Most of the talk around the Mets is centered around if Chris Young or Jenrry Mejia should be the team’s fifth starter after Chris Schwinden failed miserably in his brief audition for the role. Young was terrific in four starts with the club last year while Mejia in one of The Queens Quads that fans are eager to see perform in Citi Field.
But lost in the shuffle is the ancient one – Miguel Batista. Last night Batista threw seven shutout innings, leading the Mets to a 3-1 win over the Brewers. Big deal, you might think, the Brewers are hardly the same team as they were last year and no one will confuse them with an offensive powerhouse. But you can only pitch against the teams on the schedule and that’s the opponent Batista drew last night.
In parts of two seasons with the Mets, Batista has made seven starts. Here are his numbers in those outings:
The decision column is for the team, not Batista. Still, if there is a place where I can sign up for the Mets to win five out of every seven games started by their fifth starter, please let me know. In his seven starts with the Mets, Batista has a 3.21 ERA and a 4.46 FIP. For a comparison, R.A. Dickey has a 4.59 FIP so far this year.
Historically, walks have been a huge problem for Batista. He has not posted a BB/9 under 4.0 since 2007, when his walk rate with 3.96. This year overall it stands at 5.68 but we see he has been better in this regard as a starter. In his sevens starts with the Mets, Batista has a 3.86 BB/9.
Lifetime Batista has a 5.74 K/9 average and in his role as a starter with the Mets, he has a 4.29 strikeout rate or below what we would expect. His HR/9 is 0.89 lifetime and 0.64 in our seven-game sample above.
So, in our three main pitching stats, Batista has posted rates in all of them beneath his career averages in his time as a starter with the Mets. One could certainly chalk this up as nothing more than a small sample result. Or perhaps it has something to do with pitching in the National League. In his last year as a full-time starter in the National League (2006), Batista had similar numbers to what he’s done as a starter with the Mets. Let’s run another chart.
Batista’s numbers as a Mets SP in all four of these categories are closer to 2006 than his career numbers. Certainly, we should not take results from six years ago and expect them to be indicative of a pitcher’s skill, especially one who is now 41 years old. Yet at the same time, we cannot expect a pitcher’s overall results from the American League, where one faces a deeper lineup with the DH, to be representative for Batista, either. Also, there has been a bunch of switching roles going on for the veteran, too, which has hurt him in recent years.
At this point in time, Batista has earned the right to stay in the rotation for a few more starts. And it should not be a huge surprise if he puts up very solid numbers for a fifth starter. We saw strong results from Young and we’ve heard so many good things about Mejia that it is natural to anticipate one or both of them to be in the rotation. But it would be wise to remember that Batista has generally done a very good job for the Mets when given a shot as a starter.