BOSTON — Tyler Magill struggled with the Mets earlier this season and has slid into an even greater slump since his demotion last month.
With a brutal outing on Sunday, the right-hander has a 10.29 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Syracuse.
The most worrying number may be his eight strikeouts in 21 innings.
Magill’s decline has irked Mets officials, who are trying to get the 27-year-old back on his way to the major leagues.
Manager Buck Showalter called Magill’s struggles “troubling,” and Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner said that organizational officials are actively involved in trying to rebuild the pitcher.
Hefner said, “It’s been a tough time for him.” “His fastball still isn’t what we’d like and he’s working hard. This is not some idle thing that we are going through. We are actively working on a lot of mechanical things and trying to get the pitch back to last year’s shape.
Magill went 6–4 with a 5.17 ERA in 15 starts for the Mets and averaged 94.5 mph with his four-seam fastball before being optioned to Syracuse on June 22.
Last season, he averaged 95.7 mph on the same pitch.
Magill’s 39 walks in 71 ¹/₃ innings was also an issue.
Since returning to Syracuse, he has continued to struggle on that front, with 10 walks in 21 innings.
Last season, Magill lost weight to help him prepare for the pitch clock and increased cardiovascular activity.
But despite his struggles, the Mets don’t want Magill to gain weight again.
Hefner said, “He’s changed his body in some ways, but he’s also gotten a lot stronger.” “Whenever things like that happen, sometimes it takes time to adjust because there’s been some changes in your body, so we’re trying to get him back, not weight-wise or strength-wise, but pitch-wise and how he pitches, what he was doing last year. We thought we were on a good track.”
In his Sunday debut, Magill pitched only 3¹/₃ innings against Buffalo and gave up five earned runs on six hits and three walks.
This started against the same club in which he lasted only two innings and gave up eight earned runs on eight hits and one walk.
Magill was the Mets’ Opening Day starter last year, but injuries – including a shoulder strain – ultimately sidelined him for most of the season.
Upon his return, Magill made a point of not trying to throw as hard as before to reduce the risk of injury while saving his best heat for late innings.
Hefner said, “You’re always walking the line between health and performance.” “It is a performance industry. You have to perform – even if it means putting yourself at risk of injury, but you don’t know that. You don’t know that you are going to get hurt.
“We’re constantly walking that wire with the guys here as well and how we use the bullpen and Kodai [Senga], he’s performing so do you pitch to him every five days or don’t pitch to him every five days because he’s pitching well? There is always such a difference between health and performance.
The Mets are encouraged by David Peterson’s improvement since his return from Syracuse.
The lefty — who has recently been pitching out of the Mets’ bullpen — can be moved into the rotation if the team needs it.
But the Mets’ rotation depth is limited.
“We have a lot of good people trying to figure it out [with Megill], Showalter said. “We’ve got some ideas about what has changed. … I’ve seen the comparisons, and he’s healthy, that’s the big deal.”