It’s often said that having too many good players is a nice problem to have. Judging strictly by Spring Training results, that is exactly the dilemma the Mets have in figuring out who makes their bullpen. Through games of Sunday, the Mets have three relievers who have not allowed an earned run, one with an ERA under 1.00 and two with marks under 2.00 ERA. Only the three with a scoreless ERA are guaranteed spots on the team.
Let’s examine two pitchers seemingly on the bubble, although one seems more likely to make the squad. Which one would you prefer?
Pitcher A – 8 games, 10.2 IP, 1.69 ERA, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 5 BB, 9 Ks
Pitcher B – 10 games, 11.2 IP, 3.09 ERA, 10 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 4 BB, 5 Ks
Pitcher A turns 30 this May and has 153.2 IP in the majors under his belt. Last year he was 3-2 with a 2.95 ERA and had 42 Ks in 39.2 IP in the National League.
Pitcher B turned 24 in the offseason. He has yet to pitch a game in the majors. Last year he was 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA and had 50 Ks in 59.2 IP in Double-A.
Both pitchers are likely to be lost to other teams if the Mets try to send them to the minors. So, which one would you pick?
Pitcher A is Manny Acosta while Pitcher B is Pedro Beato. Acosta is clearly having the better Spring and he has a major league track record while Beato does not. But speculation is that Beato has a better shot of making the club than Acosta.
We know Francisco Rodriguez is the closer. Tim Byrdak is the LOOGY while D.J. Carrasco is the long man. That leaves four spots up for grabs. Taylor Buchholz has yet to give up a run this Spring. Blaine Boyer has a 0.90 ERA. Bobby Parnell is thought to be the closer of the future. Jason Isringhausen has a 1.29 ERA and is thought to be on the team if his elbow is sound.
Parnell has had the worst Spring of any of the candidates and with an option remaining it makes sense to send him to the minors. But some in the organization want him in the majors learning from Rodriguez and Isringhausen.
Boyer has a 4.63 lifetime ERA in 227.1 IP in the majors but because of his strong Spring, many think he should make the club. Last year he had 29 BB and 29 Ks in 57 IP with the Braves. General manager Sandy Alderson has talked about taking a player’s entire career into account when making roster decisions and if that is the case than Boyer will not make the club. He has very limited upside.
With the information available as we head into the last week of Spring Training, I would set the bullpen as Rodriguez, Isringhausen, Acosta, Beato, Buchholz, Byrdak and Carrasco.
Parnell gets to work on his consistency in the minors while Boyer and Pat Misch move on to other organizations. Both of those guys are welcome to join Triple-A Buffalo if they are not overwhelmed with other offers.