Scott Patterson Signs Minor League Deal With Mets

By Matt Musico

In what was a very minor move before yesterday’s finale against the San Diego Padres, the Mets announced that they signed reliever Scott Patterson to a minor league deal, then sending him to Triple-A Buffalo. The last time Patterson played in the Major Leagues was in 2008 when he pitched in four games for the Padres and the Yankees, going 0-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 5 innings pitched. Before signing with New York, Patterson had been in the Mariners minor league system since 2010.

Sandy Alderson is shrewdly starting to find pieces that could potentially help him rebuild the Mets bullpen for 2013, as acquiring the right-hander was the first step taken. Saying that Patterson is a journeyman is probably a huge understatement; the pitcher has been in professional baseball for 11 years, starting in Independent ball for his first six seasons, but then spending most of his time waiting for the call in Triple-A.

However, wherever he has gone he’s been successful, which is puzzling as to why he hasn’t gotten more of a chance at the Major League

level. Most of his professional experience has come in Triple-A, where he’s spent portions of 6 seasons and appeared in 192 games. During that time, he’s compiled an 11-12 record, 3.55 ERA, 223 IP, 1.31 WHIP, 9.7 K/9 IP, and 2.94 K/BB ratio.

In his most recent tour with the Mariners, Patterson has spent most of the last three seasons with Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma, Washington. Although the right hander isn’t a flamethrower (will usually be around 90 mph on the radar gun), he has good breaking stuff and a terrific changeup that he can use to keep hitters off balance, as the velocity differential is over 10 mph. It doesn’t matter how hard a pitcher can throw, especially a reliever, but if he can locate his fastball and use his secondary pitches effectively, he’ll be able to have success for an inning or two.

Throughout his entire professional career, Patterson has been able to make hitters swing and miss, as he’s compiled 843 strikeouts in 799 innings pitched, good for a career K/9IP of 9.5. In his most recent tour with the Mariners, he’s also been able to keep his BB rate low, mostly under 1.5/9IP, except for this past season (3.2 BB/9IP). However, he’s kept his K rate over 10 during the last two seasons, and 2012 has been his lowest in a while at 8 K/9IP.

The Mets need pitchers in the bullpen that can come in and strike hitters out, stranding opposing runners on base. They do have some pitchers that can do that, such as Bobby Parnell, Frank Francisco, and Josh Edgin. It’s clear that Patterson knows how to use what he has to get hitters out late in the game. He’s compiled 76 saves and finished 220 ballgames in his career, so he’s able to come in and shut the door on an opposing team when the game is close.

This is a good signing for the Mets; a low risk taken with the opportunity for a big reward, as it is likely he will get a legitimate chance to compete for a spot in a bullpen that is looking to get completely redone after a trying 2012.