Monday, May 14, 2012

Mets Closer Analysis

I was not happy this weekend. The Mets should have had a series sweep against the Marlins and twice Frank Frank blew 9th inning leads and totally lost his cool on Sunday. I think at this point, I am ready to be done with Frank Frank as closer. I usually advocate giving a player a good long time in a role and am against hasty decisions but I think his career arc has shown he is not an everyday closer. He usually starts off well and falls apart, he appears to be doing so again. The question then becomes, if we replace Francisco, who do we replace him with. Let's look at a table that show us the value of the 2012 Mets bullpen using fWAR:

Player
fWAR
Byrdak
0.3
Parnell
0.3
Rauch
0.3
Ramirez
0.1
Carrasco
0
Hefner
0
Batista
-0.1
Francisco
-0.1
Acosta
-0.6

Does anyone else find this list totally unsurprising? Acosta has been awful and should not be appearing in pro baseball games until he has worked his issues out. Using this list the three candidates for closer would be the three guys tied for first: Byrdak, Parnell and Rauch. Let's take a look at some of their individual numbers.

Byrdak
IP
ERA
xFIP
SV
BS
K%
BB%
Career
341.2
4.26
4.38
4
7
21.5
13.1
2012
10.1
3.48
1.94
0
1
41
7.7

Byrdak makes the least compelling case. His numbers are perfectly acceptable for an average middle relief guy, which has been his role for years but not for our everyday closer. He has almost never been in a closer role and I see no need to put him there now. He is excelling as a set-up man this year and we need him to keep that up.

Rauch
IP
ERA
xFIP
SV
BS
K%
BB%
Career
536
3.79
4.37
59
29
18.9
7.3
2012
15.1
2.93
4.43
1
2
11.5
4.9

I would like to see a higher K% from a closer and he certainly has blown a ton of saves over the years. I have the same fears with him as I do with Frank Frank and that is history. Rauch has never been able to successfully hold down a closers job in the past so what evidence do I have he can do it now? He has pitched well this season and might deserve a shot at the role and might surprise us and excel, however I remain officially wary.

Parnell
IP
ERA
xFIP
SV
BS
K%
BB%
Career
203
4.15
3.79
7
12
20.7
9.4
2012
16
3.79
2.65
0
0
22.5
4.2

Finally we have young Bobby Parnell. He has a low ERA/xFIP this year and sub 4 career xFIP. I like his K% but his career BB% is far too high for a regular closer. He has also blown more saves than he has recorded (although he hasn't had many opportunities to draw from). Bobby probably has the most upside here. His numbers are all OK and he is the only one who hasn't been given a chance yet. My vote would be to give him the job and enough time to get good at it. It's the move that seems to make the most sense to the organization right now, who is going to need a competent closer for years to come, not just 2012.



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