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Mets Don’t Need More Left-Handed Relievers

Each and every offseason, the common refrain is the Mets are in need of an additional left-handed reliever in the bullpen. Mostly, it is a call for the Mets to add a second left-handed pitcher, but this offseason it is more of a need to add a primary left-handed reliever. Time and again, this call misses the mark because what the team needs, what any team needs, is good relievers regarded of handedness.

While not axiomatic, the 2015 Mets who went to the World Series are a good example of this. Their left-handed reliever situation was a mess. Jerry Blevins injured himself early in the year, and then he would injure himself again. Alex Torres was terrible until he was finally released. They took a flyer on Eric O’Flaherty late in the year, and he was worse than Torres. Their one left-handed pitcher who made the full season was Sean Gilmartin, who was the long man in the bullpen, and he actually had reverse splits.

The reason why the Mets were able to make it work was because the team had right-handed relievers who pitched well against left-handed pitching. In fact, if you just looked at the splits and ignored the handedness of the pitchers, you would believe each one of them was actually a LOOGY:

When you boil it down, who cares if the pitcher is right-handed, left-handed, or Pat Venditte? The goal is to get batters out, and you want the pitcher most effective at getting those outs on the mound. If you look at the current Mets bullpen, the team has right-handed pitchers who have had success against left-handed hitters:

Right there, your three most trusted relievers are pitchers you trust to get left-handed batters out in pressure situations. Delving into their young right-handed power arms, Tyler Bashlor and Eric Hanhold have also posted good numbers against left-handed hitters. This also overlooks Daniel Zamora who utilized his excellent spin rates to hold left-handed hitters to a .222 batting average against during his brief time in the majors.

Assuming the Mets go with Zamora and one of their young right-handed power arms, the 2019 Mets bullpen will have five pitchers who pitch well against left-handed hitters. Adding another arm to address getting left-handed hitters out is superfluous. Moreover, when you look at how Mickey Callaway uses his bullpen combined with this being an era of increased bullpen use, you really have to question the wisdom of having two of your seven relievers dedicated to getting one batter out a game.

Ultimately, this should be about getting the best relievers you possibly can. If that reliever happens to be left-handed, great. Certainly, someone like a Justin Wilson is good against right and left-handed batters. However, if that guy is Tony Sipp or someone of his ilk, you really have to wonder why this team would limit the manager and tax the better arms in the bullpen to get just two batters out per game. Really, when you break it down, the Mets need better, not more limited, arms.

6 thoughts on “Mets Don’t Need More Left-Handed Relievers”

  1. OldBackstop says:

    Wrong. We need lefty relievers.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      False. The Mets need good and versatile ones.

  2. oldbackstop says:

    Dude, do you think Familia giving up .256 is a “success?” MLB average batting average last year was .247. Famila’s splits against rights are insanely better, 61 points career, 69 last year. THAT is what is going to get the other bench moving, a guy that your chances look like .187.

    Whether we know the number or not, part of the game here is to get their starters out of the game and get to the second tier and winnow their options.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Yes, those are decent numbers, and you’re not getting much better numbers from a guy who can only pitch to one guy.

  3. OldBackstop says:

    Looking at the minorly interesting guys out there, Ollie was getting guys out at .104 and Blevins at .134. You just don’t just “punt” while building a competitive team in rhe bullpen.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      First of all, no one suggested to punt anything. Second, you’re using the numbers against right-handed and not left-handed batters, numbers which were outliers for what they’ve posted in their careers.

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