2011 Season in Review: Dale Thayer

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 Dale Thayer.

For a player with such a successful track record in the Minors, Dale Thayer has hardly received a chance in the show. In nine Minor League seasons (including 2011), Thayer has owned a 2.49 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 3.11 K/BB, and 173 Saves. Yet prior to 2011, the 30 year-old only logged 12.3 combined innings in 2009 and 2010 in the Major Leagues. While that trend didn’t change much in 2011, the right-hander did pitch a very notable 10.3 innings for the New York Mets.

Thayer was one of many players handed Minor League deals by Sandy Alderson during the off-season. Much in-line with his history, the reliever absolutely dominated Triple-A hitters, hurling a 2.66 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 4.40 K/BB, and 21 Saves in 71 innings for Buffalo. His undeniable success was meekly rewarded by the Mets, as he saw a bit of action in late-May and early-June (4.50 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 1:0 K/BB in 4 IP), before being sent back down.

The righty was summoned again in September (a few weeks after the Francisco Rodriguez trade), and quietly became a reliable source of relief outs (2.84 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 4:0 K/BB in 6.3 IP). On the whole, Thayer owned a 3.48 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 5:0 K/BB in 10.3 innings.  Aside from posting respectable surface stats, it should be noted that the pitcher did not let-up a single walk in his tenure with the Mets.

Thayer’s sample size in the Majors was too small to make an overarching claim about his 2011 performance or any future one, but even those 10.3 innings were certainly a testament to the type of pitcher he could be. In addition to not walking a batter, the righty also exhibited three decent pitches. Thayer relied mostly on his fastball (he threw 77.5% of the time), which averaged a respectable 92.8 MPH. The reliever also threw a slider (average of 82.4 MPH) and change-up (82.5 MPH). In regards to RAA, his fastball was the most successful, earning 1.3 RAA, while his slider and change-up earned -0.3 and -0.7 RAA, respectively.

As of October 26, Dale Thayer became a free agent. Given his lack of Major League experience, it’s unlikely he’ll garner said contract in 2012, but there should and will be interest on a Minor League deal. Even though Thayer’s contribution to the 2011 Mets was comparatively microscopic, the reliever still deserves another shot with the franchise–and possibly in a bigger, more consistent role.

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