The Mets will promote Triple-A LHP Josh Edgin in time for Thursday’s game, the team announced.
Edgin will join Jose Valverde, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Scott Rice and Carlos Torres in the team’s bullpen.
Edgin, who will wear No. 66, was 1-1 with a save and a 3.77 ERA in 28.2 innings and 34 games for the Mets last season.
Toby Hyde, Contributor
In replacing Kyle Farnsworth, the Mets swapped a right-hander for a left-hander and, in doing so, moved to address a major team weakness.
Entering play on Thursday night, left-handed hitters had a .770 OPS against the Mets, which is worst in the league (Baseball Reference, May 15).
Kyle Farnsworth was part of the problem. Overall, he had the lowest strikeout rate among Mets relievers, the second lowest FIP to Jose Valverde’s and he was worst in the bullpen against left-handed hitters. Lefty hitters have always shown more power than righties against Farnsworth, but – in 33 PA in 2014 - they hit .367 against him.
So, can Edgin help the big-league bullpen?
Edgin, 27, went from promising, hard-throwing lefty reliever in 2012, to disappointment in 2013, to an after thought in 2014 when he was one of the first players cut from Major League Spring Training.
He has not pitched very much in the big leagues (54.1 innings total) and he was below replacement level in 2012 and 2013. However, when he has been in the big leagues, Edgin has struck out left-handed batters, posting a healthy 28% strikeout rate. It’s the righties where things get weird. After fanning 27% of right-handed opponents in 45 plate appearances in 2012, that cratered to 6% in 64 plate appearances in 2013. That’s alarming.
In 2012, Terry Collins also did a better job of protecting Edgin from facing righties than he did in 2013. In 2012, 58% of Edgin’s batters were lefties, in 2013 that slipped to 48%.
On the eve of his return to the big leagues, Triple-A manager Wally Backman said that Edgin was throwing much better.
“Edgin was pitching in the upper 90s yesterday [May 6],” he told me. “He made some adjustments. It was the best I’ve seen him in two years.”
Edgin worked with pitching coordinator Ron Romanick and moved to the first base side of the rubber, which has helped him create a better angle against left-handed hitters. Backman also thought he was standing taller.
“He’s creating some depth with his breaking ball,” Backman said. “It was the first time we’ve seen it since Ron worked with him on it. It was a huge, huge improvement.”
To insure his success, the Mets need to make sure Edgin continues to implement what he and Ron Romanick worked on together at Triple-A. Equally important, the team needs to restrict Edgin to pitching only against left-handed hitters, especially considering his low strikeout rate against right-handed batters. In 2013 and 2014, Scott Rice has faced left-handed batters in 67% of his plate appearances. Edgin was far below that in 2012 and 2013, but needs to be restricted to the same kind of role.