David Peterson makes early case for Mets rotation spot

PORT ST. LUCIE — David Peterson needs to be thought of the favourite for the fifth spot within the Mets’ rotation primarily based on his strong rookie season, however each spring camp wants job competitors.

On Thursday, the left-hander took a strong preliminary step in claiming the job by pitching two shutout innings within the Mets’ 8-Four exhibition victory over the Nationals at Clover Park. Peterson allowed one hit within the 26-pitch outing and likewise plunked Kyle Schwarber within the first inning.

“It’s good to get into camp and face guys and all that, however when you begin to get into video games and face guys in a special jersey, that’s when it begins to get enjoyable,” Peterson mentioned. “I felt good about what I did as we speak.”

An afterthought when spring coaching started final 12 months — he had by no means pitched above Double-A Binghamton — Peterson’s inventory rose in summer season camp. He grew to become a wanted part to the rotation after Noah Syndergaard underwent Tommy John surgical procedure and Marcus Stroman tore a calf in summer season camp earlier than finally opting out from the season.

Peterson, the group’s first decide within the 2017 draft, thanked the Mets for the chance by going 6-2 with a 3.44 ERA and 1.208 WHIP in 10 appearances for the workforce. However that wasn’t sufficient at hand him a job coming into spring coaching.

David Peterson is hoping to win a spot in the Mets rotation
David Peterson is hoping to win a spot within the Mets rotation.
Corey Sipkin

“We have now acquired to concentrate to the current occasions, so what’s going on now has to issue into the ultimate choice,” supervisor Luis Rojas mentioned. “Clearly we do consider what occurred final 12 months, understanding that the expertise and the texture is there, the whole lot is there. However what we see now understanding that we have now depth with guys in camp, we all know that we are able to have a bit competitors.”

That competitors contains one other lefty, Joey Lucchesi, who arrived in a three-way commerce with the Padres and Pirates. One other pitcher with main league expertise, Jordan Yamamoto, arrived in a commerce with the Marlins.

All are preventing for a spot behind Jacob deGrom, Stroman, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker. The Mets are hopeful Syndergaard can return in June from his rehab to supply one other high-octane arm.

“I got here in and had a gathering with Louie, and he laid it out for me and mentioned he needed to see me compete,” Peterson mentioned. “I instructed him I used to be prepared to return into camp and combat for a spot, and that has been the purpose. I wish to be serving to the workforce win each 5 days, and that’s what I got here to do, so that’s what I’m targeted on.”

Peterson, Lucchesi and Yamamoto are equal within the sense that every one have minor league choices accessible. There may be additionally the chance Rojas may make use of an opener within the rotation to pitch forward of whomever is chosen.

Rojas admits there’s “nice worth” in having a lefty within the rotation, but additionally famous Lucchesi suits that description. However Rojas appreciated what he noticed from Peterson on this preliminary begin.

“There have been a few shut pitches he didn’t get within the first inning, however he battled them,” Rojas mentioned. “That was an actual good outing for him, going out and throwing strikes.”

The problem for Peterson might be engaged on areas of enchancment whereas not shedding sight of the job competitors.

“I focus extra on the place I can get higher, the place I can enhance, than messing with issues,” Peterson mentioned. “On the finish of the day, after I go on the market and pitch in a recreation, it’s about competing and getting guys out and doing my job, and that’s the mindset I introduced into camp.”