BP Speaks On the Mets Pen
THE BULLPEN: Baseball Prospectus is on board, are you?
- With Beltran on board, the Mets can expect to mash a little bit, and Pedro Martinez wearing blue and orange means that the other starters, with nary an ace among them, now have an outside shot at filling the shoes they're wearing. But Martinez's biggest problem is endurance, and that leads the Mets right into the heart of their biggest problem: the bullpen.
What does PECOTA think of this crowd? Some of what it cranks out might surprise you:
Player ERA EqERA
Heath Bell 3.55 3.84
Mike DeJean 3.97 4.29
Bartolome Fortunato 4.09 4.42
Matt Ginter 4.57 4.94
Felix Heredia 4.28 4.62
Braden Looper 3.48 3.76
We've shown you both the ERA projection and the Equivalent ERA projection to emphasize the effect of Shea Stadium. It's nothing special, but it's no horror show, especially if minor-league veteran Heath Bell emerges as PECOTA expects him to.
Would New Yorkers feel so nervous about the Met bullpen if it had an name-brand closer at the back end? Closers are nice, but their impact may be more psychological than real. Looper had his best season in '04, with a dramatic improvement in his control, so he's an asset in the ninth inning. The Met pen is low on star power, but has some depth thereafter. If a reliever is what will separate the Mets from the postseason, then they will have plenty of time to correct that during June and July.
Foolishly or not, I remain optimistic about the bullpen and the depth of the bullpen. This goes back to the question, would you rather have a rotation consisting of a guy who is equivalent to a #1 pitcher, a guy who is the equivalent to a #3 pitcher, two #4's and a guy like Imsmael Valdez holding down the last spot? Or would you rather have two #2's and three #3's. I liken this to the Mets situation because they do have a reliable closer and while Looper is not elite, he is certainly good enough to get the job down regardless of his late year antics. He clearly had his best season and maybe Professor Rick had a profound effect on him. Braden has some very good stuff. Mike DeJean is certainly not as bad as his Baltimore stats in 2004, but probably not as good as his Met stats in 2004. There is no reason why he cannot emerge to be a reliably 8th inning guy, but he will never be devastating. The rest is up for grabs and there are some wildcards in the mix, but the main idea is there is depth. There are choices and some actually do not look bad and a bullpen with six capable guys is not out of the question.
Anyone think Major League Baseball will start allowing valuable marketing real estate on players jerseys to be occupied like in the Caribbean League? I just could not see it happen, but really, nothing would surprise me at this point.
Here is an interesting tidbit from the piece on the Caribbean League:
Other than Tejada, Furcal, Durazo and Castilla, other Major Leaguers in action include Padres catcher Ramón Hernández playing third base for the Venezuelans; Diamondbacks shorstop Alex Cintrón with a young Puerto Rican squad; and with the Dominicans, Royals pitcher José Lima and Giants infielder Pedro Feliz.
Ramón Hernández is one catcher that I have an eye on for 2006 and it is pretty interesting to know he has the versatility to play third base.
Then there's Martinez. In his greatest season, with Boston in 2000, he hit 14 batters and had exactly one wild pitch. Hitters couldn't seem to get their at-bats over with that season, waiting out only 32 walks in 217 innings. Their aggressive approach resulted in a .167 batting average and 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
"Pedro just treats hitters with contempt," a scout said. "That's the thing that has always made him Pedro."
One thing I found curious was the honorable mentions, which were Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano, Kevin Brown and Jeff Weaver. No Randy Johnson? As for Weaver, I thought people usually laughed at him more than anything.
"We will complete a transaction," Kendrick, one of the team's general partners, said Tuesday night. "We feel confident we're going to bring in a new center fielder to complete the team."
Although neither Kendrick nor Garagiola would discuss any trade specifics, it is known that the players most clubs generally ask about in connection with possible deals include starting pitcher Brandon Webb, new first baseman Chad Tracy and top prospects Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, Sergio Santos and Ramon Antonio Peña.
Umm...if Cammie brings Webb or Quentin, I'd wave goodbye in a second. Even if there is no Magglio in RF.