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 LINE – George 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 SINGLES – Daniel 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.