Vic Black is the key to the Mets bullpen

Vic BlackThe Mets bullpen has always been one of the question marks of the team. And this year is no different. The team comes into March with a closer coming off of injury and a ton of young talent competing for big league jobs.

Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth were brought in as veteran arms to compete and mentor the young talent. Now with opening day just a few weeks away, the bullpen is beginning to take shape.

Bobby Parnell has looked good in his limited time this spring and is set up to be ready for the season. Guys like Carlos Torres and Scott Rice have locked up bullpen spots, while guys like Josh Edgin were cut for lack-luster performances.

Then there is Vic Black. Black, who the Mets acquired from the Pirates in a trade last August, has emerged as the back-up plan if anything happens to Parnell.

Black spent little time up the big-leagues last year with the Mets, but is another guy who is a lock for the bullpen this year.  And he is the key to the success of the Mets bullpen. While guys like Rice, Torres and Parnell are important, the development and growth of Black into a setup man/big league closer is what can make the back end of the bullpen solid and sound.

If Black can prove to be a solid to good setup man, with the ability to take over the closer role if need be, he will give Terry Collins another useful piece that the bullpen has been lacking over the past couple of years.

In the past Jon Rauch, Scott Atchison and LaTroy Hawkins have been in that role. Now a young, under-control pitcher can take over that 8th inning/back-up closer role which can give the Mets more flexibility for the season.

With Parnell’s health still a potential question and a lot of young talent making its way into the Mets system this year and beyond, it’s important for someone to develop and step into the role that the Mets have been lacking. Vic Black is that guy. If he can take that next step, he can turn the Mets bullpen problems into bullpen successes. And that will lead to more Mets wins, which makes everyone happy.

5 comments for “Vic Black is the key to the Mets bullpen

  1. Jim OMalley
    March 12, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    I’m big on Vic Black. I think he will be good.

  2. Jerry Grote
    March 12, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    I won’t lie, his walking 5 batters in 4 innings this spring is a little offsetting. Control was his issue last year and he has not seemed to improve.

  3. tommyb
    March 13, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Familia may turn out to be the stud of the pen. His walks have evaporated, and he is K’ing plenty. Consider that in addition to his fine spring official stats, his last 4 1/3 innings in winter ball and 2 inning intrasquad resulted in 16 Ks and I believe 1 walk. Off the charts. He may be a bullpen beast.

    • Patrick Albanesius
      March 13, 2014 at 12:49 pm

      I agree that Familia might actually be the better option right now as Black is still struggling with control, while Familia seems to be figuring it out. If those three guys are covering 7/8/9, then that is a strong symbol that the Mets are ready to compete. The success of both is critical, however. Also, I don’t expect Farnsworth to go north with the team, and Valverde is still just eh. In my opinion, of course.

  4. Metsense
    March 13, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Black was a good pickup for Alderson and if he can maintain his control he will slot in nice in the backend of the bullpen.
    tommyb is also right about Familia’s resurgence this spring and he also is in competition for the setup spot.
    Lannan’s pitching may make him the long man in the pen pushing Calos Torres into the set up roll competition.
    deGrom looks ready for a bullpen roll, as does Montero and Mejia but they are better off remaining as starters in AAA. (Wow, what a rotation with Noah).
    I’m not impressed by Valverde and Farnsworth. By the end of 2014, the Mets roster is going to be loaded with young pitching arms and the Mets positioning themselves for a playoff run in 2015.

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