The back end of the Mets' pitching rotation is one of the team's biggest question marks heading into 2020 Spring Training.
Steven Matz, entering his sixth season with the Mets, will be competing with Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation, with the odd man out likely heading to the bullpen.
As Matz looks to rebound from an up-and-down 2019 season in which he went 11-10 with a 4.21 ERA and a 1.341 WHIP, he'll do so under the tutelage of new pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, who comes to the Mets after one season as the Twins assistant pitching coach.
Hefner brings an analytical approach to the Mets, and it's something that Matz has been impressed with in his early conversations with the 33-year old.
"It's been really good. I think he's really good at communicating some of that analytics stuff to us and translating it to us in a way where we can actually take action in it," Matz explained. "Some of that stuff, as new as it is, it's hard to translate to 'Okay, how do I do that on the mound?' and that's something that I think he's really good at.
"I think I was hesitant towards it because you see all these numbers and you don't want to change anything because you know what you did that got you here. So, all of a sudden this new stuff is coming along and you're like 'Wait a minute, I don't want to start changing everything now,' so I think that's the big thing. Those numbers can show that little adjustments really actually do help a lot, so that's something big with (analytics)."
Hefner is not all that far removed from his own playing days, as he suited up for the Mets in 2012 and 2013.
Matz, meanwhile, made his debut with the Mets in 2015, and while he was never teammates with Hefner, he was still able to spend some time around him as he made his way up through the Mets' system.
"I never played with him but I just remember crossing paths with him. I was a younger guy and he was an older guy, and he was always reaching out and giving me pointers here or there when he was a player," said Matz. "Just to see what he's learned and accumulated over these past few years, being in Minnesota and stuff, I think it's really exciting that he's going to bring that over and help us."