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Mets Must Pitch J.D. Davis Early And Often

Major League Baseball has implemented new rules which not only restrict the use of left-handed relievers (i.e. LOOGYS), but they have also severely restricted the ability of position players to pitch in games. In fact, according to the new rules, a position player may not pitch unless it is extra innings or “his team is losing or winning by more than six runs when he enters as a pitcher.”

There is a caveat there where a position player can freely enter a game if they are designated as a two-way player. A two way player is someone who has 20 games started as a position player and has pitched 20 innings. As the rule implies, this is a status a player achieves during the course of the season.

Obviously, the 20 way player rule was implemented for a player like Shohei Ohtani who serves as both the Angels DH and a member of their pitching rotation. However, that does not mean other teams should not look to take advantage of this rule.

For the Mets, that means pitching J.D. Davis every opportunity they get.

When the Mets traded for Davis, one of the justifications for the deal was he could step in a reliever if needed. In fact, in his brief Major League career up until that point, Davis had made three relief appearances for the Houston Astros allowing an earned run over 2.2 innings. In those 2.2 innings, he struck out four and walked one.

That was his first pitching experience since college. While at Cal State Fullerton, Davis had 20 appearances. While pitching 43.1 innings, he had a 2.70 ERA, 1.177 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, and an 8.1 K/9. In his draft report, Baseball America noted ” shows good arm strength off the mound, showing 91-93 mph heat and a decent breaking ball, but his fastball is straight and his arm action isn’t great.”

Put more succinctly, Davis isn’t a Major League quality reliever, but he is a capable pitcher who could help a team out of the bullpen in a real pinch. The thing is you never know when that pinch is going to come.

Far too often, we see times in the season where the Mets pitching staff is completely gassed. The pitchers weren’t giving the length needed. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have begun piling up the multiple inning outings. That puts more of an onus on the one inning relievers to push harder than they typically should. Following the Mets, this happens at least twice a year.

With those stretches, an already questionable Mets bullpen will cost the Mets some games they wouldn’t otherwise lose. The job for new manager Luis Rojas and new pitching coach Jeremy Hefner is to find ways to mitigate against that. While being more judicious in how you use your pitching is one element, another is knowing when you send out a position player to pitch.

Early in the season, whenever the Mets have a six run lead or deficit, they should put Davis into the game to accrue innings necessary to achieve that two way player designation. Later in the season, that will allow the Mets to use him in four or five run games when they feel they need to save their pitching staff to give them a break.

Remember, this is an extremely talented Mets bullpen, but it is one with some health issues. Lugo has the torn UCL. Gsellman partially tore his lat. Dellin Betances is coming off an Achillies, and he had shoulder issues prior to that. Justin Wilson pitched through elbow soreness. Edwin Diaz has bone spurs in his pitching elbow. Michael Wacha was shut down with shoulder problems multiple times in his career.

Point is, bullpens, even the best bullpens, need breaks whenever they can get them. That can come in the form of a Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard complete game, and it can come in the form of Davis coming into a game and eating an inning here or there when the opportunity presents itself.

In order to really accomplish that, the Mets should remember a 162 game season is a marathon, and they need to prepare in April and May for problems which may come into play in July and August. Those problems are usually bullpen exhaustion related. To best prepare for that, the Mets should begin implementing strategies to get Davis qualified as a two way player so he is available when they really need help down in the bullpen.

32 thoughts on “Mets Must Pitch J.D. Davis Early And Often”

  1. Oldbackstop says:

    You don’t make one of your top two or three hitters cannon fodder for garbage time innings. Those are game situations where you rest your position player studs.

    JD has suffered from seesawing back and forth to the majors and seeing time at four positions plus pitching. He should be stuck in one position and let his athleticism and extraordinary work ethic finetune his game. Instead they are bouncing him from third to left and now pitching.

    With the extra slot we can have another bullpen arm for garbage time or shuttle some swingman back and forth from AAA up the Thruway.

    For JD to rapidly and safely accumulate 20 innings he would have to make a major dedication to conditioning and training in the spring. He is, literally, the worst guy to choose to dilute his practice time as a position player.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Davis isn’t one of their top hitters. Really, he’s not even an everyday player.

      1. me says:

        400+ ABs, .895 OPS. I’d call that a regular AND a top player.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          .385 BABIP from June 1st on. That’s not repeatable, and that’s before you consider he doesn’t have a position

          1. Oldbackstop says:

            Do you understand Babip at all?

            Do you understand that players who maintain a high BaBip year after year like Yelich have stats that explain them, like high avg exit velocity and low percentage of balls hit softly?

            JD was at the top in a slew of those categories in 2019. And that isn’t lucky.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            I understand it enough to know a .385 BABIP is completely unsustainable

        2. Oldbackstop says:

          You missed last week when MD explained that there was a superball in 2019 that was only pitched to JD and the rest of the team didn’t get it and that was why he had the highest .OPS in the history of CitiField.

          1. metsdaddy says:

            I must’ve missed that too because that’s not what I said.

        3. Oldbackstop says:

          In addition to JD not being an everyday player, MetsDaddy also thinks we should hire back Beltran as manager and should have worked Alonso into an expanded Cano deal.

          Seriously.

          1. metsdaddy says:

            You can at least represent what I say correctly:

            1. I said the Mets should not have fired Beltran. I never said he should be re-hired.

            2. I said Alonso as a possibility in a deal where you’re getting Cano, Diaz, and Haniger with the Mariners taking back horrid contracts like Bruce and Vargas.

  2. Oldbackstop says:

    MetsDaddy, you scrape BVW over the coals weekly here for the Cano deal when the deal you proposed was far, far worse.

    You wanted to get Diaz, Cano and Haniger (who batted .219 in an injury filled 2019).

    For that you proposed sending Alonso, Dom Smith, Gimenez, Bruce and Jason Vargas.

    The deal BVW put together was far better, we didn’t get saddled with Haniger, he got $20 million in cash, and, oh yeah, we didn’t trade the RoY. We also didn’t have to replace the best fifth starter in baseball in the first half of 2019.

    Yet you bash him on the Cano trade every week.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      The deal BVW executed was far, far worse.

      Far worse.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        I see. Of course, you really didn’t see much future for Alonso, correct? You cited his 2018 BaBip and thought he shouldn’t even start 2019 in the majors, isn’t that correct?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          My main issues with Alonso were his not looking ready at the end of the Triple-A season.

          He had issues with the breaking ball, became increasingly pull happy against better pitching, had issues with the breaking ball (especially sliders), and he still had a ways to go on defense.

          He deserves a ton of credit for the work he put in during the offseason to address these issues.

          1. oldbackstop says:

            Why do you keep saying .385 for JD? His 2019 BaBIP is .355. Now far at all above Rosario and McNeil. In his 2018 season at AAA his Babip was .344. Previously in the minors he had seasons as high as .374.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            That was his BABIP from June 1 on. Without that unrepeatable BABIP, he was an uninspiring .257/.327/.434 hitter

  3. Oldbackstop says:

    At any rate, the premise here is moronic. You have a smoking hot young batting talent who desperately needs work with the glove. You don’t divide his attention and reps by making him a garbage time pitcher. Let Nido pitch.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I’m sorry you are incapable of understanding how important protecting your bullpen is

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        The 3 batter rule, the 26th man, and a AAA team in the same state more than balance the risk of an arm injury to a young batting star who is being jerked all over the field as it is.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          You’re wrong

  4. Oldbackstop says:

    I’m demonstrably right and gave reasons.

    At any rate, JD jammed his non-throwing shoulder, yesterday. Hopefully it is minor but it will cut down on his spring training. When he is back he should be focused of first and third. Not pitching, or catching, or shortstop, or pole vaulting.

    I’ll wager that JD had the greatest gap between oWAR and dWAR in baseball, 5.5. Why? Because he had a terrible start at third, a bunch of errors in April. He then was bounced between third and left field, without getting settled in at either….and he had irregular playing time. Despite that he had the NL Defensive Play of the Week in left. He is an amazing athlete….he just needs to be settled in at one position and get comfortable. If he can get to an even dWAR, his oWAR last year was 3.1 in 400 ABs, about two third of a season. With a full dose of ABs JD would be cracking the Top Ten in a number of offensive categories.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      You offered nonsense, and I’ll note JD is not a good fielder anywhere on the field. Overall, he’s a bit players, and bit players need to be utilized in a way to help the team.

      The best thing he could do is to pitch in occasion.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        You are wrong.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          OAA, DRS, and over 150 years of BABIP data support my argument.

          1. oldbackstop says:

            Yeah, the guy that just had the best OPS in the history of Citifield should pitch.

            You stick JD at third and give him Rosario’s 2019 at bats, that is 33 home runs.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Yes, he should, especially when you consider we should not over rely upon small sample sizes wrought with issues regarding its repeatability.

  5. oldbackstop says:

    Oh, just so you recall, home runs don’t factor into BaBip.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I’m well aware how BABIP is calculated. I’m also well aware a .385 BABIP is not sustainable.

  6. oldbackstop says:

    You don’t seem concerned with your love of projecting Dom Smith, who has 50 fewer major league plate appearances.

    And I would think that there would a level of comfort projecting a guy coming off an AAA batting title with monster exit velocity, a low soft ball percentage among the league leaders, and who is hitting titanic home runs.

    But….why try to reason with you? Yeah, let’s see if you can blow his elbow out and make him a garbage time pitcher,

    1. metsdaddy says:

      As usual, when you’ve run proven wrong time and again, you opt to attack Dom Smith.

  7. Brian Reilly says:

    You’re a moron

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Valuable input

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