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Is it EY’s Time Now?

The company line on why Eric Young, Jr. was not on the postseason roster was because it was impractical to carry a pinch runner in the National League. Well, it’s now the World Series, and the Royals have homefield, so it is time to readdress the issue. 

If you watched last night‘s game, you could see the importance of a pinch runner in an American League park. Dalton Pompey pinch ran for Russell Martin last night and got himself to third with no outs. He represented the tying run. It’s still incredible the Blue Jays couldn’t knock him in. 

On the flip side is Terrance Gore. He should be 5/5 in stolen base attempts in the postseason. On face value, the Royals use him judiciously. They pick their spots. However, at the end of the day, he’s only appeared in eight games and scored two runs. This shows pinch runners can be valuable, but their value is limited to the hitters behind him knocking him in. 

Based upon his history with the Mets, EY could be a valuable pinch runner. If these games get tight late, his speed would be of enormous value, especially against a very good Royals bullpen. Still, I think I would have to pass. 

First, the Mets need Kirk Nieuwenhuis now more than ever with Yoenis Cespedes‘ shoulder injury. Nieuwenhuis is the only OF on the team who can play all three OF spots well. Plus, Nieuwenhuis is a better baseball player. He’s a better defender and a better hitter. While he doesn’t have Young’s speed, he certainly has enough to be an effective base runner. 

That would mean if the Mets want to add Young, they need to go down to 10 pitchers. It’s something the team has previously considered (off of memory, can’t find a supporting link). It’s an intriguing idea with the length the starters are giving and how effective Bartolo Colon has been. Other than the big three in the back of the pen and Colon, here’s how many appearances and innings the other relievers have:

  1. Jon Niese – 2 appearances, 0.2 IP 
  2. Hansel Robles – 1 appearance, 1.0 IP
  3. Erik Goeddel* – 1 appearance, 0 IP
  4. Sean Gilmartin* – 0 appearances

Note: Gilmartin replaced Goeddel on the NLCS roster.

Overall, the Mets have not needed to go deep into the bullpen. However, I would still be loathe to reduce the number of available pitchers. First, Steven Matz is not going deep into games. If this continues and one other starter falters, the Mets bullpen is a disaster for the rest of the World Series. Second, it’s not necessary. 

Salvador Perez used to be elite in throwing out runners. Just last year he threw out 42% of would be base stealers. That was tops in the AL. That percentage has dipped to 31%. In this postseason, baserunners have been successful six of seven tries against Perez, including three in the ninth inning last night. 

The long story, short is you can run on Perez.  You just need to pick your spots. Accordingly, you don’t need to deplete a bigger team need. With the way the Mets ran in the NLCS, they don’t need a super pinch runner. They just need to continue what they’re doing.

That means unfortunately they don’t have a need for EY in the World Series roster. 

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