The news surrounding Jacob deGrom's elbow has seemed sketchy from the start. Now we finally have some answers. deGrom was diagnosed with a partial UCL tear earlier in the summer, so it wasn't just inflammation. The ligament is now "fully healed," but I'm still concerned. #Mets
— Inside Injuries (@InsideInjuries) September 8, 2021
He is currently in the flat-ground throwing phase, and is not allowed to perform mound work until at least the middle of the month.
Given the fact that he will need to clear some hurdles (bullpen, batting practice, etc.) and then stretch out to return as a starter, he may not have enough time to do so.
A pitcher like deGrom can’t be replaced, but the organization does have a couple of talented veterans who could act as the de-facto aces.
2. Carlos Carrasco
Unfortunately, he tore his hamstring in March and missed several months as a result.
He returned in late July, and while things haven’t been smooth results-wise, he is starting to improve, slowly but surely, and resemble the pitcher he was in Cleveland.
He has allowed four earned runs in his last 10.2 innings, good for a 3.53 ERA.
If we extend the sample to his last three starts, he has a 3.16 ERA in 17.1 frames.
That’s about what we can expect from Carrasco from this point on: an ERA in the mid-3.00s and lots of strikeouts.
In 1,276 career innings, Carrasco has a 3.82 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
He pitched like an ace for several years, and can certainly be the experienced star that helps fill the void left by deGrom.
Right now, his overall ERA doesn’t look good because, predictably, he struggled right out of the gate.
In eight starts and 33.2 innings, Carrasco has a 5.88 ERA.
His 1.28 WHIP, however, tells us that better days are ahead.
He is certainly good enough to lead the Mets’ rotation in the final month as the team fights for a place in the postseason.
1. Marcus Stroman
Back in the offseason, the Mets extended a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer to Marcus Stroman, which he ended up accepting.
The right-hander has responded with one of his best seasons in the major leagues.
The 30-year-old has pitched 156.2 innings in 29 starts, with an excellent, ace-like 2.93 ERA.
He added a split-change that helped keep his strikeouts steady (21.3 percent strikeout rate this year), and, as usual, he has minimized walks, at 6.1 percent.
The results have been amazing, as Stroman has the second-highest pitching WAR (Wins Above Replacement) on the team with 3.1.
Of course, deGrom is first, with 4.9 in just 92 innings (WAR is a counting stat), but there is no replacing deGrom.
What the Mets can hope from Stroman from this point until the end of the campaign is ace-like production, and they have been getting that from him all year long.
Stroman is an underrated athlete, a great pitcher, and a good fit in New York.
He is also pitching for his next contract, since he will enter the market after the season ends.
As for Marcus Stroman, he isn’t at his sharpest or most efficient today. But he has emerged as the #Mets ace in the absence of Jacob deGrom and is setting the example on the mound and with his glove.
They need to make sure he remains with the club beyond 2021.
— Michael Baron (@michaelgbaron) September 4, 2021
All in all, he is certainly talented and mentally strong enough to assume the role of the ace for the Mets as they try to sneak into the playoffs.