"Ricky Knapp is a bum, Alice, he's a BUM!"
I let "bang-zoom Ralph Kramden" say that and he feels much better now. 

I know, I know, Knapp was 13-5, 2.34 in 2016 in A and AA in 146 IP in 2016. 

He sure did not pitch like a bum there. 
But Knapp, like very many, found his first taste of AAA Las Vegas pitching in 2016 a bit distasteful: 18 IP, 0-1, 5.50 ERA.

His reward?  He's gotten to pitch the whole season so far in Viva Las Vegas, a painful, yes even hellish and PTSD-inducing, experience for pitchers.

He sits at 6-12, with a 6.10 ERA in 23 AAA starts in 2017.  “See? We KNEW that Ricky Knapp was no good! Another AAAA pitcher at best.  He's a real bum!” 

Well, not so fast…

Interestingly, he is 2-1 in his last 3 starts, with just 3 earned runs allowed in those 20 innings.

Also interesting, 2 of those 3 starts were in Midwest ballparks in normal altitude, normal humidity environments.

And just as interesting, he’s had 3 starts this year in normal non-hellish ball parks in the normal mid-section of these here United States…and dad gum, in those 3, Ricky allowed just 4 earned runs, 14 hits, and 3 walks in 20 innings.   An ERA under 2.00 in normal environs, 6.90 elsewhere.

And season ERAs can get skewed for other reasons.  Vegas had to keep him pitching in a July game where they were short on relief pitching, and he allowed 12 earned runs in 4.2 IP against Fresno.  Fresno, as everyone knows (well, maybe not everyone) is the league’s scoring leader at 704 runs in 111 games, or 6.34 runs per game.  And in his other outing against mighty Fresno, Knapp allowed 5 runs in 2 innings.  Just dropping those two games against this hyper-scoring team from his ERA calculation and his ERA drops to 5.18, still high but quite normal for a western-based PCL pitcher.

So maybe Knapp is NOT a bum – let’s compare and contrast, shall we?

Doing so brings me back to another former Met who looked like a bum pitching in Vegas – Matt Bowman.

Matt was fine in 2013 in A ball in 2014 was 10-8, 3.21 mostly in AA, but actually including a short, decent cameo in AAA ball that season.

In 2015, he sadly was all Vegas, and his results resembled the 2017 Ricky Knapp results: 7-16, 5.53 ERA, with a 1.68 WHIP – clearly a bum…keep him off the 40 man…no one will pick him in the Rule 5 draft, right, because he clearly stinks, right?


The St Louis Cardinals nabbed Bowman in the Rule 5 draft.  So how did that bum Bowman do for the Cards In 2016 and 2017?  After his stinky Vegas 2015?

Pretty darned good.  In 113 games, 3.55 ERA, 1.15 WHIP.  To be fair and balanced, he is 4-9 in his MLB career so far, and just 1 for 5 in saves, so he has not completely walked on water, but his results are still pretty darned good for a charter member of the Vegas Bum Club.

Morale of this story? 

Ricky Knapp may be a very serviceable pitcher for the Mets in 2018, just like Bowman has been in 2016 and 2017 for the Cardinals…just make sure to take Vegas results with a whole shaker of salt, ignore them, and see what Ricky Knapp can do in 2018 against MLB teams at normal altitude.


Thomas Brennan said...

I thought I would write an article today about AAA ball since the Mets look like AAA players against the Dodgers. I wanted to add that it was good to see Logan Taylor pitching again yesterday after his five week hiatus due to concussion.

Mack Ade said...

Logan should have told the homeless guy to hit him again rather than come back and pitch for this team.

bob gregory said...

Still unbelievable that the Mets renewed their relationship with Vegas early when there were other cities still up for grabs.

Thomas Brennan said...

True, Gary. Pitchers get shellshocked there. Taylor has actually pitched well there though. He might have been called up by now if not for the assault

Gary Seagren said...

Thomas that we look like AAA players would be an upgrade. To see how far we've fallen makes us all wonder about next years version and to really get an idea shouldn't we be playing the youngsters I mean comon Sandy we all know you HAD to bring up Rosario and with Smith leading the PCL in many categories NOW IS THE TIME!!! Also your own first round pick Nimmo sits as Grandy I guess has more to prove. It's really unbelievable except it's the Mets so it isn't.

Thomas Brennan said...

Gary, Mets have allowed an astounding 155 homers in 108 games. Sandy winged it cheaply on bullpen and crashed, hence the recent trades. BTW, where is Don Smith? Oh where oh where can he be?

Thomas Brennan said...

Monday night, reality returned for Knapp - he got to pitch in Vegas (bad) against the Reno team hitting .294 (also bad). He allowed 4 in the first and 4 more in the 6th - not quite as bad as it seems, as 2 first inning runs were unearned, and he left with 2 runs in and 2 outs in the 6th, and Ben Rowan promptly allowed both runners to score.

He shoulda stayed in the Midwest.

Mack's Mets © 2012