Mets Notes: Herrera’s fast start, Duda’s contact, Turner’s RBIs

Since joining the Mets, Danny Herrera has faced 21 batters and allowed only three baserunners on two hits and a walk. That works out to a miniscule 0.474 WHIP. The surprising thing is how good Herrera has been versus RHB. Here are his splits this year with the Mets:

vs RHB – 1-10, SF, BB
vs LHB – 1-8, SAC

It’s not surprising Herrera has done so well against lefties, as he is a LOOGY after all. But his success in this brief sample versus RHB is nothing short of amazing. In his career in the majors, Herrera has a .569 OPS against versus lefties and a .948 mark against righties.

While Herrera will not be able to keep up this pace, especially against RHB, it will help tremendously in his case to make the 2012 Mets. Tim Byrdak has done a fine job in his role as the team’s LOOGY here in 2011. But Byrdak made $900,000 this year with another $300,000 in incentives also a part of his contract. With just over one year of service time coming into the season, Herrera will not be eligible for arbitration and will make roughly the league minimum next year, less than half of what Byrdak pulled down.

Byrdak did better than expected versus RHB this year, too. But he’ll turn 38 in the offseason and there’s no reason to pay a premium for 40 innings of work, which is about what Byrdak will finish the season with, as he sits at 35.1 IP through games of Thursday. If Herrera can be an effective LOOGY for the Mets, it will make the Francisco Rodriguez contract dump look even better.

DUDA MAKES CONTACT – Last year in his September callup, Lucas Duda had a 23.9 K%. This year in his first 10 games with the Mets, he had a 26.1 K%. But since coming up for good on June 10th, Duda has fanned 46 times in 303 PA for a 15.2 K%. He carries a .321 BABIP since the last recall and those two factors have helped him to an .851 OPS. It would be nice to see Duda increase his HR output, as he has just 9 HR in 285 ABs. But here’s where Citi Field rears its ugly head, as Duda has 7 HR this year on the road and only 2 HR at home. But he could conceivably up his HR production as he gains more experience. And right now the increased contact rate has served him well.

SCHWINDEN KEEPS BATTLING – After being knocked around in his first start, Chris Schwinden allowed 1 ER in 5 IP in his second start for the Mets. He doesn’t have great stuff but he throws four pitches and if he can keep the walks in check and keep the ball in the park, he’s got a chance to be a fifth starter in the majors. Earlier this year while he was succeeding in the minors, I compared him to Dillon Gee. So far this season, Gee has a 4.41 xFIP with an average fastball velocity of 89.8 miles per hour. Schwinden after two starts with the Mets clocks in with a 4.51 xFIP and an average fastball reading of 88.8 mph.

TURNER FINISHES SEASON STRONG – In his last 10 games, Justin Turner has a .912 OPS, fueled by 14 hits in 37 ABs. Throw in five walks and Turner has a .452 OBP in this stretch. But despite being on base nearly half of the time, Turner has scored only three runs in this span, an indication of the struggles of the offense here recently. Earlier in the year, Turner had a reputation as an RBI guy, but in this hot streak he has just, as Keith Hernandez would say, three ribeye steaks.

This season, Turner has come up with 264 baserunners. He has 49 RBIs and 4 HR, meaning he has driven in 45 of the 264 guys on base for a 17% OBI (others batted in) rate. That is the top rate for the current Mets starters (Duda has a 16% rate) but not one that jumps out as particularly noteworthy. Carlos Beltran had a 17.8 % OBI before he was dealt.

Unfortunately, Baseball-Reference does not have a split available for this number. My opinion is that Turner’s OBI% was in the 20s at the end of May and has been significantly lower ever since. Still, a 17% rate is a very strong number and it will be interesting to see if Turner can maintain that rate in the years to come.

OFFENSIVE WOES – The Mets have scored just 27 runs in their last 10 games and have gone 2-8 in that stretch. And one of the wins came via a 1-0 score. Terry Collins has kept the Mets from falling apart when it looked like that was imminent at several points earlier this season. He’ll have to continue to motivate the Mets if he wants to finish on a strong note. The club needs to go 8-4 to match last season’s disappointing finish.

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