Time will tell, but the New York Mets’ starting rotation – Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz – could become what the Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation was in the 1990s: dominant, effective and dominantly effective.
Yes, that foursome doesn’t have the collective brand name of Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Steve Avery, but similarities between the two staffs exist.
“A lot of us panned out and we had a run of success that was pretty special,” Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young winner Tom Glavine said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “The same thing is going on with the Mets right now. They’ve had those guys in their system, they’ve panned out, now they’re in the big leagues together and now they’re in the big leagues at a very young age. That’s a win-win obviously for everybody, but for the Mets’ organization itself, yeah, to have those young guys on the mound and to have them under control for an extended period of time, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
No one on Atlanta’s staff had stuff quite like, say, Syndergaard, who blows hitters away on a nightly basis, but the Braves proved they didn’t need 100 mile-per-hour heaters to win.
“Smoltzy caused a stir last year when he said their rotation had better stuff than ours did, and everybody was trying to say, ‘Well, Smoltzy said they were better than we were,’” Glavine recalled. “That’s not what he said. The stuff that those guys run out there every night, it’s pretty special. You’re talking about guys that are throwing upper 90s, have good command, have a good secondary pitch that they command – that’s special. We did similar things but not with that kind of stuff. We all commanded our fast ball. We all had a good secondary pitch. It’s just that our fast ball wasn’t coming in there at 95 to 100 miles an hour like those guys do.”
Either way, no team was excited to face the Braves, who made the playoffs 14 times in 15 years from 1991 to 2005, and no team will be excited to face the Mets this season.
“They know what they’re in for,” Glavine said of the opposition. “They know what they’re getting ready to see on the mound for three nights. They know it’s going to be a battle, and they know it’s going to be tough to walk out of there winning a series. That’s what we had for so long, that ability to really put pressure on another team to try and beat us. I think where it really manifested itself for us as a team was the depth of that rotation over the course of 162 ames. I suspect if the Mets stay heathy, that’s what you’re going to see with them. You’ll have some teams that will match the Mets’ 1 and 2 and maybe 3, but you’re going to be hard-pressed to find teams that are going to match (their) 4 and 5. And over the course of 162 games, when you’re having that big advantage, that’s where you really separate yourself from everybody else in your division and make up a lot of ground. I know that’s what we did all those years, and I think that Mets’ rotation has the ability to do that.”