2011 Season in Review: Taylor Buchholz

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 reliever Taylor Buchholz.

It is no secret how much the Mets bullpen struggled in 2011.  Outside of Francisco Rodriguez, Terry Collins had a difficult time finding a reliever to pitch with anything resembling consistency.  There was, however, one reliever who pitched well and consistently for two months before his season came to an abrupt end: Taylor Buchholz.

Signed to a $600,000 contract last offseason, Buchholz was viewed as a low-risk high reward type of player.  After a stellar 2008 season with the Colorado Rockies, the righty missed all of 2009 following Tommy John surgery and then only appeared in nine games in 2010 due to lower back problems.  Sandy Alderson and company were banking on Buchholz to regain his prior form, and for two months, the Amazins were able to cash in.

In 26 innings, Buchholz allowed nine earned runs on 22 hits and just seven walks (a 3.12 ERA and 1.115 WHIP) while punching out 26.  His weak spot was the long ball (he served up five of them), but for the most part he was effective.  From April 9th to May 13th (15 appearances), Buchholz allowed just two earned runs on seven hits and five walks while fanning 16 over 15.2 innings pitched.  It was around then that Buchholz began to struggle, and he was placed on the disabled list on June 1st with shoulder fatigue.  It was later determined that Buchholz was suffering from depression and anxiety, and that he wouldn’t return in 2011.

Buchholz is arbitration eligible, and what to do with the 30 year old right-hander is up for debate.  The team could easily non-tender him, but it makes some sense to offer him arbitration, assuming he is feeling well enough to pitch.  It is difficult to imagine Buchholz earning much more than he did last year, since he was only active for two months, so why not bring him back?  Buchholz showed the ability to strike batters out, command the strike zone, and effectively mix his fastball and curve.  He is not a make or break player, but Buchholz could once again serve as a cheap, reliable reliever, giving Alderson one less roster spot to worry about as he remakes the bullpen.

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Tags: 2011 In Review 2011 Season In Review Amazins Matt Kaufman Mets New York New York Mets New York Mets Taylor Buchholz Rising Apple Sandy Alderson Taylor Buchholz Taylor Buchholz Arbitration Taylor Buchholz Disabled List Taylor Buchholz Injury Terry Collins

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