Advanced stats explain why Mets RHP Tylor Megill looks more dominant this season

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Tylor Megill follow-through grey uniform Opening Day
Tylor Megill follow-through grey uniform Opening Day

I know, I know. Two starts by a pitcher normally isn't something to admire or criticize.

But...can we make an exception with Mets RHP Tylor Megill please?

The Opening Day starter came out with a lot of juice to kick off the new season, topping his fastball out at 99 mph at times through five innings. This wasn't the Megill Mets fans were used to last season when his fastball generally stayed in the 94 range.

He was attacking hitters with his entire arsenal, which includes a powerful slider, changeup and the occasional Uncle Charlie to keep everyone off balance.

It really wasn't an aberration either after he did the same thing, at the same velocities, with the same control against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The results? No runs allowed, six hits (three in each start), no walks and 11 strikeouts over 10.1 innings.

This looks like a completely different Megill, and it's worth asking the question: What changed that has caused him to be dominant thus far?

The fastball is the main attraction right now when the 6-foot-7 flamethrower touches the rubber. It noticeably made a different pop of the catcher's glove when he threw it and the radar gun didn't lie. Megill is averaging 96.4 mph on that heater compared to 94.6 a season ago, according to Baseball Savant.

It makes sense that the velocity jumped considering the spin rate on the pitch is at 2202 rpm right now compared to 2153 rpm in 2021.

But it’s more than the fastball for Megill. The slider, for instance, has a much tighter break when you do the eye test. The advanced stats back it up, too.

In 2021, Megill’s slide piece had 34.1 inches of vertical movement and 2.3 inches horizontally. Now, it’s at 38.3 and 4.0 respectively. And what does that mean? It means the slider is breaking down and across the plate more than it was last year, and that’s always a good thing for breaking pitches. Adding rpms (2291) and a tick higher velocity (86.2) helps that out as well.

And there’s also this that could be an impact, though numbers won’t necessarily show it: Megill isn’t working in the windup anymore. He’s been exclusively going from the stretch, and maybe that’s helping him eliminate unnecessary movement that he would have in his windup, leading to better mechanics overall. Maybe it’s nothing. But that’s certainly a change that Megill could be asked about.

If Megill can continue to sustain this type of production, it would be an insanely big boost for the Mets, who don’t even have Jacob deGrom at their disposal right now. With Max Scherzer, Chris Bassit and Carlos Carrasco in the rotation as well, the strength of this rotation at full strength would arguably be one of, if not the, best in MLB.

Let’s not jump too far ahead. One thing is for certain right now: Megill looks like a different pitcher than he was in his rookie season and the numbers back that up.