Steven Matz: On Why He Can Be The Met’s Next Jerry Koosman

Steven Matz - On The Rise (Photo: SNY)

Steven Matz will never be the ace of the Met’s staff. But he has taken leaps and bounds this season in showing why he’s a keeper and a prodigy…

Steven Matz, for so long has been an enigma  for the New York Mets. Up and down all around, he’s never been able to break through the barrier between a thrower and a pitcher. He’s not quite there yet, but he’s crossed the threshold this year.

Lefties Are Weird (Photo: Pinterest)

Lefties, among humankind, are almost a different species. So say the psychologists. But we know from observing pitchers in the major leagues, they tend to take longer to develop in the baseball womb. Why is that?

There’s a study performed for the National Institute of Health that shows in left-handers there is a “Humeral retroversion of left-handed skeletally mature baseball players was significantly smaller in the throwing arm”. Did you get that?

I knew I was weird. Now, I understand why. But it tells me something about Steven Matz that I, as well as the Mets brass,  have been trying to figure out for the past five years. What is up with him and when the hell is he ever going to blossom?

Matz: A Case study In A Loss

Monday night’s start by Steven Matz, in a loss to the Marlins, told me everything I need to know about the maturation and development of a lefty who has (finally) figured it out.

The start by Matz in a game in which his team was hanging on by a thread in the NL Wild Card race was anything but illustrious as indicated in the table below:

Steven Matz Pitching Line 9/23/2019 (Source: ESPN)

Terrible, right? But there was a telling moment that changes everything. It occurred after Matz gave up a game-deciding grand-slam home run to put the game out of reach with his team six runs down before you could blink an eye.

Steven Matz: A Work In Progress (Photo: SNY)

The SNY images of Matz kneeling with his head in hand behind the mound tell a story of a pitcher who knows precisely what happened – and it’s his fault because he threw a mistake.

In the past, Matz, like any pitcher, has known he has made a costly mistake. But the difference now is Matz has never owned the mistake.

Instead of seeing Matz throwing his little snit, losing control of his composure, and behaving anything like a major league pitcher who belongs with the responsibility his team has given him.

Yogi Berra Said It All

The infinite wisdom of Yogi Berra reminds us that “Baseball is ninety percent mental, the other half is physical.” When you consider a pitcher stands on a mound with the ball in hand before 40,000 fans, all eyes on him as the controller of the game – you begin to realize the nature of what it takes to excel in this atmosphere.

Steven Matz failed on Monday night. Moreover, his work for the season shows he won only half of his decisions (10-10).

But when you consider Matz was able to lower his ERA from 4.95 on June 29 to where it stands now at 4.37 – something good is happening here.

The home runs, 27 in all, mean mistakes and room for improvement. But the 47 walks versus 146 strikeouts indicate the ability to control the strike zone. As do the nine Quality Starts in which he pitched six innings or more while allowing three runs or less.

Steven Matz: A Work In Progress

Steve Matz is a work in progress for the New York Mets. The keyword being “progress” because that’s the direction he’s heading in.

Jerry Koosman: Number 36 Retired By The Mets (Photo: ESPN)

2020 will be Matz’s sixth season with the team that drafted him. At the end of May next season, Matz will be 29 and heading to the back end of what is considered his “prime years.”

Will he be Jerry Koosman or Jason Vargas, who was eventually exiled in a trade midway this season?

Fittingly, the Mets announced today that Koosman’s number 36 would forever be enshrined in Met’s history. Matz remains tagged with that question mark labeled next to his name.

2019 was a good start. More of the same is within Matz’s ability. Koosman and Matz is a possibility in the same sentence – but will Matz deliver?

I think so, but does Steven Matz think so, too?

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.