For the past three years, we have heard nothing but amazing predictions about the young power arms of the New York Mets. We were told by all the experts how Matt Harvey was the second coming of Tom Seaver, Jacob deGrom was going to be a twenty game winner, Steven Matz would be the next Cole Hamels, Noah Syndergaard would be a multi Cy Young winner and Zack Wheeler would be the best No. 5 man in baseball.
Harvey is now 28 years old and when healthy is at best a mediocre number three or four in the rotation starter. Twenty-eight-year-old deGrom has been solid when healthy. Twenty-five-year-old Matz has yet to have a full season without an extended stay on the DL. Twenty-four-year old Syndergaard has been a true Cy Young candidate for the first month of the season until he ended up on the disabled list for who knows how long and 26 year-old Wheeler has only 311.2 innings pitched the major leagues since 2013 because of his arm surgery.
All the talk about the best pitching staff in baseball or the best young arms on one team have yet to materialize for the Mets and their loyal fans. They are still young by old major league standards but the way teams, fans and owners think today, they will soon run out of patience with these young studs. Soon the Mets will lose the “Young Strong Arms” label for their rotation. They are still young arms. But strong? Sure they all throw hard but If health of an arm is included in the formula, then we can eliminate strong from the title.
John Smoltz threw hard, but the rest of that great rotation of Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux did not. It’s not all about a strong arm. Smoltz also recently stated that he was allowed to take his lumps and be 2-11 at one point in his young career and how that would never happen today. We see teams rush young kids up, only to see them falter and then ride the frequent flyer program back and forth to the minors. Why not leave them down in the minors a little longer? A place where they can develop more of the skills needed to be real major leaguers. When Asdrubal Cabrera went down last night, there was talk on the airwaves of: “Maybe it is time to bring up 21 year-old Amed Rosario.” What’s the big rush?
I believe the Mets, as well as other teams, have rushed their talented young players up too soon. They have the tools to play in the big leagues, but I believe there is something else missing. What they lack is a part of the game that goes back to Babe Ruth’s time. Baseball is a slow process of gathering skills. Young men need to learn from people, who have spent many years of their lives on how to be big leaguers. Some are quick learners and others need more days in the classroom.
Harvey and Syndergaard have shown a lack of respect to the people in the media, unless it is ESPN, FOX or the MLB network, and have put themselves on a high pedestal. When you put yourself up that high, it’s a long way down when you fall. Right now these guys are teetering on the edge and I don’t see them checking to see if their parachutes are on correctly. These young talented players have been allowed to run wild like a bunch of teens when their parents are out of town.
The Mets have done a great job of finding and developing young pitchers. Maybe they need to have them learn more about social skills and team play than the grip on a slider.