One of the biggest surprises of the 2012 has been the dominance of the Mets bullpen. Frank Francisco has nailed down three saves without walking a single batter (and striking out seven). Jon Rauch has only surrendered one hit in 6.6 innings pitched. Tim Byrdak has yet to surrender a base to a left-handed hitter. Heck, Bobby Parnell‘s decision to ditch the slider and change-up for a curveball seems to be keeping him on and hitters off-balance. Yet, despite all the good, there is some bad. Some very bad. That being Miguel Batista.
Batista has entered four games so far this season, and has not pitched well in any of them. In his season debut, the right-hander got the quick strikeout in the sixth inning, but walked two batters in the seventh without recording a single out. In the very next game, Batista was brought-on in the eighth inning, and was immediately ineffective. The pitcher loaded the bases with two walks and a hit before finally settling down to “just” give-up one run.
As if the Nationals didn’t prove themselves enough against Batista, the righty entered his third game against the team, and quickly got into a self-inflicted jam: a single, hit by the pitch, and walk. He did not even record an out. And finally, in his most recent outing against the Phillies, Batista epitomized his mediocrity by walking-in a run, and then giving up two hits (a double and single). In total, the damage has been a 10.13 ERA, 3.75 WHIP, and 0.40 K/BB in 2.6 IP.
But here’s the real question: if the Mets were to hand Batista his walking papers, is there anyone to take his place? Unlike the rotation or bench, the Mets have plenty of bullpen depth in Triple-A. The Buffalo Bisons have at least three relievers who could be more helpful to the Mets than Miguel Batista–those being Jack Egbert (0.00 ERA, 0.42 WHIP, 7.00 K/BB), Danny Herrera (1.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 1.67 K/BB), and Chuck James (0.00 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 1.67 K/BB). It was a surprise to see Batista make the team in the first place, so it wouldn’t be much of one to see him gone.