Buying or Selling Mets' Biggest Breakout Players in 2022 Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2022

Buying or Selling Mets' Biggest Breakout Players in 2022 Season

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    The New York Mets had a busy offseason, making a number of splashy additions on the free-agent market, including signing veteran Max Scherzer to a record-setting contract.

    However, it's right-hander Tylor Megill who has been the team's best starting pitcher in the early going, while outfielder Mark Canha has been just as impactful as any of the team's other offseason additions. Meanwhile, the emergence of right-hander Drew Smith as a lockdown reliever has helped transform the bullpen.

    But are they for real?

    Ahead, we've given our take on whether to buy or sell those early performances based on previous track record and advanced metrics.

LF Mark Canha

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    With his terrific on-base skills and solid outfield defense, Mark Canha showed enough during his time with the Oakland Athletics to secure a two-year, $26.5 million deal from the Mets in free agency this past offseason.

    He has taken his offensive game to another level in the early going this year, hitting .338 with a .405 on-base percentage over his first 74 plate appearances, and his 144 OPS+ trails only Jeff McNeil (170) for the team lead.

    However, his batted-ball data is not pretty.

    He ranks in the 19th percentile in average exit velocity, the 12th percentile in hard-hit rate, and the 8th percentile in barrel rate, and his .280 expected batting average is probably a better indication of what to expect going forward.

    In other words, he's more than capable of living up to his contract, but he's also playing over his head a bit right now.

    Verdict: Sell

SP Tylor Megill

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    When Jacob deGrom landed on the injured list just before the start of the season, it not only opened the door for Tylor Megill to start the year in the MLB rotation, but he ended up being the team's Opening Day starter.

    The towering 6'7" right-hander was a pleasant surprise as a rookie last season, posting a 4.52 ERA in 89.2 innings over 18 starts after injuries opened the door for him to make his big league debut, and now he's looking more and more like a potential long-term rotation piece.

    The 26-year-old is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and a 27-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 28 innings, and his 2.72 FIP is a promising indication that his early success has not been the result of good luck.

    He will need to continue refining his changeup as a third offering alongside his mid-90s fastball and plus slider, but all signs point to him occupying a spot on the staff for the foreseeable future.

    Verdict: Buy

RP Drew Smith

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    The addition of a slider during the offseason has transformed Drew Smith into one of the best relievers in baseball, at least based on the early returns here in 2022.

    According to Baseball Savant, he didn't throw a single slider last year, but now he's throwing the pitch 31.4 percent of the time in support of his mid-90s fastball.

    The new breaking ball has accounted for 11 of his 15 strikeouts, and he has worked 11.1 scoreless innings on the year, allowing just four hits and five walks while posting a 34.9 percent strikeout rate. He also has seven holds and has quickly emerged as the go-to setup man for closer Edwin Diaz.

    Every year, there are a handful of pitchers who emerge on the strength of a reworked repertoire or a new pitch, and Smith is shaping up to be one of the headliners here in 2022.

    Verdict: Buy


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through Tuesday's games.