gone past 150, 160 innings in a year, so it’s hard to say he’ll be able to become that 200-inning ace so many think he already is.
“Don’t mistake that for him not being effective, though” Law said. “I can see Matz pitching like a No. 1 or No. 2 starter when he’s actually on the mound, but delivering the value of a No. 4 or No. 5 because of the time he misses due to different ailments. It’s just tough to bet big on this kid suddenly finding health as the years go on.”
Last year, Matz made four regular season starts and three during New York’s postseason run. The 2009 second-round pick hasn’t made more than 24 starts in a season since entering the Mets organization.