The opportunity presented itself for Tylor Megill when he entered the Mets’ big league rotation after ace Jacob deGrom suffered a shoulder injury before Opening Day. And Megill, a sophomore starter, rose to the occasion.
In his first two outings of the regular season, the right-hander pitched 10.1 scoreless innings (MLB’s best mark), while striking out 11 batters, allowing just six hits and not issuing any walks.
Megill is having a blast at the start of the season – and he also has a new nickname given to him by his teammates: Big Drip.
While his 6″7, 230-pound frame explains the first half of his new moniker, the clubhouse also recognized Megill for his style and confidence.
“He’s always swaggering,” said JD Davis Inside the Mets last week of the origin of Megill’s nickname. “He always has nice things on him and walks around with confidence. When he came last year (Carlos), Carrasco gave him a backpack, so we just called him ‘Big Drip’.”
Megill showed promise as a rookie a season ago but hit a wall during his 2021 campaign. It could have been the result of smashing his career high with 130 innings between the minor leagues and the major leagues.
Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner gave Megill some offseason homework to help him take the next step in his development. And it seems to have paid off so far.
“Simplifying my mechanics and being able to get the most out of my big frame,” Megill said MLB Network of its off-season adjustments. “Being able to make my delivery consistently and just dial that in by throwing my three pitches for strikes is going to give me a huge advantage.”
Megill also confirmed that future Mets Hall of Fame pitcher Max Scherzer also gave him some advice on using breaking balls.
“He helps me and a lot of other pitchers talk to each other and butt heads with each other,” he said.
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Megill saw his speed increase in his first two starts. In 2021, the right-hander averaged 94.6 mph on his four-seam fastball. This year, Megill is averaging 96.4 mph, while topping out at 99 mph, per Baseball Savant.
After stopping the rebuilding Nationals on Opening Day, starting in place of deGrom, Megill passed his final test by stifling a high-powered Phillies lineup at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night in a 2 win -0 from the Mets. The 26-year-old pitched five shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out five batters.
As manager Buck Showalter told reporters afterwards that Megill’s latest outing was his biggest test yet: “I think he answered it, huh?”
Relief pitcher Drew Smith helped Megill earn its second win of 2022 with a scoreless 1.2 innings out of the bullpen Tuesday night. Like Megill, Smith saw his speed increase in this appearance, consistently hitting 97 mph on his four-seam fastball, despite averaging 95 mph a season ago, per Baseball Savant.
“I’m trying to get into the Megill program,” Smith told reporters after the game. “Red bull and two aspirins, that’s what he told me.”
With deGrom sidelined until at least June, the Mets are hoping Tylor “Big Drip” Megill can keep pushing the season forward.
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