This one is for more obvious reasons than Kilome. Steven Matz time to step it up starts in spring. It should have already started with him working to regain his form. Matz is owed $5.1 million via a deal to avoid arbitration earlier this off-season. However, the contract is in jeopardy if the Mets decide to move on from him before March 17th. They will only owe Matz 816k if they release him before that date. If Matz makes the squad, a good season gets him a better contract in free agency next off-season. Money is not the only reason to step it up for Matz. He is fighting for a rotation spot in his home town team. A good season, will regain his value and solidify a rotation spot for the Mets or another team in 2021. Time to step it up Matz!
Matz 2020 was dreadful in every way. He didn’t provide innings and he gave up tons of runs. A 9.68 ERA over 30.2 innings isn’t going to cut it and his statcast below shows his struggles. A lot of hard hit contact, bad barrel percentage and expected slash lines. There isn’t anything good to say about Matz in 2020.
In 2019, Matz was solid with a 4.21 ERA. That’s isn’t great but will do for a fifth starter. He still allowed a lot of hard hit contact and his expected slash lines weren’t great. However, his run prevention wasn’t as bad.
The main difference with Matz in those two seasons was his success with the curveball. In 2019 his expected slash line was .178/.236/.315. That jumped to a .265/.311/.527 in 2020. Overall his other pitches didn’t increase as much in expected slash line, other than the slugging percentage on the sinker.
This could mean Matz lost the feeling for an important pitch in his arsenal, the curve. It doesn’t show in his spin rate, however, his exit velo against went up and his whiff rate went down.
This screams to me that Matz was predictable or maybe tipping his pitches when throwing the curve. Still something that the Mets should look hard on with Hefner, McCann and the front office/coaching staff.
The Mets will give Matz every opportunity to win the job and be the fifth starter. It’s up to him to step it up!
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