John Smoltz says Mets' rotation 'way better' than Braves of 1990s

ByAdam Rubin ESPN logo
Friday, July 17, 2015

NEW YORK -- John Smoltz will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 26, one year after his formerAtlanta Bravesteammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were enshrined in Cooperstown, New York. The trio led what is widely considered one of the greatest starting rotations in baseball history, yet Smoltz apparently believes the current New York Mets rotation has more talent.

"They're way better," Smoltz told the New York Daily News. "They've got more talent than we could ever have."

The Mets' rotation includes young standouts Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz as well as veterans Bartolo Colon and Jonathon Niese. Zack Wheeler is due to re-enter the rotation next summer after completing his rehab from Tommy John surgery.

Smoltz, Maddux and Glavine combined to win seven National League Cy Young Awards -- one by Smoltz (1996), four by Maddux (1992-95) and two by Glavine (1991, '98). All but Maddux's win in 1992, when he pitched for theChicago Cubs, came as members of the Braves.

The Mets' rotation, led by Harvey, 26, and deGrom, 27, combines youth and potential. Harvey and deGrom have made an All-Star appearance; Syndergaard and Matz are 22 and 24, respectively.

Smoltz suggested one thing that could hold back the Mets group is the way pitchers are handled these days.

"The opportunities that exist today won't allow a lot of staffs to find out what kind of staff they can be," Smoltz told the Daily News. "That's the shame of the game. The injuries have taken over. ... There's no doubt that the dynamic arms are way better than we've ever seen. And the issue is how long can we keep them healthy and how long can they stick together financially? What we did in the era that we did, we take a lot of pride in it. We worked really hard and we didn't miss a lot of starts.

"We've anointed people a little too quickly in this game. And they don't have the ability to wait and learn and have a fair shake at the game. ... Everybody wants quick results, expectations through the roof. And that's what these guys are fighting today. They're not giving them a chance to fail too often. And when they do, what happens?"

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