Mets made some changes late night Friday night.
After Friday night’s loss to the Marlins, the Mets designated utility man Ty Kelly for assignment, promoting reliever Paul Sewald from Triple-A Las Vegas. Although the Mets broke camp with seven relievers, it took only four games — and shaky performances from Rafael Montero and Josh Smoker — for them to add an eighth.
Sewald is amidst his sixth season in the Mets organization after being selected in the tenth round of the 2012 draft. The 26-year-old righty has a track record of success in the minors, most recently sporting a 10.96 K/9 and 2.88 BB/9 in 65 2/3 innings for Las Vegas last season.
Sewald thrived in the hitter’s paradise, recording a 3.29 ERA after posting a 1.75 clip in 51 1/3 Double-A innings. He even has some experience closing games, with 43 saves over the last two seasons — for those of you who think that matters.
Sewald had a strong spring training. He struck out 12 batters while walking only 5 in 14 1/3 innings. He surrendered just four runs, although three balls left the park. He was amongst the favorites to earn a bullpen spot to begin the season, but he fell victim to the organization’s strange infatuation with Josh Edgin.
"“Paul doesn’t have the really great stuff that some of these have. He has a really analytical mind, knows how to use his pitches, knows how to separate speeds. So all of the stuff that we have, he can take that and digest it because he has to use it, whereas the others can get by on strike one just by pure stuff.”"
This “analytical mind” is not new. In Adam Rubin’s profile on Sewald during his 2015 season, Sewald expressed his infatuation with sabermetric statistics such as FIP. Now, I’m not saying this will have any positive impact on his performance, but it certainly can’t hurt. And Sewald won’t be the first Met pitcher with an exquisite understanding of statistics.
Speaking of sabermetrics, the ZiPS projection model forecasts a strong rookie season from Sewald: 10.07 K/9, 3.05 BB/9, and a 3.97 ERA in 59 innings. While the Mets have a strong duo of relievers to close out games, they don’t have the luxury to deny pitchers with double-digit strikeout potential.
The bottom line? Sewald will sit at 90-91 MPH with his fastball and offer a strong, low-80’s slider that can be effective against right-handed hitters. His low arm-angle may induce some hard contact against lefties, but if used properly, he can be a valuable option to neutralize righty power-hitters around the league.
Now let’s hope Terry gets the memo.