David Aardsma settles bullpen, BABIP overachievers, Mets and HR ball

On June 7th, the Las Vegas 51s played the second game of a four-game series in Tacoma, Wash. The following day, the Mets called up reliever David Aardsma, who made the cross-county trek to Queens and pitched a scoreless inning in a day game. Starting on June 8th and the promotion of Aardsma, the Mets’ bullpen has been fantastic. Since then, relievers have 63.2 IP and have allowed 13 ER for a 1.84 ERA.

Even taking away the eight relief innings from starter Shaun Marcum in the 20-inning game, the real relievers have allowed 12 ER in 55.2 IP, good for a 1.94 ERA. Here’s the breakdown of those relievers:

Aardsma 8 1
Burke 4.1 2
Edgin 6 0
Hawkins 8 0
Lyon 8.1 2
Parnell 9.1 2
Rice 4.2 4
Torres 7 1

If we remove Scott Rice from the equation, the other Mets relievers have a 1.41 ERA in 51 IP. Now if only the Mets would remove him on the actual roster.

PT FOR JV HARD TO COME BY – Since the Mets picked up Eric Young Jr. from the Rockies, playing time for Jordany Valdespin has all but disappeared. Since June 19th, Young has 37 PA while Valdespin has just eight. Of course, Valdespin did not help himself by posting a .454 OPS in the first 18 games of the month. And since Young came aboard, he has gone just one for eight, although the lone hit was a HR. Never a favorite of manager Terry Collins, it appears more and more likely that Valdespin will be sent down if and when Ike Davis gets recalled.

DAVIS LOVES THE DESERT – Speaking of Davis, some are starting to get itchy for his return to the majors, as he now has a 1.093 OPS after 15 games in Triple-A. While it’s nice to see production like this from the man Sandy Alderson considers a core player, it should be taken with a grain of salt. While some worried that Davis would look superficially good thanks to the wonderful hitting environment in Las Vegas, it was a four-game set in Arizona that has propped up his numbers.

While born in Minnesota, Davis graduated from high school in Arizona and went to college at Arizona State. Playing in Tucson, Davis exploded, going 8-13 with 2 2B and 4 HR. In those four games, he produced a .615/.722/.1.692 slash line for a 2.415 OPS. However, they play games in other parks in the Pacific Coast League. Outside of Arizona, Davis has gone 7-40 (.175) with just 1 HR. And this is with playing 10 of his 11 games in Las Vegas. In his last four games after the Tucson series, Davis is 2-14.

LAGARES, YOUNG AND BABIPJuan Lagares is batting .295 in his last 16 games while Young is hitting .382 since joining the Mets. It’s obvious that Young is enjoying incredible success with his BABIP, as you simply cannot post an AVG that high without the hits falling your way. It should come as little surprise that Young has a .433 BABIP in his time with the Mets. What might catch you a bit off guard is that Lagares has a .400 BABIP in his last 16 games.

Neither one of these hot streaks is going to last. Most (not all) MLB players will post BABIP marks in the .300 range and only 13 qualified players last year posted a mark higher than .350 in the category over a full season. Young’s lifetime mark is .321 and with that he has a career .266/.333/.349 slash line, which is below-average production for a starter.

As for Lagares, he has a .705 OPS during his 16-game hot streak. While the hits are falling in, he has 0 BB and 1 HR in 62 PA, so he’s contributing very little outside of AVG. What happens when the hits stop finding holes? The average CF has a .714 OPS in the NL to this point in the season. Lagares cannot even reach that mark when he’s on a hot streak. For the year he has a “normal” .308 BABIP and a .582 OPS in 113 PA.

The advanced numbers love Lagares’ defense. But even with a 3.1 UZR – a fine number in his playing time and one that translates into a top-10 mark over a full season – he has just a 0.2 fWAR. At this rate, he would be roughly a 1.0 fWAR player over a full season and that’s not a mark of a starter in the league.

METS AND THE HR BALL – New York won Thursday’s makeup game against Colorado thanks to a two-run homer from Marlon Byrd. That gives the Mets 74 HR for the year, which is the NL average to this point in the season. They have hit 41 homers on the road and 33 in home games, having played one fewer home contest through 55 games.

The Mets went 7-4 on the road trip despite hitting fewer HR than expected. They entered the road trip averaging 1.2 HR per road game yet went homerless in four of 11 games. New York came in 4-17 (.190) in games without a homer, yet it went 2-2 in games on this trip where it did not leave the yard. Of course, the Mets went 5-2 in games with a homer, so the long ball certainly helped the winning record.

HEFNER KEEPS ROLLING ONJeremy Hefner allowed 1 ER in 6 IP Thursday, lowering his season ERA to a 3.72 mark. Among 98 qualified pitchers in the majors, that ranks tied with Chris Tillman for the 48th-best mark. Yet Tillman is 9-2 and Hefner is 2-6 after another no-decision. For the month of June, Hefner has a 1.80 ERA, currently the fourth-best mark in the majors. Hefner now has 10 Quality Starts on the year, second on the club behind Matt Harvey’s 13.

25 comments for “David Aardsma settles bullpen, BABIP overachievers, Mets and HR ball

  1. steevy
    June 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I’ve posted in other threads,I have no desire to see Ike Davis back in a Met uniform.Also,fire Terry Collins!(I’m going to end all my posts with that,the way Cato ended all his speeches in the Roman Senate with “Carthago Delenda Est!”)

  2. Jerry Grote
    June 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Great post Brian.

    On both Young and Lagares, I’d question your start points. But you would have guessed that about me. I think its pretty reasonable to look at what amounts to the last full year of Young’s production – instead of including his partial years in 09 and 10.

    Over 575 plate appearances he has 50 steals in 60 attempts and a .344 OBP, with a 275/344/373 slash … a 715 OPS. End of the day, that’s great … if he were playing CF. But he plays LF, so you will need to make up that production from someplace else. We can’t give up outs at 1B, CF and LF forever.

    As to Lagares … glad to see you are coming around on his defense. But first of all, this “hot streak” happens to be coincidental to when he’s finally been given a role on the team as a starter. Let’s see if it’s a hot streak, or just an aberration. I think anyone that can watch him play can see he realizes he needs to take walks.

    And c’mon. Are you honestly going to value Lagares on his strictly on OPS and simply shut your eyes to his defense? Since he’s started, any metric will tell you he’s catching at least one ball more per game than other Mets. Why won’t you admit to this, and simply add it to his value?

    • June 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      On start points – not sure what’s wrong with a Mets-themed blog to start with Young’s time since joining the Mets. And you should always look at a player’s total career numbers.

      No need to put “hot streak” in quotes. Any time a player has a .400 BABIP over an extended stretch, that’s pretty much the text book definition of hot streak.

      For Lagares, I quoted fWAR, which uses offense, defense and baserunning. And fWAR still shows Lagares as a fourth outfielder, despite loving his defense. While his defense has been better than advertised, it’s still nowhere near enough to make him a full-time player. He’s going to need a whole lot more than that to be a useful MLB regular.

      • Jerry Grote
        June 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm

        I used “hot streak” because you want to take a small part of time period out of context and imply that Young’s reversion to the mean will be a fall back to career numbers. It’s possible. But it equally likely that his reversion to the mean will be something on the order of player with a 345-350 OPS and 50 steals in 60 attempts. As a point of reference, Reyes stole 40 in 51 attempts with a 345 OBP. The Mets can use EYJ, and to me the only question is whether or not the rest of the lineup can survive a power loss. You made a point about that in your earlier post.

        Brian, in looking at Lagares’ fWAR, are you using his entire time in the majors, or the time he’s been promoted to being a full time player. As I tried to make clear, you *can* have a paradigm shift in the play of someone, especially when he goes from scratch time to full time.

        It’s pretty clear to us all that there’s been two Juan Lagares – the guy before June and the current guy. The current guy tells my eyes we have at the least an average CF, and if you would for just a second give him some credit for playing
        *in the major leagues at 24
        *at a position that he’s only logged 140 games at in the minors
        *in NYC
        The Mets absolutely need to give him an awful lot of room to fail, and fail badly. I’d encourage anyone to look at Carlos Gomez at Binghamton in his age 22 season, and Lagares in the same city at his age 23 season, and tell me there’s no similarities.

        • June 28, 2013 at 2:48 pm

          Well, that’s pretty much the definition of regression.

          Why are the 196 PA that Young had in 2012 more important than the 180 PA he had in 2013 before joining the Mets in evaluating his OBP skills? Shoot, I’m willing to concede that Young will steal bases at a good rate and that his OBP will be above the league average. But his OBP is not going to be high enough to make up for his lack of slugging and the dirty secret is that while he’s an upgrade on Lucas Duda defensively in LF, that’s a pretty low bar to clear and history has shown that EY Jr. is not an average, much less good defensive player. The overall package will be below average.

          The fWAR that I quoted was Lagares’ complete time in the majors. His defense has not improved – has probably regressed – since becoming a full-time player and that’s where he’s getting the vast majority of his value. If you want to look only at his numbers since he was inserted into the lineup full time, he’s had a BABIP-fueled hot streak at the plate which has bumped his offensive levels to slightly below average for his position. Lagares is going to get the rest of the year to show he belongs in the majors and we’ll know more from a 375-PA sample than we will from a 100-PA sample.

          There’s nothing special about playing in the majors at age 24.
          While Lagares has only 143 games in the minors in CF, he does have an additional 247 games as a corner OF so he’s not exactly a neophyte when it comes to chasing down fly balls.

          There are a ton of players who put up numbers like Gomez at age 22 and Lagares at age 23. You can’t point to the one success story out of 100 and act as if that’s proof that Lagares will turn into Gomez. Also, it’s been reported numerous times that the Mets minor league instructors wanted Gomez to sacrifice power to focus hitting the ball on the ground to use his speed. Has there ever been one report of that with Lagares? Do you really think he’ll ever approach the .257 ISO that Gomez currently has?

          I would love to be wrong about this. But it’s hard to look objectively at what you’re doing as anything beyond wish-casting.

          • Jerry Grote
            June 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm

            Why are the later years more important that the earlier years of a players history, in projecting what will be? I would think that is self-evident. It’s even more important when the role of the player has changed.

            I’ve never through this thread indicated that a regression to the mean isn’t going to happen. I think I stated straight away that EYJ can’t offer a 715 OPS at LF.

            Do I ever think that Lagares will deliver the .257 ISO that Gomez is delivering? I’m not so sure that Gomez can repeat it. But Lagares doesn’t have completely replicate Gomez to prove my point – that a team with a Gold Glove winning CFer has plenty of value; and that a player can evolve into something else.

            Like you say, these 100 PA are not the stuff of decisions … and pretty much this discussion is fun but a pixel waste. We’ll know better after at least a 1000 innings out there. There’s absolutely no argument from me that Juan Lagares needs to take walks.

            At some point, the Mets will need to either get more production out of 1B and turn C and 2B into much more productive positions to continue to play both of them.

      • Chris F
        June 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm

        And this is where the forward value of the stats means far less than the rear-looking value in my eyes. Lets see, Ron Darling is all over Lagares, I wonder why. What else is missing is that future projection fails to recognize potential improvement, which is especially true given he is so young and still learning to master the game. The fact that he’s outpacing the league considerably on balls out of his zone, which is plain to see, shows his defensive skills have plenty to offer. His batting is picking up, and so someone essentially fresh out of AA is our best center fielder. Any projection placing him as a 4th based on the tiny data we’ve seen, with all due respect, is pure bunk. Clearly Puig’s numbers will project him past Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Williams if we just take what we see. He wont hit .400 is my bet. Im sorry to sound old-school, but all the stats in the world, while awesome at assessing what has happened, cannot predict a single thing about how a player will evolve. It seems they still have to play the game to know the outcome.

        • norme
          June 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm

          Chris F, I agree with your take on Lagares. Earlier this year Brian posted stats showing that he thought that Cowgill was a better choice for the Mets than Lagares. The Mets, obviously did not agree. It’s possible that Lagares may never become a good MLB-caliber hitter, but he’s being given the chance to try to develop. What’s clear to my old eyes is that with EY in left and Lagares in center the Mets are a much better defensive team than at any point this year. Throw in Q’s play at SS, Byrd in RF, Wright at 3B, the improving Murphy at 2B, and the Mets look more like a major league club than they did in April-May.

  3. June 28, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I’m starting to have nightmares about the BABIP monster.

  4. Metsense
    June 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    JV1 really should be in AAA learning to be a backup middle infielder. If he has any value it is as a backup middle infielder who is versatile to spot play in the OF. Unfortunately, JV is our current backup SS and can’t go down until Turner or Tejada come off the DL.
    Lagares, with his 78 AAA AB’s is another player that should be in AAA learning how to hit.He shows some good signs but he should have been sent out with the aquisition of Young. Since they are winning with Lagares playing I would continue to ride this lineup until it doesn’t work.
    Young was a good pick up. Is he a solution? Way too soon to tell. After all he was DFA by the Rockies 2 weeks ago. It is nice to have some speed in the lineup.
    Heffner is proof that good pitching and quality starts will keep most teams in games. The Mets offense is way too anemic but even some minor offensive improvements may turn the Mets into a .500 club.

    • AJ
      June 29, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Hey Metsense – good to see you rockin’ the old profile picture!

  5. steevy
    June 28, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Fire Terry Collins!!!

  6. June 29, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Brian you have impeccable timing! Yes after today’s bull pen collapse we can see that it’s back to business as usual. I mean if they can’t save the game for Harvey what can you hope for? Harvey with some run support and bull pen guts would be on pace to win 20 games. Inside the locker room I know he’s too young to take a Tom Seaver approach with his proteges. But every time they screw up one of his games it adds fuel to the fire. As I have said from the beginning when it counts this bull pen will chock. I’f I’m Harvey I know that is’t a crap shoot when I leave the mound. So I hope he doesn’t try to pitch beyond what his body is capable of.

  7. AJ
    June 29, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Maybe it’s the influence of reading Brian and others on this site, but I”m finding myself wondering more and more about the decisions made by Terry Collins.

    Last night, as Collins came out to pull Aardsma, I found myself asking “Why?” Was Aardsma not an effective closer for Seattle a couple of years back, and did he not routinely face lefties while doing that? Can’t he be trusted to pitch to a left handed batter with 2 outs and a runner on first, when his team is up by 3 runs and the next batter after the lefty is another righty?

    Then, when Parnell was called on to pitch in the 9th, I found myself again questioning the decision. I know it’s standard procedure for the home team to use their closer in the 9th when the score is tied, but there was also some question as to whether Parnel might need a break after closing out the last 2 games on 2 consecutive nights, one in Chicago and one in Colorado. If the save opportunity wasn’t there, maybe it would be better to run someone else out for the 9th and give the closer a day off so he could be ready for the potential of closing another game the next day. Now, you have to think Parnel will not be available for the Saturday afternoon game.

    Being an after-the-fact, armchair manager is too easy so I try to avoid doing that, but lately Collins’ decisions leave me scratching my head. If the Mets were a winning team I might be more inclined to say it was dandruff.

    • June 29, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Here’s what they said over at MetsBlog:

      “A lot of people on Twitter were blaming Collins for the way he handled the eighth inning; I thought he played the match ups mostly properly although I would have expected Terry to have a longer leash with Aardsma with two outs and a three run lead. Terry decided to play the matchup instead. In the end, his relievers simply failed to execute.”

      Played the match ups most properly – I guess that’s what the kids are calling Collins’ reliever masturbation these days. And it’s never, ever, ever Collins’ fault. It’s that the relievers “failed to execute.”

      And people wonder why managers do this — it’s to avoid any blame whatsoever. How could it *possibly* be the manager’s fault – he brought in a lefty to face a lefty and a righty to face a righty.

      It’s maddening.

      • Jerry Grote
        June 29, 2013 at 10:57 am

        “it’s never ever Collins’ fault.”

        I don’t know how many times I’ve almost written “Teflon manager” here. It’s absolutely amazing to me that five or six papers and all the ink this team gets, and none of them can hold this guys feet to the fire.

        Frustrates the hell out of me.

      • AJ
        June 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm

        I think the valuable SNY association keeps Metsblog very conservative in their criticisms. That said, they use the expression “That said,” quite liberally.

    • Jerry Grote
      June 29, 2013 at 10:48 am

      reasonable questions, especially pulling Aardsma.

      But to me, the game gets lost or won with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 out. You need one out; one out to really end this ballgame.

      The call in the 8th inning isn’t to have Bobby Parnell throw a 4 out save. It’s to have him make 9 pitches to Anthony Rendon and end the f*xcng game RIGHT THERE. Hawkins, Lyons and Rice can close out the next three outs in the 9th and you are home with a win.

      • Chris F
        June 29, 2013 at 11:25 am

        The thing is, this staff led by TC only knows one approach: play the matchup. Period. He has no other strategy, like wow, we need the shut down guy right now to stop this before its out of control. It shows lack of imagination, flexibility, creativity and will to find a way to win. None of that exists because TC has a sub MLB roster…these are his decisions, and show his day is long over as a big league manager.

  8. Chris F
    June 29, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Fire the coaching staff now. The incompetence has no parallel in MLB.

  9. June 29, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Isn’t it ironic that Collins wants to hold his bullpen responsible for their inability to get the job done and yet when the light shines on him he simply washes his hands of the situation and takes zero responsibility. He is the MANAGER of the New York Mets. The buck stops there unless your name is Terry Collins.

  10. June 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    TC being creative is just beyond the realm of his comprehension. The unfortunate part is that he knows he’s not coming back so why bother to think outside the box? Doesn’t he have a feel for the game and realize that when the game is on the line that’s the time for your closer. His reliance on match ups is so overwhelming he doesn’t trust his instincts or his feel for the game situation. HEY TERRY! Try once going with your gut feeling and stand by it instead of throwing your pen under the bus.

  11. Jerry Grote
    June 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Look at today’s lineup. A classic example of TC and his lunacy. John Buck is … what? 1 for his last month or something? He just caught a night game, he’s probably played 2x as much as any catcher that’s 32.

    So we’re coming back to play a Saturday day game … so we’ll go with him today behind the dish. Not that we have another option on the team or anything. What a butt head.

  12. norme
    June 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I would like to quote the great philosopher, steevy: Fire Terry Collins!!!

  13. Jerry Grote
    June 29, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    I couldn’t watch the game, but you can tell from the box score that once again … the Mets outfield-ed the opponent.

    I would guess this isn’t showing up in statistics yet. It might not ever show up, but improved play across the team with the leather is having an impact.

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