Seth Lugo is the king of spin rate. And that has spun open doors for him with the Mets.
Whether he makes it to the rotation or is used out of the bullpen in 2017, Lugo is ready for spring training like never before, and it all starts with his dynamic curveball.
On Aug. 30, the right-hander struck out Miami’s Xavier Scruggs swinging at a 1-2 curveball in the sixth inning. Statcast measured that curve at 3,498 rpm (revolutions per minute), which was the highest spin on a curveball it has tracked since the system was put into place prior to the 2015 season.
More from Statcast: Lugo had 12 of the 13 highest spin curveballs during the 2016 season, including a most angry one against Anthony Rizzo that not only struck out the Cubs slugger, but hit Rizzo in the back foot after the swing. The more spin, the sharper the break.
Lugo, 27, has been working to command the curveball even more this coming season.
“I knew I had a high spin rate, more than most,’’ Lugo told The Post from his home in Louisiana, but he didn’t know the exact numbers and that it was the highest until Statcast. “The curveball is different than any other pitch, you have to put reverse spin on the ball,’’ he explained.
Lugo has been throwing the curve since he was 11. He picked it up from his dad and “it got tweaked’’ at a baseball clinic at Centenary College of Louisiana, where he would eventually go to college and pitch.
There may be another reason Lugo, a tremendous athlete, is able to put such spin on the ball. Turns out he is a big-time Frisbee golf player, also known as disc golf.
“I have no way to check the physics behind that,’’ Lugo said, “but I do give some credit to Frisbee golf, you have to snap that thing pretty good.’’
He sometimes plays Frisbee golf with Steven Matz.
When Lugo plays catch he warns his baseball partner that he is about to unleash the pitch, especially if that player had never seen his breaking ball before.
“I’ll throw it,’’ he said, “and it goes past them and they say, ‘Oh, you weren’t kidding about that.’ ’’
Before the 2012 season Lugo underwent spinal fusion surgery and was bedridden for months. “The surgery was pretty scary,’’ admitted Lugo, who will arrive here Sunday.
From that hardship, Lugo worked that much harder on building his core when he was allowed to work out again and he believes that has made him a much better pitcher.