The New York Mets of the last two years have been known for their pitching prowess. From top to bottom (assuming Matt Harvey breaks out of the slump he is in), they are filled with pitchers that are hard to hit on a nightly basis, whether it be the hard-throwing freak of nature Noah Syndergaard, the 2014 Rookie of the Year ace Jacob deGrom, Harvey, Steven Matz, or the beloved Bartolo Colon, there is no easy task in that rotation. Even Zack Wheeler should be coming back sometime this year, making the rotation that much tougher.
One unsung hero of both the rotation and the bullpen is the unsuspecting Logan Verrett, who has had an interesting path to becoming one of the better swing-men around.
After being drafted in the third round by the Mets in 2014, he had a successful, albeit unexciting, minor league career. In 2012 he split time between Single-A, going 3-2 with a 3.06 ERA, 9.32 K/9, and 1.25 BB/9 in 64.2 innings pitched and High-A, going 2-0 with a 2.09 ERA, 6.05 K/9, and 0.93 BB/9 in 38.2 innings pitched.
He was moved to Double-A, where he spent the entire 2013. Verrett went 12-6, with a 4.25 ERA, a 4.09 FIP, an 8.14 K/9, and a 1.91 B/9 in 146 innings pitched. He then spent the entirety of 2014 in Triple-A, and had a nearly identical stat line. He went 11-5, with 4.33 ERA, 4.35 FIP, 6.61 K/9, and 1.89 BB/9 in 162 innings pitched. Verrett was good, but he gave up a lot of runs at these two levels, and they were deserved, as evidenced by his FIP. It was good, but it was nothing to write home about.
The right-hander was taken in the Rule 5 draft in the 2014 offseason by the Baltimore Orioles, and that is where his career took a bit of a divergent path. He never actually played for the Orioles, and when he failed to make the roster he was put on waivers, with the idea of giving him back to the Mets so they can trade for him. It was an interesting tactic; and it backfired for them, because the Texas native was claimed by the Texas Rangers.
In four appearances and nine innings pitched, Verrett was a disaster for the Rangers. He was saddled with one loss, with a 6.00 ERA in those nine innings pitched. He gave up six earned runs, 11 hits, walked four and only struck out three. The Rangers cut their losses, and placed him on waivers, to be returned to the Mets if he passed through.
This time, Verrett passed through waivers, and he was returned to the Mets.
He was sent to Triple-A, where he was similar to his 2014 form in 64.2 innings pitched. He had a 4.59 ERA and a 4.09 FIP with a 7.38 K/9 and a 2.83 BB/9. He was called up by the Mets (twice) in 2015, and with the two separate stints with the team, he was great. In 14 games, with four starts and 38.2 innings pitched, he went 1-1, with 1 save, an 8.38 K/9, 2.56 BB/9, a very good 79.2% left on base percentage (LOB%), a 3.03 ERA, and a 3.96 FIP and xFIP (102 FIP- and xFIP-).
This season, Verrett was able to stick on the roster and has been stellar so far. In five games (two starts) and 14.1 innings pitched, he is 2-0, with a 7.53 K/9, 2.51 BB/9, an (very, very unsustainable) 92.9 LOB%, a 52.5 groundball percentage, an (also unsustainable) 0.63 ERA, with a 2.24 FIP (58 FIP-), and a 3.52 xFIP (89 xFIP-). He has been above average or better across the board, including his FIP and xFIP, meaning that he is not only getting lucky but he is pitching extremely well.
Verrett is unlike most of the other pitchers on the Mets staff. He does not throw hard; his fastball averages out at 90.6 MPH, his slider at 83.9 MPH, his curveball at 78.4 MPH, and his changeup at 83.8 MPH, but he is very accurate, and his slider is an excellent out pitch.
Pitchers like Logan Verrett are important to a good team, although they will often be unsung heroes. He can do multiple things, and do them well; he has already shown, especially this year, that he can start in an emergency. He can throw a couple innings out of the bullpen, especially if a starter gets knocked out early, and he can pitch deep in extra-inning games, especially since he has starter stamina. He has also shown an ability to seamlessly switch between starting games and coming in to relieve, which is harder than it looks.
Logan Verrett is a good pitcher, albeit in a role that is difficult to perform well, and does not get much love.