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Saturday, March 3, 2007

New York Mets Bullpen Analysis

We continue our New York Mets day of analysis with the bullpen. Billy Wagner is the only real fantasy option for 5x5 leagues

Billy Wagner
What’s not to like? A K/9 between 10 and 11 and a BB/9 in the mid 2s makes for a beast of a pitcher. Throw in a 52.8% GB Percentage in 2006, although it was closer to 45% in 2005 and 2004. Either way, Wagner is one of the top relief pitchers in all of baseball. Needless to say, he is also a very good fantasy option.

Aaron Heilman
Heilman is one of the premier setup men in Major League Baseball. His K/9 was 8.83 in 2005 and 7.55 in 2006, so I think a K/9 in the high 7s or low 8s is reasonable for Heilman this year. A BB/9 around 3 is also probable. Add in a GB Percentage around 45% and Heilman should be one of the top relievers in a very good Mets bullpen this year.

Duaner Sanchez
May not be ready for opening day, but Sanchez is a very good reliever that the Mets will need to get them through the year. A K/9 in the mid-7s is a good start, but in order for Sanchez to become elite he needs to improve his control. His BB/9 was 3.90 and 3.95 in 2006 and 2005. That leaves his K/BB a tick below 2. A GB Percentage in the high 40s helps make up for this, but his BBs will really need to come down for Sanchez to become great.

Scott Schoeneweis
As is more common with relievers than starters, Schoeneweis’s K rate is somewhat inconsistent. Floating between 5.05 and 6.79 the past three years, a K/9 closer to 5.5 should be expect in addition to a BB/9 rate around 4. This is not ideal for a reliever, its not even really good. Schoeneweis makes up for it somewhat with a 58% GB Percentage over the past two years. While Schoeneweis is ok, the Mets will miss Chad Bradford a lot this year.

Pedro Feliciano
After playing a year in Japan in 2005, the Mets brought him back in 2006. He posted an 8.06 K/9, a little above his 7.78 career average, although he’d only pitched 72.2 major league innings before that. I think a regression to the mid-to-high 7s seems reasonable. Feliciano seems to have good control. He posted a 2.70 BB/9 last year. As this was a career worst (excluding 2002 when he only pitched 6 innings), I see this coming down a little bit to the low-to-mid 2s range. His GB Percentage was 49.4% last year, and he has a career 46.1% GB Percentage. This makes Feliciano a very good lefty relief option… certainly better than Schoeneweis.

Ambiorix Burgos
Burgos is known for his high K rates. He should probably strikeout a batter per inning in the majors, but for him to become a top reliever he needs to dramatically decrease his walks totals. His BB/9 has been around 4.5 the past two years, and a 2.0 K/BB isn’t as good for a reliever as it is for a starter. He still could be a good option for the backend of the Mets bullpen though, especially if his BB/9 can get down even to the low 3s. A GB Percentage of 43.3% in 2006 and 48.9% in 2005 makes for an average around 45%, which is above average and a good number. The bottom-line is that Burgos could one day become a great reliever if he can lower his walks.

Jon Adkins
A K/9 between 5 and 6 and a BB/9 between 1.5 and 2.2 in 2004 and 2006 (he didn’t pitch much in the majors in 2005) makes for a decent reliever. His minor league K numbers were never that impressive though, so a K/9 below 5 is a possibility. He had a 46% GB rate in 2004 and a 40% GB rate in 2006, so his skill at this could certainly be worse. Adkins wouldn’t be a terrible choice to round out the bullpen, but there are better relievers out there.

Joe Smith
Smith, a 2006 3rd round pick of the Mets, only pitched 20 innings for Brooklyn (low A ball) and 12.2 inning for Binghampton (AA) in 2006, but they were impressive innings. Talk out of Spring Training indicates he could make the jump to Flushing this year. He had a 60.2% GB Percentage, 12.60 K/9, and 1.35 BB/9 for Brooklyn. While we are dealing with an extremely small sample size, it is very impressive. I am excited to see what he can do over a full season, be it in the minors or the majors.

That wraps up the Mets Bullpen analysis. It looks like we will see a very good year out of the Bullpen, but Chad Bradford's 3.46 K/BB ratio and 64% GB Percentage will certainly be missed. Lefty or not, Scott Schoeneweis was a much worse investment than Chad Bradford. I'm very disappointed Omar didn't realize this.

Most stats and batted ball figures can be found at The Hardball Times.
Minor league stats and batted ball figures for 2006 can be found at Minor League Splits
Career minor league stats can be found at The Baseball Cube.

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