Ernest Dove - Do Mets Now Have a Championship Bullpen?


  It appears likely that the shop is closed in Mets land in regards to the bullpen.  So what have they ended up with?

  Let's start with "the new guy". 

  Well he's no Aroldis Chapman, but new Mets bullpen arm Antonio Bastardo is a nice added piece to the Mets here in the offseason.  Based on the numbers, and what we may have been lead to believe, it is perhaps likely that Bastardo will be given every opportunity to be in the back end of the bullpen, including set up man, for the Mets in 2016.   So is this a good thing?

  LOOGY or not there is no denying that Bastardo is a beast against opposing lefties, with opponents sporting a .138 .233 .215 stat line of BA, OBP and SLG against him.  But perhaps there is even more to the numbers here. 

  The 2016 Mets are no longer just projecting good things, they can and should be expecting good things from their ball club, including playoffs.  And when you look into the numbers, Bastardo himself was actually at his best towards the end of the season.   Sure, he wasn't exactly rubber arm Carlos Torres and Tyler Clippard in regards to total innings throughout the season, but I like looking in the stats and seeing that in the last month of the season, Bastardo held all opposing hitters to a ridiculous stat line of .088 .184 and .088 respectively. And, at least for Bastardo standards, perhaps the best small sample stat line of them all is how he ended that month with 11 strikeouts to only 3 walks during that span.  And that perhaps is the question regarding the new toy here for the Mets.

  All teams and their fans go through it, but us crazed Mets fans might perhaps top the list of panic whenever we see a reliever walk a batter in the late innings.  So perhaps the question is what happens if Bastardo is closer to the start of the season totals of 2.46 SO/W ratios or the ending month ratio of 3.67?  Speaking only financially, it appears that Bastardo will be given every opportunity to pitch full innings for the Mets, not just against lefties. And based on those same finances it may also be safe to assume that he will be given a prominent role in the late innings, and not simply the 6th or 7th to 'stop the bleeding' or help bridge the gap to somebody else.  Overall, I think I like what I see. He will pretty much play out the 2016 season as a 30 year old, and he's coming off only 66 innings of work (seems like about a tenth of what the usual lefty suspects and Torres would do in an average season ;) )  With some of the other talented arms to be listed, I think he will given every opportunity to succeed, and not be pushed, so expect a solid all around season from Mr. Bastardo.

  Now, what to expect from the record breaker Familia?

  What's not to like about the guy who was easily the first half MVP of the team of the 2015 season?  Yes, we can argue all day about the blown saves in the playoffs (yay for errors, iffy bullpen decisions leading up to him and someone of course pulling a Murph). Outside of that what we saw a completely transformed pitcher who gained confidence with every outing going into the world series. Relievers in general will always be who they apparently are, which is iffy and year to year at times with their overall stats and dominance, but Familia to me did not show any signs of regression or decline of his skills or talent. Name a stat, any stat, and you will see that in 2015 he pretty much had a career high in that category, from saves, to ERA, to highest K totals, to lowest walk rate.  Add to that the reports on utilizing of a new pitch and what you have is a STILL 26 year old at the peak of his career.  I'm not going to simply throw out a number like 50 saves or anything (ok I guess I just did) but Family can and will be counted on in the final inning to help close out games.  And, adding guys like Bastardo and hopefully a healthy Blevins/Edgin should only help the chances of our closer only having to see 1 inning and not 2.

  Why doesn't anyone believe in Addison Reed?

  Reed is going to play out the 2016 season as a 27 year old.  He pretty much had the best 17 games pitched of his life as a New Mets reliever, and he is STILL not being asked too much of his ball club and will be allowed to pitch the 7th and maybe 8th innings on any given night. I don't expect Reed to replicate another insane 1.17 ERA like he did last year in a Mets uniform, but a saw a guy who pitched extremely well, under pressure, and was able shut down innings at times when the Mets needed it most.  I'm happy about the Mets holding on to this guy and keeping him under team control.

  What to expect from Hansel Robles?

  He won't turn 26 until late summer.  He's under all kinds of team control for plenty of years, and he showed a consistent ability, as a reliever, to show toughness, confidence and a fastball that touched about 4-5 MPH higher than he ever did as a starter.  Again, I'm being a biased Mets fan, but what kind of regression could be expected from a 26 year old who now relieves rather than starts to reduce mileage on the arm?  his 1.019 WHIP for the season looked pretty good to me, and that includes the 8 homers he gave up last season.  None of us can predict if the homer totals will go down, but a second full year of experience now as a major league reliever should help the development of this young man with a LIVE arm.

  How about the question marks of Jerry Blevins and Josh Edgin?

  Well, no point in throwing out status on these guys.  I've said it a few random times early last year and will say it again one more time for this post.  Blevins was statistically terrible in early spring before coming to the Mets, then joined the team, started the season, and was literally unhittable. Now the 32 year old will be arriving back on the scene to be the LOOGY, which means pretty much pitching 1,986 times throughout the upcoming season on a Terry Collins lead ball club :)  Looking at the players as only 'commodities', and looking at his one year only contract, expect the Mets to utilize Blevins as much as needed, specifically against opposing lefties, and this should be hopefully a positive outcome.

  Edgin, on the other hand, becomes even more of a question mark coming off TJS.  I've always loved Edgin. I've said it before, dude was literally baptized into the fire from the day he first stepped onto a major league field for the Mets, and he never seemed to be afraid.  He's a guy I could still feel like we could count on to get Bryce Harper out in a given at bat.  But we just don't know what we are going to get from him. But I think that when you take into account the options the Mets have from the lefties on their roster, the one that wins out will be good for this team going into the season and beyond.

 Sooooooooo is Mejia on the team or what?

  What do we do here fellas?

  Unless we are told otherwise, Mejia is still a reliever for the New York Mets.  He will eventually be cleared by major league baseball, and his talent will once again be available to be put onto display for the team.  He appeared to make an incredible transition from starter to reliever.  He appeared to more enjoy closing than anything else, but if/when he returns he will not be the closer.  So will the fire still be there?  Does he still want to pitch for the New York Mets (he reportedly forced team to go into arbitration which seems odd and perhaps telling). If anything, I think Mejia can be a championship caliber bullpen arm for the team.

  Is rubber arm still on the team?

  Carlos Torres appears to still be (at this very moment) in the plans for the Mets in 2016.  He was there go to guy for about.....well, every game of every season recently for the Mets, and he pitched any/all innings asked of him.  Things appeared to fall apart for Torres while going further into the 2015 season, so I'm not sure of his success that may be possible going into the new year, or if there are not just too many arms on the team to allow for him to stay.  I like the man because he is true and pure baseball player who has no problems with his manager telling him he's going out there, and he wants the ball.  Nothing wrong with that.

  Is Sean Gilmartin still on the team?

  This is another curious guy to me.  The Rule 5 gem who appeared to thrive more in multiple innings of work than in pressure packed one inning or less situations, goes into the 2016 spring as the Mets.........well......I'm not sure.  There was talk of him reverting back to being a starter, but I don't recall him showing up on any winter ball teams doing just that.  And then the Mets went ahead and re-signed old Bart, so there goes the SP5 possible option.  And with a LOOGY like Blevins, a possible returning lefty Edgin, and reverse splits guy like Robles still on the roster as well, I'm wondering in which direction the team will go with Gilmartin, of whom the team can now ship down to the minors because he played out the entire season as required in 2015.   I personally like the guy. If any of the Mets studs lay an egg during an off night in the regular season or even playoffs, I think we can truly count on Gilmartin to get the team through the rest of the game for a couple of innings and take the pressure of the others during crunch times later on.

  What about the other guys?

  Remember Erik Goeddel?  Remember Logan Verrett?  They are two LIVE arms who've shown forms of success at the major league level for this ball club.  Either one is capable of being a long relief guy.  Either one can pitch multiple innings in an outing.  Either one.....well I guess there we have it.....either one can do the same as the other.  I've supported both of them and look forward to seeing where their careers go for the 2016 season.

  One last Wild Card......................Rafael Montero............

  My mystery man.  The talented little guy who at times looked like he can be dominant as a starter, just couldn't stay on the field long enough and consistent enough to give the organization a long look at him prior to all the stud arms coming up one after another since his own debut. Just like Gilmartin, Montero was rumored to be an SP5 option prior to the Colon signing. And since I really don't feel like speculating that the Mets and their staff will suffer injuries, I'm wondering in what direction the Mets will go with Montero.  It seems pointless to send him to Vegas where he is simply better and more talented IMO than the players in that league. But with guys like Bastardo and Blevins re-signed, and Robles IMO having emerged as solid relievers going into the season, what to do with Montero?  At this point, for a championship team, I think my gut tells me I would choose Montero over Gilmartin, Goeddel, Verrett, Edgin and Torres........Gun to my head, I think I would actually choose old Bart over Montero as a playoff reliever simply due to experience and confidence.

  So anyway, did I just list a group of guys who can make up a division title, league title, and championship willing ball club?  Does Bastardo, along with a healthy Blevins, and continued upward trending Familia/Robles/Reed make up a bullpen that is as good as the 2015 Royals?

  Well, I guess there's only one way to find out.................how about playing 162+ games and see how it goes, shall we..........................

 What say you?  Can Mets, even with completely healthy and dominating stud arms in the rotation, relieve them properly with this group and win another division title and maybe a world series this time? 


Mack Ade said...

The Mets had the lead in 4 of the 5 world series games after 7 innings, with a team where there top hitter (Cespedes) was silent.

Improved relief pitching, with superior starters, can get this team all the way.

Thomas Brennan said...

Good analysis, Ernest. I like this pen much more than the one we had most of last year.

Hobie said...

LHBP: Bastardo & Blevins (with Edgin in the 2nd half)
RHBP: Familia, Reed, Robles, Torres, Geoddel (with Mejia & Colon in the 2nd half)

Montero, Verrett & Gilmartin starting in LV just in case.
Sewald, Ynoa, Thorton (Jannis, my dark horse) in the LV pen

Could be a lot worse.

BTW, heard Eudor Garcia got busted. Geesh.

Gary Seagren said...

yes and how sweet would Chapman have been in our pen and you have to feel we could have come up with at least as good a deal as the Evil empire did

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