The Mets Internal Bullpen Options, Las Vegas 51s Lefties | Astromets Mind

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Mets Internal Bullpen Options, Las Vegas 51s Lefties

Reviewing the bullpen options for the Mets from the AA and AAA level – a look at the Las Vegas 51s pen today, and I’ll try to have the B-Mets post up by tomorrow.

            After many questions surrounding the pen coming into 2015, the Mets have had one of the top bullpens in the major leagues this year – Fangraphs has the Mets relievers at a 3.14 ERA after their series in Baltimore, which is 6th in the majors – but they’ve been stumbling lately – they have a 4.34 ERA over the last 30 days, which is 20th in the majors. Jenrry Mejia’s second suspension was an unexpected blow, and while Bobby Parnell’s struggles were a little more predictable – he struggled a lot in A+/AA before coming up, and he didn’t have his normal upper-90’s velocity – the Mets still ran him out there for 23 appearances (19.1 IP).
Fortunately, Logan Verrett has returned in place of Parnell, which is not something I would have imagined typing back in March (when Verrett wasn’t even on the Mets), but he was great during his first stint with the Mets this year, and he’s been strong in Las Vegas since. The Mets are getting further good news for the pitching staff down in AA, where Erik Goeddel has looked great during his 2 appearances (GIF’s from 8/16 here, details from 8/19 here), topping out at 94 MPH with his heater on Wednesday night. Also, down in Port St. Lucie Rafael Montero and Steven Matz are in various states of rehab, and at least Matz is expected to return this year.

            While Verrett and Goeddel should help boost the pen in the short term, the Mets will look to add reinforcements once the rosters expand in September, and may wish to look internally for a lefty option in the mean time if Eric O’Flaherty proves unreliable. I reviewed the seasons and stuff of the internal left-handed bullpen options from the Las Vegas 51s below (righties here), and I also give my opinion as to whether they would be a good fit for the Mets in September.

AA: 32 G, 3.19 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 31 IP, 21 H, 43 K: 14 BB, 3 HBP, 2 HR, .590 OPS, 11% Swinging strike rate
AAA: 10 G, 1.08 ERA, 1.45 FIP, 8.1 IP, 3 H, 15 K: 2 BB, 2 HBP, .401 OPS, 18% Swinging strike rate

            If you looked at Dario Alvarez’s numbers earlier in the season with Binghamton, you might’ve been unimpressed by his high ERA, which was inflated for a while after allowed 7 ER over his first 4 IP. But then Alvarez converted 8 straight scoreless appearances, and shortly thereafter he started a streak of 15 straight scoreless appearances to finish his B-Mets career. That streak would reach 22 straight scoreless appearances after he joined the 51s, and he’s allowed just the 1 ER so far. He’s absolutely owned lefties this year - .407 OPS, 44.9 K%: 6.4 BB% vs. LHB for the season – and he’s been pretty effective against righties too - .699 OPS, 27.4 K%: 11.9 BB%. His sweeping slider consistently makes lefties look bad, and he’s been sitting low-90’s with his heat this season, even hitting 95 MPH on the Las Vegas scoreboard a few times.
            I don’t think it’s a question of if the Mets are going to call up Dario Alvarez at this point, but when. After a below average season with Oakland, Eric O’Flaherty did not get off to the best start with the Mets, and considering they gave up so little to get him, he probably has a short leash. Alvarez can come up in September regardless of what the Mets do with O’Flaherty, but his status might effect whether Alvarez is eligible for the playoffs.

AA: 22 G, 5.06 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 26.2 IP, 24 H, 29 K: 18 BB, 4 HBP, HR, .713 OPS, 13% Swinging strike rate
AAA: 25 G, 1.69 ERA, 4.17 FIP, 26.2 IP, 19 H, 21 K: 18 BB, HBP, .605 OPS, 8% Swinging strike rate

            That shiny ERA in AAA appears to be pretty deceiving, and it is aided by 5 unearned runs on his record, so don’t go ordering any Chase Huchingson shirseys just yet. He’s an interesting side-arming lefty, but there is no reason to think those high walk rates will translate, and it’s not like he’s putting up big LOOGY numbers. He’ll likely be back in the Mets organization next year, so hopefully Warthen, Viola & co. can help him improve in that area during Spring Training, because he gets batters out when he’s not walking them: .624 OPS allowed vs. RHB in 141 PA this year despite a 13.5 BB%, and a .716 OPS allowed vs. LHB in 96 PA this year despite a 17.7 BB%.

48 G, 1.87 ERA, 4.21 FIP, 33.2 IP, 21 H, 37 K: 26 BB, .595 OPS, 16% Swinging strike rate

            If the Mets considered Scott Rice a real option, he would probably be in the big leagues by now. His season boils down to 3 numbers in my opinion, 33.2 IP over 48 appearances with 26 walks. That’s an 18.3 BB%, and more than half (26 of 48) of his appearances lasting less than a full inning. He had a stretch of 14 appearances during which he threw just 6 innings, and he had a 5 K: 7 BB ratio during that stretch. Also, he’s lasted more than 1 inning in just 6 appearances this year. He hasn't had his normal LOOGY splits this year, and he's not even reliable for a full inning, so he offers very little, which is not the type of pitcher you can afford to carry in the majors.
Those splits are the reverse of his major league career numbers – he couldn’t get righties out in the majors, allowing a 1.002 OPS in 89 PA – but while that may suggest a real improvement against righties, he’s done nothing else to earn a major league spot this year. That shiny ERA is less impressive when you consider that he’s been brought into the middle of the inning most of the time, and taken out before he can let things get out of hand.

            I don’t have anything new to add about Alex Torres, but he is a real option, so it seemed appropriate to include him. He’s made 3 appearances for Las Vegas so far, so it’s not like he’s a different pitcher than he was for 38 appearances with the Mets. If he didn’t walk the ballpark, he could be an interesting relief pitcher, but he allowed as many walks as hits with the Mets this year (26), and I doubt they give him another major league chance in 2015.

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