Today we will take a look an insight look at one of the major issues of the 2012 season, the bullpen. The Mets bullpen was one of, if not, the worst unit in all of Major League Baseball last season and accounted for 36 of the Mets 88 losses (41% of them!!!)
So far not much has been done to solidify the unit as the following seem to be current locks to return in 2013.
Current Bullpen Locks
- Frank Francisco- 5.53 ERA, 23 SV, 10.0 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 56% of Inherited Runners Scored (5 of 9)
- Robert (Bobby) Parnell- 2.49 ERA, 7 SV, 8.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 32% of IRS (9 of 28)
- Joshua Edgin- 4.56 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 30% of IRS (7 of 23)
The above is not something to be excited about however the wonderful development of Robert Parnell was a surprise last season (thank you Jason Isringhausen) and Josh Edgin, as long as he's not exposed to RHH, is growing to be an effective LOOGY with Tim Brydak out for the season with a torn shoulder capsule.
If no other moves are made then the following players would be competing for 4 spots in the bullpen.
- Aaron Laffey- 4.56 ERA, 4.3 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 33% of IRS (1 of 3)
- Laffey pitched mostly as a starter last season with the Toronto Blue Jays and wasnt very effective as he only posted 6 Quality Starts out 16 (38%). His major issue was was with the long ball. As a slight flyball pitcher 11.8% of fly balls left the stadium in the extremely hitter friendly Rogers Centre. Perhaps a move to Citi Field will help him the same way it helped Chris Young. He will be directly competing with Jeremy Hefner for that long relief spot but will be at a disadvantage since he is not on the 40 man roster. However, if he has a great beginning of Spring Training don't be surprised if his name gets thrown into the hat as a potential 5th starter.
- Cory Mazzoni- (AA) 4.46 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 2.2 BB/9
- The reason Mazzoni's name is here is because he is a non roster ST invite. He currently is not missing enough bats to remain a starter as his minor league WHIP is high at 1.364. He'll remain a starter in Binghamton but he could get a look at the Bison bullpen in 2013. Its almost impossible that he makes the team but don't be surprised if you seem him with the 40 man call ups in September.
- Carlos Torres- 5.26 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 5.9 BB/9, 33% of IRS (3 of 9)
- Torres pitched exclusively as a reliever last season for the Colorado Rockies and had major control issues walking 11.3% of the batters he faced. Batters do have difficulty making solid contact with his stuff though as despite being a heavy flyball pitcher only 2.8% of flyballs left the yard in Coors Field. As with Laffey, Torres will be at a disadvantage since he IS NOT on the 40 man roster but if the coaches can improve his control he could make a run for one of the middle reliever spots.
- Greg Burke- (AAA) 1.53 ERA, 3 SV, 7.7 K/9, 2.8 BB/9
- Here's your major dark horse going into Spring Training. Last year Greg Burke pitched for Baltimore Orioles AAA affliate the Norfolk Tides after re-inventing his mechanics. As a side-armer he dominated AAA hitters and now finds himself a home on the Mets 40 man roster. He'll be fighting for the RH short reliever situational/7th inning spot (aka ROOGY) that belonged to John Rauch last season.
- Robert Carson- 4.73 ERA, 3.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 17% of IRS (1 of 6)
- Here is a case of both a prospect being rushed and a guy's results not matching up to his stuff. Between AA and AAA Carson had a K/9 of 9.1, but he obviously wasn't ready for the MLB as his K/9 rate plummeted in his time in Flushing. As a left hander, he has already been passed on the depth chart by the surging Josh Edgin so now his only chance at making the team is as the left handed middle reliever. I still think he isn't ready and will return to Las Vegas.
- Jeurys Familia- (AAA) 4.73 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 4.8 BB/9
- Familia had a tough season up and down season last year and has lost enough support from fans and the front office as a top prospect that he's now being looked at as a reliever. I think that this is unfair. If we look into history we will quickly find that in 2010 when he struggled in St. Lucie to the tune of a 5.58 ERA, he ended up repeating the league the next year and cranked out 8.9 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 ratios and a 1.49 ERA in his first 6 starts. I have faith that the kid will figure it out as a starter in Las Vegas. If not, then that nasty two seam sinking fastball will slot him in as a 7th inning/8th inning guy.
- Gonzalez German- (AA) 4.59 ERA, 7.3 K/9, 2.5 BB/9
- The Mets decision to place German on the 40 man roster is about as backwards as his name implies. Despite being on the 40 man, I see no perpetual shot for German to make the Queens team as he doesn't have a major out pitch, nor does he have a statistical backing to make it interesting. Don't be surprised if he is DFA'd if the Mets 40 man (which currently is at 38) gets maxed out and a move needs to be made.
- Darin Gorski- (AA) 4.00 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9
- Another head scratcher of a 40 man add on. After having an impressive 2011 where he showed deadly accurate control and a change-up that could be a major league plus pitch, Gorski reverted back to his pre-St. Lucie form of 4.00 or worse ERA every season and his walk rate doubled. While his change-up still is a potential mlb average pitch, you just can't picture him being anything more then a AAAA player at this point. The stuff just isn't there to compete at higher levels. I even question whether or not there's room for him in Las Vegas next year.
- Collin McHugh- (AAA) 3.42 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 3.5 BB/9
- Dillon Gee 2.0 had a very successful 2012 and even made it up to the big league club for 4 starts and 4 relief appearances once he was nearing his innings limit. However he quickly showed that relief is not something he is suited for as all 4 of the runners he inherited in his relief appearances scored. On the flip side other than 1 dazzling start he also showed that he wasn't ready for the big time. With slightly better stuff then Gee and good stamina, McHugh should return to Las Vegas and will probably be the first starter called up for injury if needed before July. After July it'll be Wheeler.
- Elvin Ramirez- 5.48 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 8.4 B/9, 29% of IRS (2 of 7)
- After being selected, and losing a year of development, by the Nationals in the 2011 Rule 5 draft, Elvin was having an amazing season in Buffalo to the tune of a 2.36 ERA. However when he made it to the big league club, the control issues that have plagued him his entire career flared up and he walked almost as many as he struck out. The last time he's had a BB/9 rate below 8.0 was when he was in Savannah so he is going to have to learn to become "effectively" wild if he wants a chance to stick in the MLB bullpen. He'll compete for that RH short reliever spot but even if he loses to Burke he'll probably still slide in at the low leverage middle relief spot.
- Hansel Robles- (SS-A) 1.11 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 1.2 B/9
- The Mets must think they have something really special to protect a guy who just finished the Short Season A league. Unless he starts moving faster there's no way we see Robles in 2013 or even 2014 for that matter.
- Jeremy Hefner- 5.09 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 100% of IRS (10 of 10)
- As the long reliever incumbent, Hefner showed that as a spot starter he can do some good, but as a reliever he is about as effective as Miguel Batista is as a starter. Regardless, being on the 40 man roster gives him an edge as he should come into Spring Training with the long reliever position as his to lose. IF he does lose to someone, Hefner might very well be DFA'd.