Josh Edgin is no Byrdak, Hairston’s hitting, Niese draws walks

If you were a young Mets fan who just started following baseball when the team hired Terry Collins, you would no doubt be under the impression that nothing in the game was more important than having two lefty relievers in the bullpen. When Tim Byrdak went down with an injury, Collins made Josh Edgin his primary lefty reliever and he was soon joined in the pen by Robert Carson.

From what little evidence we have, turning Edgin into the next Byrdak has been a failure. In his first 12 games, Edgin pitched an inning or more six times and he had a 2.25 ERA in 12 IP. Since taking over as a situational lefty, Edgin has pitched an inning or more just four times in 15 games and he has a 5.59 ERA in 9.2 IP.

If we break down Edgin’s performances in games where he has pitched at least 1.0 IP versus shorter outings, here’s what we get:

1.0 IP or more – 10 G, 13.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 BB, 17 Ks, 1 HR
Under 1.0 IP —– 17 G, 8.0 IP, 7 ER, 4 BB, 9 Ks, 2 HR

In his longer outings, Edgin has a 1.35 ERA compared to 7.88 in the shorter outings. The sample is too small to draw concrete conclusions but there’s no indication so far that Edgin is incapable of going an inning at a time. Both runs he gave up in the longer outings came in his very first MLB game. He’s even pitched well in longer stints during his stint as the lefty specialist.

The goal for the Mets should be to turn Edgin into the next Billy Wagner not the next Byrdak.

HAIRSTON CONTINUES HOT HITTING – In his last 30 games, Scott Hairston has a .326/.366/.535 line in 93 PA. He’s done everything the club could have hoped for and he’s showed no signs of slowing down as the season goes on. Even with his poor defensive play, Hairston has racked up 1.8 fWAR and has been a huge bargain for the Mets. Now the question is: Should the team re-sign him?

Last year Hairston signed a $1.1 million deal but according to FanGraphs he’s been worth nearly eight times that amount. Both parties have indicated they would like to work out a deal going forward. But how much money and how many years is the 32-year-old Hairston worth? Much like Chris Capuano a season ago, it seems like some club would be willing to give Hairston a multi-year deal. Given the lack of RH bats ready to contribute, it seems worthwhile for the Mets to retain Hairston. But is either side ready to do a two-year, $8 million deal?

BAY TRIES TO AVOID NEW LINEGeorge Brett helped make forgettable middle infielder Mario Mendoza famous when he mentioned to ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman that players teased each other about poor hitting by saying they were hitting under the Mendoza Line. Meanwhile, Jason Bay has spent the majority of the year not even within shouting distance of the .200 Mendoza Line. When his average hit .150 a friend asked me if there was a “line” to describe hitting that poor. None existed but some quick research showed that Bob Uecker hit .150 his last season in the majors, so we started dubbing .150 as the “Uecker Line.” Meanwhile, Bay has had two 2-hit games recently and now checks in at .168 for the year in his quest to avoid the Uecker Line.

MORE MILESTONES FOR DICKEY – The magical season for R.A. Dickey continues as the knuckleball pitcher just won his 18th game this season. Only 11 pitchers in franchise history have more wins in a season than Dickey, who still has four, possibly five, starts remaining in 2012. He also has 195 Ks in 198 IP. Only nine pitchers in Mets history with at least 100 IP in a season have posted a K/9 of 9.0 or greater. In a franchise known for pitching, Dickey is turning in one of the best seasons in team history.

MURPHY CONTINUES RIPPING SINGLESDaniel Murphy is riding an 8-game hitting streak where he is batting .371 in the span. He has 13 hits during this mini streak, with 12 of them being singles. For the season, Murphy has 140 hits and 99 of those have been singles. He hits too many doubles to be labeled as a singles hitter but Murphy’s lack of power has been an issue this season. In team history, 106 players have delivered at least 140 hits in a year and Murphy’s .112 ISO ranks 86th.

NIESE AND WALKS – Earlier this year I mentioned how Jonathon Niese succeeded by limiting his walks. But while Niese does a fine job of limiting walks to other teams, he has drawn the most walks himself of any Mets pitcher. Niese has reached base with six walks this year, four more than any other pitcher on the staff. Lifetime, Niese has 18 walks, the eighth-most for any pitcher in team history, just one behind Jim McAndrew for seventh place.

Niese has drawn 18 walks in 199 PA, for a 9.0 BB% in his career. Only one pitcher in Mets history (min. of 100 PA) has a higher walk rate. Jon Matlack drew 57 BB in 541 PA for a 10.5 BB% in his career in New York. Matlack ranks second among pitchers in walks, trailing only Tom Seaver, who drew 80 walks with the Mets.

30 comments for “Josh Edgin is no Byrdak, Hairston’s hitting, Niese draws walks

  1. vtmet
    September 7, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Twist the stats much to prove your point?

    First off, ERA for a reliever is very deceiving; especially for a “LOOGY” (a lot of times “their” run actually comes when someone else comes in with their inherited runner on base).

    2nd, that 15 game stretch that you say that Edgin was horrible in? He had 3 consecutive rough games (I think the entire bullpen did at the same time); and then he’s had 11 pretty decent outings in a row: last 11 games; .174 Batting average allowed; .240 OBP; .217 Slugging percentage; .457 OPS allowed.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=edginjo01&t=p&year=2012&share=3.93#17-27-sum:pitching_gamelogs

    Edgin is a rookie, and before you make Byrdak out to be the patron saint of LOOGY’s, take a look at his stats. Tim’s had a bunch of rough patches; his ERA this season wasn’t very good; and hit WHIP last season was horrible.

    • September 7, 2012 at 10:36 am

      Hey vtmet – thanks for reading and commenting!

      Agreed – ERA for a reliever is not as good as for SP. However, I cry no tears for a LOOGY (or any other reliever) whose ERA is inflated because another pitcher allowed their runners to score. You left the runner on base and your manager had no faith in you to retire the next batter — you have to live with the consequences.

      I’m not making Byrdak out to be the patron saint of LOOGYs – he’s about average for the “position.” My issue is the idea of a LOOGY in general and Byrdak gets the brunt of it because he’s the Mets version. I would have the same amount of contempt regardless if our LOOGY was Byrdak or Antonio Bastardo or Brian Fuentes or Alex Hinshaw or any other reliever who has more games than innings pitched.

  2. NormE
    September 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Brian,
    I liked your last line on the Edgin commentary. It seems that Collins is demonstrating a lack of faith in Edgin by using him as a loogy.
    We’re not in a pennant race so lets give Edgin a chance to develop his skills against both lefties and righties. A Wagner? Maybe. Let’s find out.

    As for Hairston, we’re probably going to lose him. The Wilpons aren’t going to allot enough money to give bench/platoon players like Hairston and Cedeno the kind of contracts their agents will pursue in the free-agent market. Whatever money Alderson has will probably go to Shoppach, bullpen and less expensive versions of Hairston and Cedeno.

    As an aside on Cedeno, I believe that Collins erred in not giving Tejada more time off. Cedeno was a competent back-up, and we are now seeing a tired Tejada.

    Interesting note on Niese.

    Keep up the good work.

    • September 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks Norm!

      I was surprised when the Mets were able to get Cedeno for the money they did. I thought he was a competent lower-tier starter at either middle infield position. I agree, there’s no way he comes back. Hairston, I could see coming back. I don’t think the Mets give him $8 million but perhaps there’s middle ground in there somewhere. I guess it depends if any club sees him as a starter. If a club values him in that way then he’s gone. But if everyone looks at him as just the short side of a platoon, I could see him back with the Mets. And I would like that.

    • Steevy
      September 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      Tejada has missed 40 games do to injury,if he’s tired the Mets have problems.

  3. Goorru
    September 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Actually Josh Edgin’s numbers are very similar to Byrdak’s. .133 and .154 vs lefties. The big difference is that Edgin is a rookie. Edgin throws 95 mph and Byrdak throws 88 mph. Edgin will get better Byrdak is what he is. I will take Edgin any day.

  4. Mack Ade
    September 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Brian, the thing about Josh is the way he has carried himself from the day he left school. He was older, and he even came off more mature than his teammates in Savannah. He KNEW he knew how to pitch and doing it in Savannah or Flushing is just one more outing to him. Great character. Leathersich is the same and should move fast also.

  5. Steevy
    September 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Hairston should have been traded to a contender before the deadline.

    • Mack Ade
      September 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Steevy:

      I know how easy it is to say that now, but this team was REALLY in a pennant race when the break happened and Hairston was a big reason why. It just wasn’t the right time to trade him.

      10 games after the return… yes… but if we couldall go back to the day the break happened, EVERY Mets fan was happy about the over-production (especially in late innings) this team was producing.

  6. Name
    September 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Like some of the other people said, a lot of times for LOOGY’s their runs score when they aren’t on the mound. But another point i would like to make is that somewhere someone pointed out that if Edgin had been in the major leagues, he would be around the top 5 in games. I don’t know what his previous high is, but i think fatigue might be a factor in his decline in performance.

    Hairston is certainly a nice piece, but bench bats are really fickle. Just last year, Hairston got off to an atrocious start. It would be very hard to me to justify Hairston getting 2 yrs 8 mil. And my perception is that you always want to try to sign bench players to “turn a profit”. That means that if a player is worth 4 million, you don’t want to pay him more than 2 million. AKA, you want to find players who are able to provide more than what you’re paying, rather than sign people who are going to provide what you pay them. (BTW, Caps isn’t looking so hot now. 3.63 ERA. 11-10. Worth the 5 million? Most likely. A bargain? Not really)

    it seems to me that Murphy not only is very streaky in terms of hits, he’s also very streaky with his power. At times, he looks nothing like a slap hitter and at times he is able to drive the ball with authority and power.

    And Niese at the plate has been a big imporvement. Maybe they still remember that pinch-hit triple hit he had last year, at least i do!

  7. Metsense
    September 8, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Hairston is the best outfielder in 2012. Hairston is considered a 4th outfielder by most teams. Those two statements say alot about the state of the Mets. The Mets need to upgradeb their outfield in 2013 and assuming they aquire a RF then where does Hairston fit in? “Certainly, there are times when it is appropriate to eat a contract,” Alderson told ESPN New York “There are other times when it is not. Jason Bay is not going anywhere, nor is his contract.” (8-7-12) So that indicates that Bay is either a platoon in LF or the RH pinch hitter off the bench in 2013. That would be Hairston’s job profile and I don’t see the Mets paying for this redundency. Of course, if money was no object, cut Bay, sign Hairston. Money is an object though.
    Edgin, as well as Carson, should never have that hated term LOOGY attached to their resumes. Edgin should be in the 2013 bullpen and Carson should be competing for a position: both as middle inning RELIEF pitchers.
    Murphy has proven that he is a slightly better than average 2B. Cedeno has also proven that he is a slightly better than average 2B. Turner has proven he is a slightly below average 2B. Cedeno needs to be re signed as insurance in case of a Tejada injury. Murphy or Turner (or both) could be traded without impacting the 2B position. None of the three are a long term solution on a competitive team.

    • Mack Ade
      September 8, 2012 at 10:03 am

      Metsense:

      Good ideas, but here’s the problem.

      Money IS the issue in 2013. The Mets will top off at $100mil. meaning there just may not be enough around to match what Hairston is going to be offerred in the open market. The Mets didn’t miss a chance here. It just wan’t meant to be. You couldn’t trade him before the all-star break because the team was still in the hunt. Then came the fall and now it’s over. Happy Hairston will play again but not as a Met.

      • Chris F
        September 8, 2012 at 10:23 am

        In retrospect (ok, the season isn’t strictly over), there is a question I have and looking to have everyone’s input on. There has been continued mention of the Mets in the “pennant race” during the first half of the season. That confounds me. With the hardest half of the year still in front, with pitching levels that were unsustainable, with hitting that was obviously unsustainable (e.g., 2-out run production), and a lack of real power offense, I just can’t see that a pennant threat was ever at hand. I keep wondering if all the talk about pennants at that time of year is merely for the media food frenzy. I’d say by mid August we have something to talk about and by labor day, but in early July? I don’t believe there’s any playoff realitites then unless a team is already 20 games up in their division. I just don’t thing the Mets were ever in contention this year (nor will they be next), and then, <10 games over .500 were really in the fight for .500 more than they were for any pennant race.

        Why all the talk about playoffs in the first week of July?

        • NormE
          September 8, 2012 at 11:00 am

          Chris, your point is a good one. Perception is in the eye of the beholder and the beholder was using rose-colored glasses.
          Fans are like that. They often see what they want to see. Realistically, the Mets were playing well above their heads. They had a revolving door outfield, a mess in the bullpen, a first baseman mired in a horrific slump and a non-productive catching group.
          A good number of Mets’ fans, having been through similar scenarios, were waiting for the shoe to drop (regression) and it did.

          Still, let us linger on the good memories of the first half, but let us not be deluded into thinking that with just a little bit of tinkering
          this team can be a true contender.

          • Mack Ade
            September 8, 2012 at 11:09 am

            NormE:

            +1

          • September 8, 2012 at 11:18 am

            Let me take the opposite path:

            Wright looked like he was going to be a serious MVP candidate, there was no reason to expect Davis to continue to be that bad, if any area was likely to regress, it was the bullpen in a positive direction. Josh Thole was doing fine until his concussion and it was not unreasonable to expect him to move back in that direction the further away from his injury he got. Dickey and Santana meant it was unlikely that the team would go in a long slump, the injuries had revealed *better* depth than what was thought.

            Gee and Santana getting hurt and Dickey going through a slump at the same time killed the starting pitching in July. And Niese and Young had their worst months of the season then, too. I don’t think anyone would expect or predict that every member of the starting rotation would fall apart in July. Those same SP that stunk in July were very good in June and August (well CY in August being the exception.)

            Wright falling apart killed the offense. Perhaps the offensive decline would have been easier to predict than the SP, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be to the degree that it turned out to be.

            So, the SP fell off dramatically, the offense went in the toilet and the RP continued to be as bad as it had been – at least until Acosta was recalled. But it could have been the SP maintained, the offense fell off slightly and the bullpen took a step forward. Was that really an unrealistic scenario?

            I don’t see it as inevitable what happened in July. I see no reason why the team couldn’t have played .500 ball coming out of the break instead of going 1-11. And that stretch took a lot of steam away from the team.

            With two Wild Card teams this year, I think the Mets were in a “pennant race” as much as any other team at the beginning of July.

            • Chris F
              September 8, 2012 at 11:45 am

              Don’t get me wrong and I’m not picking on Mets fans or reporters exclusively. I don’t care how good any team is playing by the ASG, I don’t believe any pennant race in the MLB is on until mid August after much more of the season is known. As has Ben stated my times, you can’t win the pennant in the first half but you can certainly lose it. There is more clarity at the bottom of the standings than at the top.

              • Mack Ade
                September 8, 2012 at 11:54 am

                Chris:

                I value your opinion, but you are totally wrong about when teams and players are in a pennant race. Baseball wouldn’t aligh the trading deadline there if it wasn’t.

                I did this for a living.

                You’re wrong.

                • Chris F
                  September 8, 2012 at 11:56 am

                  I appreciate that. And it’s why I asked. Thanks for the comments.

                • Name
                  September 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm

                  I’m not sure if you guys saw this so i’ll repost it.

                  I think most of us tend to use the term “pennant race” interchangeably with “meaningful games”. Realistically, pennant races truly start in September, but the “playoff hunt” can really start at any time(i consider around deadline time)

            • Mack Ade
              September 8, 2012 at 11:51 am

              Brian:

              +1

            • NormE
              September 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm

              Brian, I know you are great with stats, but I find it hard to believe that “Josh Thole was doing fine until his concussion.”
              I perceived his defense as mediocre and his hitting (despite a decent b.a.) as non-productive. Yes, he has been much worse sunce the concussion.

              On Wright, I think it was not realistic that he could have carried his hot streak through the season. His history, even the better years, showed that he would have difficulty keeping it going at that rate. Add to that the non-productivity of Bay, Duda and Davis (for the first half) and its hard to imagine this team staying in the hunt.

              Hairston, Cedeno, Turner and Baxter were nice plusses (let’s not forget Quintanilla), but the heart of the offense and the team’s mediocre defense were detrimental. The starting pitching has been as good as we could have hoped for but the bullpen could not be counted on for any consistency.

              A .500 team won’t make the expanded playoffs, and at the start of the season many Mets followers believed that .500 was about as good as it would get.

            • Metsense
              September 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm

              Brian, I couldn’t agree with you more.The Mets highwater mark was June 3rd, 8 games over, tied for 1st place. The Mets had completed 1/3 the season and positioned themselves nicely. Many could see the flaws on the team and some additions needed to be made. In August we all saw the difference the addition of Shoppach has made. If the Mets just played .500 ball from June 3rd to September 8th, they would be 1 game out of the wildcard and ahead of every other team in the hunt. They would be playing meaningful September baseball. They wouldn’t be loosing $23M this year. Fans and casual fans would be talking Mets and even if they fell short there would be anticipation for next year. Met ownership failed to seize this opportunity and it has hurt them financially. Met ownership should sell the team to someone who knows what they’re doing.

        • Mack Ade
          September 8, 2012 at 11:07 am

          Chris:

          I’m a former clubhouse rat so I speak from the truth.

          You (be it reporters, team officials, owners, coaches) talk about pennants and races because of the team players around you. Players play at their best when the humidity is low and we all want the team to believe they can get there, even if they don’t have the nucleas to get there in the end. It’s what we do and it’s the right thing to do.(oh, there are plenty of beat reporters that love to pile it on at any day of the week, but us old school guys, like Kevin Kiernan, will give this team the respect they deserve. Just don’t ask me to name out the little bastards with a pad in their hands that don’t).

          The Mets never had enough to get there in the end. I wrote early a number of times that this was a ‘rag-tag team playing rag-tag baseball’ but we got on the bandwagon when it looked like there was even the remote chance they could catch a wild card.

          What do you think the Baltimore writers are doing?

          • Name
            September 8, 2012 at 11:28 am

            I think most of us tend to use the term “pennant race” as “meaningful games”. Realistically, pennant races truly start in September, but i consider the “playoff hunt” to start right after the deadline.

          • Chris F
            September 8, 2012 at 11:39 am

            Norm and Mack, thanks for the insights. I look at these kinds of things very conservatively. The kind of work I do also is on a long wavelength, like the baseball season (say compared to football), and more than once I’ve seen a project burst from the gates only to have a slow finish—and for many possible reasons. Sure Baltimore and Oakland are true awesome stories, but in early July there was no way to know they would be here today. I mean in 3 weeks the Mets capsized and before July was over, so was the season. It amplifies the disappointment of somehow not reaching the playoffs. Talking about October in July seems extremely dangerous. Let me turn to the Yankees. At the ASB they clearly had ruled the AL east, and through July, and …. Now it’s early September and I keep hearing “wild card” instead of division champion. On one radio show I listen to there was even talk about how the NYY season would be described as the greatest collapse ever. There are so many key games in the last 6 weeks of the season that I don’t believe there is any realistic sense of talking about playoffs til then.

            I’m not suggesting piling on the negativity or reporting nothing but the dreary. I just think that most teams futures can be predicted with about the same accuracy as the weather….about a week at a time. The funny thing is that’s what the player interviews are like too: RA focuses on his next pitch, his next start…not winning 20 or the Cy. I never hear a player or manager talk about anything but the next game, not even the next series. I’m mystified by the disconnection!!!

            I love the mysterious aspects and traditions of the game (which by the way is one of the biggest reasons I don’t support instant replay beyond its present use): respect the game! And so I do hear the sacred covenant of “just a little tinkering and we ae there” as a birth to death fan, but the scientist in me won’t let me talk about the post season until its almost there…much like not talking about a no-no during the game!!!

            • Mack Ade
              September 8, 2012 at 11:55 am

              Two words… Baltimore Orioles

              • Name
                September 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm

                You could really expand that list to include: Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s, Pittsburgh Pirates.

                • Mack Ade
                  September 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm

                  Name:

                  Team sports are amazing things. I’ve watched so many times teams with limited talent either make the playoffs or go all the way.

                  So much of each team sport, is teamwork, timing, and execution. Bill Parcells told me at lunch one day at Dempsey’s “every football play is four seconds long… past that is utter chaos, but, if I can get my players to do what I ask them to do in the first four seconds, we’ll win a lot of game.”

                  The other untangible is in the head of the player. John McEnroe knew his serve would get in. Tiger Woods didn’t worry about hitting the green, he was concentrating on where the ball should land to get the correct bounce after the backspin.

                  Marginal players become inportant when their head is focused. And important players become immortal for that fleeting moment.

                  I will miss my wife, daughter, and grandchildren so much when I pass, but I also will surely miss both the complexity abd simplicity of this game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *