Mets Pitching Depth Chart

There are less than two weeks left before Opening Day, and there are about 20 pitchers still in Port St. Lucie. The recent demotions of several minor league pitchers and the injury to Jason Vargas has slimmed things a bit, but there are many questions still to be answered in the next 10-12 days.

This is the way the pitching staff looks as of now:

Starters

1. Johan Santana
2. Pedro Martinez
3. John Maine
4. Oliver Perez
5. Orlando Hernandez / Mike Pelfrey

Relievers

6. Billy Wagner
7. Aaron Heilman
8. Pedro Feliciano
9. Matt Wise
10. Scott Schoeneweis
11. Jorge Sosa
12. Steven Register
13. Duaner Sanchez
14. Joe Smith
15. Ricardo Rincon
16. Nelson Figueroa
17. Brian Stokes
18. Nate Field
19. Joselo Diaz
20. Tony Armas, Jr.

My depth chart could be off, but I think it’s close. At this point, yes I believe Register, Sosa, The Show, and Wise are all ahead of Duaner, and I think that Dirty may end up hanging back in PSL for a few extra weeks to get his velocity and command back. There’s no point in rushing him when there are so many other arms to rely on in the interim. It makes sense to let Sanchez get himself completely healthy, give him innings in the warm Florida sun, and bring him up in May.

Most likely, Armas, Diaz, Field, and possibly Stokes will be reassigned in the next few days. The fate of Figueroa and Rincon rest with the Mets decisions on The Show and Sosa. Hopefully, the Mets can move Show because Rincon’s velocity, ability to change speeds, and command are all clearly better.

As suggested by Adam Rubin, Sosa may stick around because of his starting experience — and the fact he was stretched out for three innings on Sunday would lead us to believe that the Mets are already thinking that way.

Though, Nelson Figueroa has been almost exclusively a starter in his career, and he, along with Pelfrey and Armas, provide adequate depth in the likely event that El Duque can’t begin the season. Remember, also, that a fifth starter won’t be needed for at least the first two weeks of April — possibly longer depending on the weather. Let’s not completely dismiss the idea of packaging one or both of Sosa and The Show for a decent starter with options — someone like Danny Meyer or Gustavo Chacin. The Blue Jays in particular are desperate for relief help since learning that setup reliever Casey Janssen would be out for the season (though he was auditioning for the fifth starter spot).

Register has been impressive, and I’d be surprised if the Mets offered him back to the Rockies at the end of the month. That’s bad news for Joe Smith, who has options and would appear to be the odd man out in every scenario. But then again, that’s good news for the Mets bullpen — if they don’t have room for one of their top hurlers from the first half of 2007, then they’ll have a fairly solid relief corps.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.