Predicting the New York Mets' 2013 Starting Rotation

Michael DeSantis@@dtrain2495Senior Analyst ISeptember 5, 2012

Predicting the New York Mets' 2013 Starting Rotation

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    Starting pitching has always been a strong suit of the New York Mets. After injuries to players like Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee this season, the Mets will look to have an even bigger pool of starting pitchers to sift through next season.

    Players that will be in the mix for starting jobs in 2013 will include Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Collin McHugh, Chris Young, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner and maybe Mike Pelfrey.

    Out of these arms, five will be in the rotation for the Mets next season.

1. R.A. Dickey

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    2012 Stats: 17 wins, 2.63 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 190 K

    It looks like there's a new ace in town. In his chase for 20 wins, R.A. Dickey is putting up Cy Young-caliber numbers.

    He's been a fantastic story for the team this season. With his wicked knuckle ball and deceptive pitching style, Dickey has exactly what it takes to be the team's full-fledged ace as he's proven this season.

    If all goes well, Dickey should certainly be the Mets' No.1 starter next year, no question.

    Fans, let's all hope a contract extension gets done between Dickey and the Mets.

2. Johan Santana

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    2012 Season Stats: 6 Wins, 4.85 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 111 K

    2012 was all going so well for Johan Santana, the ace who came back from an injury-plagued 2011. Right up until he threw the first no-hitter in Mets history, that is.

    Terry Collins' fear of Santana suffering after throwing over 130 pitches in that game has been realized.

    Santana simply hasn't been the same pitcher since and has been shut down for the remainder of 2012.

    If Santana can get back on track by Spring, it's hard to say Collins won't put him near the front of the rotation in 2013.

    We'll all have to hope Johan can return to form and be an anchor behind Dickey next season.

3. Matt Harvey

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    2012 Season Stats (With Mets): 3 Wins, 2.76 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 49 K

    The above stats don't include tonight's game.

    In the limited amount of starts he's had with the Mets this season, Matt Harvey has been exceptional. He has the most strikeouts by a Met ever in his debut, with 11 against the Diamondbacks.

    With limited MLB experience so far, unless Harvey flops in Spring Training, he should be able to be the third or at least fourth starter for the Mets.

    Harvey has a wicked fastball, with speed ranging from low to high 90s. His slider and curveball are also deadly secondary pitches.

    Harvey will one day be one of the top pitchers for the Mets, so the third spot would be a good start in his first full season.

4. Jon Niese

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    2012 Stats: 10 W, 3.55 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 138 K

    In a season where inconsistency has been a problem for Jon Niese, his stats show the good outweighed the bad.

    The young 25-year-old pitcher has put up some very good numbers in 2012 and should be able to improve on them next season.

    What I really like about Niese are his cutter and his wicked curve ball. His finesse style of pitching is a great complement to Harvey's power pitching.

5. Zack Wheeler

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    2012 Stats (All Minor League): 12 W, 3.26 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 148 K

    Zack Wheeler has unlimited potential and can very well be the Mets' future ace. Harvey will challenge him for that though.

    He's a strikeout king, averaging just under one per inning.

    If Wheeler has a good Spring, he has a good shot to join the Mets' 2013 pitching rotation. He may need to settle for the fifth starter, as it will be his rookie year.

    He'll benefit from playing with his buddy Harvey and by learning from a guy like Santana. So far, Wheeler's earned at least a good look next season.

6. Just Missed

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    With so many good candidates, there are some players that might just miss the cut.

    The Mets shouldn't bother re-signing Mike Pelfrey anymore, they have a deep enough starting-pitcher pool.

    Dillon Gee just missed the list and could be possible trade bait for the Mets. Chris Young doesn't compare to these guys.

    Jenrry Mejia might get in the mix but the controversy over whether he should be a starter or reliever makes it uncertain.

    Collin McHugh was another just miss and could be a future fixture in the rotation. He and Gee might fight for a spot if someone goes down to injury.

    To round it out, I'm not sure if Jeurys Familia is ready for the majors just yet, but he can steal a spot in the rotation if he's impressive in the Spring.

7. Conclusion

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    If my predictions come true, the Mets starting rotation will look like this in 2013.

    1. R.A. Dickey
    2. Johan Santana
    3. Matt Harvey
    4. Jon Niese
    5. Zack Wheeler

    The Mets will have great diversity in their rotation. The unorthodox knuckle-baller Dickey, the wry veteran Santana, the cannon-armed Harvey, finesse pitcher Niese and lastly, the other flamethrower, Zack Wheeler.

    To throw it out there, the rotation follows a pattern of righty-lefty. That will throw off a lot of teams, forcing managers to mix and match their lineups on a daily basis when facing the Mets.

    This rotation isn't set in stone, but the Mets will be in good hands on the mound next season.