The Mets bullpen depth is being tested right away. After only day two of pitchers and catchers, the relief corp already suffered its first setback. Terry Collins was interviewed Tuesday afternoon on WFAN’s Mike Francesa Show, which is summarized in its entirety on Rising Apple by Danny Abriano. Coach revealed Frank Francisco‘s right elbow is still swollen after undergoing off-season surgery. Terry Collins was previously on record earlier this month saying Francisco would be the team’s closer entering the season. As such, plan-B is now in effect. Coach informed his radio host and listeners that Bobby Parnell will now be the Mets closer when they break camp, and Brandon Lyon will remain in the set-up role.
For Bobby Parnell, this will be his third crack at closing games in the last three seasons. Bobby pitched to mixed results in his previous two auditions. Rising Apple’s senior editor, Matt Musico, recently expressed his hopes Bobby Parnell would one day soon seize the closers role, and why he might finally be readyto meet the challenge this time around.
The calendar still says February, but the Mets bullpen is already faced with having to pick up the slack. Without throwing a regular season pitch yet, the bullpen is now being asked to do a little more, work a little harder, and be a little better about it. That sounds like the perfect job for Josh Edgin. If at this time last year Mets fans didn’t know who he was, they sure know who this former 30th round draft pick is now. They say necessity is the mother of all invention. And towards the latter part of the 2012 season, did the Mets ever need Josh Edgin. He stepped into the slot Tim Byrdak filled for two seasons. In very short time, he became the top left hand option out of the bullpen. So much so, they were on the verge of taxing their pitcher. In three short years, Edgin skyrocketed through the Mets farm system, and deservedly so. In 2010, he posted a 2.60 ERA in thirty four innings pitched, and had an 11.9 K/9 average. In 2011, he followed with a 1.50 ERA in sixty six innings, and averaged 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. That earned him a promotion to Binghamton for the 2012 season. But after just six appearances there, Josh was shuffled off to Buffalo, where he posted a 3.89 ERA, and struck out forty batters in thirty seven innings pitched. In mid-July, Josh Edgin was then summoned to Flushing, where he made an additional thirty four appearances. That gave Josh Edgin a total of seventy five appearances for the season, and 69.0 innings pitched; his three year high.
I would rate Josh’s first act in the show, a glowing success. In 25.2 innings pitched, he posted a rather lofty 4.56 ERA. Otherwise, he limited opposing MLB batters to nineteen hits and walked ten for a 1.130 WHiP, and struck out thirty batters. His 6.7 H/9 and 10.5 K/9 averages were overwhelming positives. Josh Edgin’s combined 2012 minor/major league totals have fans anticipating an even better encore. As noted, he pitched in seventy five games, with sixty nine innings pitched. He posted a 4-4 record and a 3.91 ERA. He limited all hitters to fifty eight hits, and issued thirty walks for a 1.275 WHiP. Josh struck out seventy five batters. He posted fine averages of 7.6 H/9 and 9.8 K/9, but struggled a bit with control, walking 3.9 batters per nine innings pitched.
He clocked sixty-plus innings in his last two seasons now. As the main left handed pitcher out of the pen, the Mets are sure to count on Edgin for another seventy innings in only his fourth professional season. Still technically a rookie, I believe he will up for the challenge in his second year in Queens.
BULLPEN NOTES: Terry Collins made mention of two more pitchers in Mets camp this year. Greg Burke is a thirty year old righty, signed to a free agent contract back in November. He is in camp on an invitation. The 2009 season was his only taste of major league ball. In an eight year minor league career, his 2012 season split between AA and AAA might finally be considered his break-out year. In forty two appearances and 64.2 innings pitched, he posted an impressive 1.53 ERA. Scott Rice is a thirty-one year old lefty, also in camp on an invitation. He is a fourteen year veteran of the minor leagues and independent circuits. Rice is yet to throw a major league pitch. In truth, the back of his baseball card is too insignificant to detail here.
That’s my bullpen talk. Stay tuned to Rising Apple throughout Spring Training for Amazin’ coverage.