The New York Mets live; after a 0-5 start to the season that had fans seeing flashbacks of their nightmare 2023 season, they have now won seven of their past 10 games, including a series win over the Atlanta Braves. In fact, the Mets won their most recent series against the upstart Kansas City Royals, taking a series-clinching 2-1 victory on Sunday after inexperienced starting pitcher Jose Butto threw one of the best games of his young career.

The 26-year old, who has started in only nine big-league games prior to Sunday, twirled a gem for the Mets; in six innings of work against the Royals, he allowed zero runs while striking out nine batters, being in supreme control as he allowed just three players to reach base (two hits, one walk).

Given the Mets' pressing need for starting pitching, Jose Butto's emergence could not have come at a better time. Now, manager Carlos Mendoza is recognizing the work Butto is putting in and following his performance against the Royals, Butto's spot in the starting rotation appears to be safe, at least for now.

“He’s not going anywhere. He’ll continue to get the ball and he’ll get his chance. It’s good to see somebody stepping up,” Mendoza said of Butto, via ESPN.

Mets' starting pitching outlook

Jose Butto's emergence is made all the more pressing by the fact that the Mets are down two starting pitchers in Kodai Senga and Tylor Megill. Senga is out for the foreseeable future due to a shoulder injury; New York even placed him on the 60-day Injured List since a return doesn't appear to be imminent anytime soon for the 31-year old Japanese international who pitched very well in his debut MLB season.

Meanwhile, Megill, despite putting up a rather lackluster 4.70 ERA in 126.1 innings last season, was still expected to soak up a bit of a heavy workload for the Mets this season. Alas, the 28-year old starter is also dealing with a shoulder injury of his own, and he's expected to start his ramp-up process in the coming days.

Thus, Butto should, indeed, have a safe place in Carlos Mendoza's rotation for the foreseeable future. His start to the 2024 season has done nothing but solidify his spot. Through two games, Butto has pitched in 12 innings while putting up a sterling 0.75 ERA.

The 26-year old's peripherals this season lends credence to the idea that a regression to the mean might be likely for Jose Butto. But the Mets are hoping that, with Butto expected to be in the best days of his career given his age, he has merely reached a new level and that he'll be a middle of the rotation guy for years to come.

Jose Butto's road to the majors

Jose Butto, following his impressive start against the Royals, now has nine career starts under his belt for the Mets. But it has been a rather long process for Butto to reach the majors after beginning in rookie ball back in 2017 as a 19-year old.

It took Butto until his sixth season in the Mets system to reach Triple-A; he hasn't exactly wowed with his peripherals, but at the very least, he looks like a high-floor, low-ceiling starter who may have reached a new level given how well he has pitched in 2024.

The worry is that Butto's fastball velocity appears as though it's been in a decline; nonetheless, it's still early in the season, and with the Mets' newfound trust in him, he could go on and have a career-year in only his third season in the big leagues.