Weeks before the 2015 MLB officially kicks off, the New York Mets have already suffered a couple blows to their pitching staff. On the heels of of lefty reliever Josh Edgin’s announcement of Tommy John surgery and subsequently missing this season, it appears 24 year old Zack Wheeler will also undergo season-ending surgery.
The New York Mets are no stranger to Tommy John surgery, with phenom Matt Harvey missing all of the 2014 season after blowing out his elbow at the end of the previous season. Now, teammates Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin are set to miss the entire season before even stepping onto the field in the regular season.
Edgin, 28, slotted in as the Mets’ top left-handed reliever this season. Last year, Edgin had an insane 1.32 ERA in 47 games played. Albeit this was in only 27.1 innings pitched, but Edgin was lights out when called upon last year. The Mets were definitely counting on Edgin to be an anchor in their bullpen this season, and will definitely miss his production as the top option against left-handed batters.
While Edgin will be missed, he has a smaller workload to replace. The Mets are more affected by the recent MRI results of starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, indicating he will likely undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2015 season.
Wheeler, acquired from the San Francisco Giants in the Carlos Beltran trade, has been a steady, young, developing player for the Mets over the past two years. In total, he has compiled an 18-16 record and 3.50 career ERA. The 24-year-old started 32 games last season and seems to have nowhere to go but up in terms of development.
Wheeler headlined a trio of young pitchers atop the Mets rotation, joined by Matt Harvey and the electric Jacob DeGrom. Together, the three created one of the most exciting young pitching combinations in major league baseball. Wheeler is still young, set to turn 25 over the course of the season, so he will have time to bounce back. It’s still tough to see him go down though, and it’s always possible an injury like this hinders his long-term growth.
While Wheeler’s season-ending surgery is a tough pill to swallow for the Mets and their fanbase, it isn’t the end of hope for this season, as the Mets have pretty adequate pitching depth. Waved around as trade bait for most of the offseason, Dillon Gee now looks to fit nicely in the back-end of the Mets rotation. Considering Gee was the Mets’ opening day starter just a year ago, he’s definitely not a bad option in the rotation’s latter half.
Gee has spent his entire five year career with the Mets, and while never dominant has proved himself a serviceable starter nonetheless. His best production in a full season came in 2013, where Gee went 12-11 with a 3.62 ERA. Gee also enjoyed success in 2011, where he compiled a 13-6 record despite a higher 4.43 ERA.
The Mets starting rotation looks to contain Matt Harvey, Bartolo Colon, Jonathon Niese, Jacob DeGrom and Dillon Gee at this moment in time. On paper this is still an above average rotation, it just misses some of the flare that Wheeler would’ve brought to the table.
What does this pair of injuries mean for the Mets this season? While their losses hurt, the Mets seem poised to try to replace their production. The rest of the bullpen will have to step up, especially as they were counting on Gee to open the season in the bullpen. And in the starting rotation, Gee will have to be at least solid to soften the blow of Wheeler’s absence.
The Mets are still a team on the rise and one that could very well make its way into the playoffs this season. In the end, Edgin and Wheeler’s injuries may cost the Mets a couple close wins. If the rest of the rotation produces and the Mets can find some timely offense, they should be just fine heading into an important year for the franchise.