It appears the Mets are done for now with adding starting pitchers. Even if they do add John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez or Chien-Ming Wang (who appears to be headed to the Nationals), they won’t be ready for Opening Day.
So that brings us to the question; who will be the Mets Opening Day number 5 starter? The candidates appear to be Jonathon Niese, Fernando Nieve, Hisanori Takahashi, Josh Fogg, Nelson Figueroa and Pat Misch.
Jonathon Niese is one of the Mets top ranked pitching prospects. He came up in 2008 briefly and struggled. He came up again this season in May and did a decent job but got sent back down to the minor were he dominated. He came back up to the majors in July to replace the injured Nieve and had two very impressive starts. He was on his way to another good start against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 5th but with 2 outs in the 2nd inning he tore his hamstring and his season was over. He had surgery and he is on pace to be ready for Spring Training.
Fernando Nieve had a similar story to Niese. He had 7 starts with the Mets and posted a 2.95 ERA. He tore a muscle in his right thigh and had surgery that kept him out for the rest of the season. Nieve should be ready for Spring Training as well.
Hisanori Takahashi was signed by the Mets today and went 10-6 with a 2.94 ERA for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan. The 35 year old left handed pitcher will be competing for a spot in the rotation and might make a strong case. I think he will start the season in the minors though.
Josh Fogg is coming off a year were he spent most of the time in the bullpen for the Colorado Rockies. He pitched in 24 games throwing 45.2 innings with a 3.74 ERA. I don’t think he will earn a spot in the rotation, but he could get one in the bullpen. I pretty much see him as a replacement for Brian Stokes.
Nelson Figueroa ended the season on a high note for the Mets and because of this he will be considered for a spot in the rotation. However, he is a streaky performer and I don’t see him winning to spot. I see him more as a spot starter when someone either gets hurt or needs a rest.
Pat Misch did a nice job for the Mets last year as a starter. In total he started 7 games with 1 complete game shutout and 4.79 ERA. He had success coming out of the bullpen as well. I think because of the Mets shortage of lefties in the bullpen he will eventually end up there.
So what do you think? Who will be the number 5 starter for the New York Mets on Opening Day 2010? Vote in the poll!