The New York Mets went 77-85 in 2011. As suggested by the sub-par record, there were a fair share of ups and downs throughout the season. “2011 Season in Review,” which will be an ongoing series, will analyze every single Mets player that picked up a ball or glove in 2011, for better or worse. This particular “2011 Season in Review” will take a look at pitcher Chris Schwinden.
Chris Schwinden was never considered a top prospect (or even a prospect), but prior to 2011, the guy had some pretty solid Minor League seasons. In his professional debut during 2008, Schwinden hurled a 2.01 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 5.83 K/BB in 62.6 innings for the Cyclones. The Mets bumped the right-hander up to Advanced-A in 2009, where he posted an impressive 3.34 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 5.11 K/BB in 126.6 innings. While his strikeouts dropped noticeably (from 10.1 K/9 to 6.5 K/9), Schwiney’s rock-solid control stayed consistent (from 1.7 BB/9 to 1.3 BB/9).
But the righty couldn’t quite figure out Double-A hitting in 2010, where he pitched to the tune of a 5.56 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and 3.63 K/BB in 79.3 innings. His combined 4.43 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and 3.83 K/BB in 113.6 during the 2010 season partially hid his Double-A failures, yet the Mets still pushed him along through the system. In fact, Schwinden pitched just 3 innings in Double-A during 2011 before finally seeing Triple-A hitters. Despite getting roughed up by Double-A, Schwinden excelled in the higher level, posting a 3.87 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 2.90 K/BB. Even though his control spiked to un-Schwinden-levels (2.9 BB/9 versus 2.0 career BB/9), his strikeouts numbers from 2008 reappeared (8.3 K/9).
Finally, on September 6, Chris Schwinden got the call to the show. His first career Major League start occurred two days later against the Atlanta Braves, where he hurled an un-miraculous 5 innings–giving-up 8 hits, 5 earned-runs, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts. But after his debut, Schwinden got the hang of it. The righty combined for a solid 3.38 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 2.6 K/BB over his next three starts (against the Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cincinnati Reds, respectively). Opposing hitters only owned a .246/.304/.361 line against him during that stint, and his .300 BABIP was, well, perfect.
While his four starts in 2011 were a small sample size (4.71 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and 2.83 K/BB in 21 innings), Chris Schwinden showed some undeniable talent. He mixed in his four promising pitches well (fastball, cutter, curveball, and change-up), without relying on any one of them too much (he threw his fastball 45.3% of the time). Granted, his fastball’s average MPH was a little underwhelming (89.1 MPH), both his change-up (average of 81.3 MPH) and curveball (average of 74.4 MPH) kept hitters off-balance.
There’s a good chance the 24 year-old will start 2012 in the Minor Leagues, but Schwinden showed enough poise to at least earn a look during Spring Training and throughout the season.
Tags: 2011 Season In Review 2011 Season In Review Chris Schwinden 2011 Season In Review Schwinden Ben Berkon Chris Schwinden Mets Mets Rotation 2012 Mets Rotation 2012 Chris Schwinden New York New York Mets Rising Apple Schwinden