Coming off a season in which he threw a career-high 160.1 innings, Steven Matz is already excited to get back to work.
He spent last week at the University of Michigan, throwing a bullpen and working with Wolverines pitching coach (and former candidate for Mets pitching coach) Chris Fetter.
Using high resolution cameras and working with Michigan's kinesiology department, Matz and the man who eventually landed the Mets pitching coach job, Jeremy Hefner, were able to break down the left-hander's work in great detail.
"That was something that [Mets vice president] Allard Baird reached out to me about back in October," Matz said. "We thought it would be beneficial. Jeremy Hefner met me out there. That's the way the game's going. You have all this technology now and it's another thing you can use to improve."
Hefner, a former Mets pitcher in his own right, comes to the job with experience both on the field and from an analytics point of view. His ability to speak both languages has Matz looking forward to working with him.
"He understands the analytics side of it really well and he knows how to communicate that to guys that are playing," Matz said. "You can make sense of it and you can translate that."
After retiring as a player after the 2016 season, Hefner was an advance scout for the Twins for two years before serving as the team's assistant pitching coach.
After their trip to Ann Arbor, Matz thinks Hefner can be a big help to him and the rest of the pitching staff.
"All of this analytics is new but sometimes it's tough for us to understand what it even means and how we can make adjustments off of that stuff," Matz said. "He's really good at articulating and giving us cues to make small adjustments. I'm excited to have him as a pitching coach."
It's a big year for Matz, who has a chance to play a bigger role in the rotation following the departure of Zack Wheeler. But the Long Island native is just focused on what he can control.
"I don't feel any extra pressure," Matz said. "I always set high expectations for myself no matter where I stand in the rotation. So going into this season I'm just going to work as hard as I can no matter where I'm at."