Chris Schwinden made his 2012 MLB debut this past Friday. With Mike Pelfrey being shelved for the year… it’s likely not to be Schwinden’s last start with the big ballclub. The question that Met fans are puzzling is, “Can our team win with this guy on the mound?”
The answer is difficult to find. Schwinden was a 22nd round draft pick in 2008, so it isn’t as if the Mets haven’t already gotten more out of him than fans should expect out of a player drafted from that slot. He profiles similarly to Dillon Gee, but while I’ve seen reports that his fastball had 1-2 MPH more than Gee’s it looked a little slower in Colorado. In 4 innings he gave up 7 hits 5 earned runs and didn’t strike out a single batter.
Looking at the start: Schwinden was sitting at 90 and topping out at 91 in the game. His breaking pitches are thrown for strikes but they also don’t have a lot of difference (in speed) from his fastball. Against righties he seemed to look for his outs with breaking pitches on the outside corner. When he faced lefties he seemed to have less of a plan throwing the ball over the heart of the plate.
None of this sounds particularly good. So… do the Mets need to come up with a plan B in a hurry? I think that on average that Schwinden is good enough to keep a major league team close through six innings. He’s going to get hit and he’s going to give up runs, but unless there is a big pitcher to be had, he’s not worse than the mediocre pieces that the Mets could easily acquire.
Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia: Don’t start screaming for the future starters to be called up just yet. Neither Harvey nor Familia look all that ready in AAA to be much of a help in the majors just yet. The Mets need to use players like Schwinden as the bridge to these top prospects, but they can’t rush the prospects across the bridge before their time.