Josh Edgin: Why he could be the Mets closer

As the season draws closer to beginning, the Mets have a major question of injuries. Among them,, is Frank Francisco. He is in the final year of his two-year contract but has yet to throw a pitch this year. He is projected to possibly begin a throwing regiment in a few weeks. That may project him being placed on the DL for the beginning of the season.

Manager Terry Collins has already named Bobby Parnell to be Francisco’s replacement at the end of games. While he has the experience in that role, he has not had the level of success at it that should make the team and fans comfortable handing him the ball every day. With thirteen saves in two years, he hasn’t exactly blown people away like he should.

In fact, he has been far more effective in the set up role than in the closer role. In 2012 alone, he had 18 holds, five blown saves and seven saves. So in twelve save chances, he seven out of twelve. Is that what the team should want to expect while Francisco is out? What if there was another option? Enter Josh Edgin.

His rookie season was shaky at best, but he showed moments of dominance in pressure situations. He is slated to be one of two lefty specialists, with the other spot being left to battle between a few pitchers. When it comes to Edgin, the question is how he handles right-handed batters. Last season was not too good. His 4.56 ERA was inflated a bit by those hitters.

When you look a little deeper at his stats, you can see that he makes a decent case for closing out games. He has 33 career saves in the minor leagues. Granted, 27 of those are in A and A+ ball, but it’s still experience in closing out games. It’s understood that there is a huge difference between closing games in the minors than there is doing it in the majors, therefore, a closer look has to be made to determine how he responded to pressure situations at the MLB level last year.

According to Baseball Reference.com, opponents had a .125 AVG against him in clutch situations where he pitched with the team ahead in the game, as opposed to the .286 in a tie game and the .234 in a game where they are behind. It’s obvious that he respond to pressure. He likes to be the one with the ball and the game on the line. He succeeds in that role.

When the game is tied or they are behind and he has the ball, he is not as effective. The numbers don’t lie. He is just entering his prime and will only get better. He could be the Mets next Billy Wagner if the team shows him the confidence and hands him the ball consistently in the ninth inning. He has to develop that mentality at the MLB level. That is something that Parnell has not done by now and certainly will not develop at this stage in his career.

What would the Mets have to lose by giving him a chance to close out games over Parnell? Could he be that much worse than Parnell’s eleven blown saves in two seasons? It’s highly unlikely. At least by the numbers anyway.

10 comments for “Josh Edgin: Why he could be the Mets closer

  1. Craig
    March 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

    When TC named Parnell the closer until Frankie is ready I said to myself its early in spring
    training why not give everybody a chance to compete for the job but thats not TC’s way!
    I was thinking last year that Edgin had closer written all over him so when he named Parnell
    I thought this would have been a great chance for Edgin,Parnell, and Lyons to compete for the job? Frankie will be back soon anyway and you know how loyal TC is about giving back players there jobs! It won’t matter Frankie will get hurt sooner or later anyway and if Parnell falls on his face(and he most likely will?)Edgin or Lyons will get the chance! Knowing TC it will be Lyons!

  2. Joe Vasile
    March 5, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I’m far more comfortable with Parnell as the closer mostly because Edgin is much better off as a situational lefty. Last year lefties hit .161/.246/.345 against him, and righties hit .256/.364/.474. Parnell’s splits are not that drastic, plus with the Knuckle Curve Izzy taught him in 2011 he finally has a secondary offering to go along with that blistering fastball. I don’t hold his 2011 audition as closer against him, because at that time he didn’t have a good second pitch, and therefore, hitters were just sitting back and waiting on the fastball, and they crushed it. Last year, he saw his walk rate go from 4.10 BB/9 to 2.62 BB/9, and his ERA fell from 3.64 to 2.49. In 2011 he wasn’t ready to be the closer, but I think now he is. Having a late-inning LOOGY like Edgin is very valuable, and he would likely be more helpful to the team in that capacity.

    • March 5, 2013 at 11:32 am

      No – the absolute last thing we need is to turn Edgin into a situational lefty! There’s no way he should be pigeonholed into a sub-optimal role based on 45 PA in his rookie season. Let him be the 7th inning man this year, with the idea of working him into higher-leverage roles as the season progresses.

      • Chris F
        March 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm

        I totally agree. Making him a loogy far undersells his max potential. 7th inning is a great place.

      • March 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm

        Totally agree, Brian. I’m very high on Edgin. I’d be very disappointed if he were used primarily as a LOOGY.

  3. March 5, 2013 at 11:31 am

    It’s not going to be easy going from lefty specialist to closer. It takes time to develop the confidence needed to grow into that role. I do remember when Randy Myers finally showed the Mets what he was capable of doing on a consistent basis and that was not before some frustrating adventures. So why not for now go with two closers but with a clear plan as to when the two will be used and take off some of the pressure on Parnell.

  4. March 5, 2013 at 11:52 am

    What about Brandon Lyon? He’s a veteran with some closing experience.
    Don’t thrust Edgin into a situation he’s not ready to handle yet.

    • Name
      March 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      I agree. Let him earn that spot.
      I know it’s just one sample, but look at what the Tiger’s have done with Bruce Rondon this offseason/spring. Annointed him as a favorite for the job, and he’s been an utter disaster this spring. Let Edgin gain some confidence pitching in the majors, then give him an opportunity if it arises.

  5. TJ
    March 5, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I agree with the sentiment that Edgin should earn his way to the later innings but not be pigeon-holed into a LOOGY role. I still think that if the Mets were serious in any way about competing in 2013 the would have or will bring in another competitor for the closer role – Wilson or Valverde. I would love to see Parnell take the job but I’m not sold on him, even if he goes the entire spring with a 0.00 ERA.

  6. Metsense
    March 6, 2013 at 7:53 am

    The Met don’t have a dominant closer (many teams don’t) so why do you need to designate one pitcher as a closer? Manage the bullpen correctly, go with the hot hand, and spread the “save” situations around based on the ninth inning match ups. Parnell, Fransisco and Lyons is the best options to start with but if a player like Edgin rises to the occasion as the season progresses then he could work his way into the mix. The transition between tiring starter who has men on base and the middle reliever is the crucial juncture of the game and probably is the situation that a high strikeout/low WHIP pitcher is needed.
    As Chris F and Brian have pointed out, Edgin is so much more than that hated five letter word.

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