Is Steven Matz the New York Mets' Secret Weapon or Weak Link?
Steven Matz might have not secured the win in the Mets' historic 8-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night, but he pitched 4.2 successful innings.
He only allowed four hits, one earned run, and one walk.
Relative to the other studs that the Mets put up on the mound, he doesn't look that good on paper in the postseason.
Simpy put, Matz seems like the odd man left out some of the main categories which serve to demonstrate a pitcher's efficiency. Of course, none of the sample sizes are huge, but that also stretches back to the regular season.
Over 191.0 regular season innings, Jacob deGrom posted an xFIP of 2.92. Matt Harvey's was 3.24 over 189.1 innings, and Noah Syndergaard held a 2.91 xFIP over 150.0 innings. Matz, over 35.2 innings, owned an xFIP of 3.56, highest of the four.
In terms of ERA, Matz (2.27) looked to be the best of the group compared to deGrom (2.54), Harvey (2.71), and Syndergaard (3.24), but his advanced marks suggest he was worse than his ERA indicates.
Additionally, Matz lacks the velocity of his pitching peers.
So is Matz just a bottom of the totem pole pitcher who gives the Mets' main aces some much needed rest, or does he actually add value to the their already dominant pitching lineup?
A primary indication of his efficiency as a pitcher able to grind out tough innings are his batted ball statistics. The data below suggests that he is not necessarily an overpowering pitcher.
But, he can get the job done by forcing a substantial amount of groundouts and keeping the ball in the park, and we've seen how important ground ball numbers can be this postseason.
Matz (45.5%) owned a similar ground ball rate to deGrom (44.4%), Harvey (46.0%), and Syndergaard (46.5%) in the regular season, and if he continues to keep the ball on the ground, he can have an impact for the Mets.
Matz is not the most overpowering on the Mets' lineup going into the World Series -- nobody would argue that -- but he can get the job done, and as a southpaw, he diversifies the pitching rotation.