This is Pat Misch’s third season with the Mets. In that time span, Misch has gone back and forth between starting and relieving and Buffalo and New York, doing everything that the organization has asked of him. In that way, he has been an asset to the organization. But is it time to cut ties with this loyal player?
Currently, Misch is the seventh man in the bullpen and he is held out for mop-up duty. In his last three appearances, the Mets lost those games by a combined 27-7 margin. According to FanGraphs, Misch has an average Leverage Index of 0.25 this year. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Leverage Index (LI) is a measure of how important the situation that a player performs in. A very important situation would carry a LI of 1.5 or above. An average situation would have an LI of around 1.0.
Francisco Rodriguez leads Mets pitchers with a 2.16 LI. That makes sense, as he pitches the ninth inning with the game on the line. Right behind him is Jason Isringhausen with a 1.93 LI. Every other pitcher on the staff has their LI fall between 1.26 and 0.75 except for one – Misch and his 0.25 LI.
In addition to pitching the least valuable innings by far of anyone on the staff, Misch checks in with a 7.50 ERA, having allowed runs in three of his six appearances. He’s the mop-up guy but has yet to have an appearance of more than 2.0 IP this season. Two of his appearances were for less than an inning.
What is he bringing to the table?
With Dillon Gee already in the rotation, Misch is next in line should one of the current starters get injured. Or he is until Johan Santana is ready to return from the DL. So the Mets are using a roster spot on a player who they refuse to use in anything resembling an important situation in case one of their starters gets hurt in the next six weeks.
This seems like a waste. Especially when you consider that Taylor Buchholz and Isringhausen, two pitchers coming off arm injuries, have already been used nine time each this month and may not be able to handle a heavy workload over the full season. It would be nice if there was another reliever that Terry Collins had confidence in to use in close games.
Throughout Spring Training, I beat the drum for Manny Acosta to be on the team. Despite pitching well for the Mets last year (2.95 ERA, 1.210 WHIP) and having a strong Grapefruit League season (1.69 ERA, 1.031 WHIP), Acosta was left off the roster for Blaine Boyer. That one didn’t work out too well.
Acosta compounded things by struggling with his command in Buffalo, as he allowed 10 BB in his first 7 IP. But since then, Acosta has been very effective. In nine May appearances, he has a 0.87 ERA with 15 Ks in 10.3 IP. He has allowed 6 BB in that same span, but three of those came in one outing.
Bringing up Acosta for Misch would give Collins another arm to use in the sixth and seventh innings of tight games. There would be nothing preventing Collins from using Acosta in blowout situations for which Misch is currently deployed. Acosta went 3.0 IP in an outing last year for the Mets and went more than 1.0 IP in 10 of his 41 appearances.
The Mets already put Misch through waivers twice this season, so it’s reasonable to think he would clear again. And if he doesn’t, then Chris Schwinden and his 2.36 ERA in 45.2 IP at Triple-A becomes next in line for an emergency start.
It may be less than ideal to have Schwinden start major league games in June but let’s not pretend that we would be doing cartwheels to see Misch on the mound in the first inning. In 13 starts for the Mets, Misch is 3-7 with a 4.50 ERA and peripherals that suggest he was lucky to have an ERA that low.
I like having Misch in the organization. But right now he is not helping the club by being on the major league roster. His value comes in his ability to fill in as a starter. Until the time he is needed to take the mound in that capacity, he should be in Buffalo, replaced by a pitcher who can get key outs with the game on the line.
The Mets need to promote Acosta for that role.