The New York Mets managed to add a pretty reliable left-handed reliever, Justin Wilson, this winter. However, one area he does struggle with at times is throwing strikes.
Whenever there’s a new pitcher I need to read up on, one statistic I put some emphasis on is control. It’s never fun to see a pitcher issue a free pass via a hit by pitch or walk. One of the newest additions to the New York Mets, Justin Wilson, has unfortunately given up far too many of the latter.
The results for Wilson over the past two seasons have been predictable. He finished 2017 with an overall ERA of 3.41 and followed it up with a 3.46 ERA in 2018. He struck out an impressive 12.4 batters per nine in 2017 and saw it drop to a still solid 11.4 batters per nine in this most recent season.
Another similarity between these two seasons is the 5.4 batters he walked per nine both years. While he has mastered the art of striking men out, he’s also allowing far too many to reach via ball four.
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Wilson isn’t a guy we should expect to cleanly get through too many one-two-three innings. His 1.42 WHIP last year was evidence of this. Thankfully, we may only see him face a batter or two. He’s the top southpaw in the Mets bullpen at the moment so his role could focus on getting out fellow lefties.
A big concern of mine for Wilson is how poorly he seems to finish his seasons. In 2017, he went from closing games for the Detroit Tigers in a non-pennant race to taking the mound for the Chicago Cubs in relief. His ERA went from 2.68 in a Tigers uniform to 5.09 while with the Cubs in his final 17.2 innings.
During that small sample size with the Cubs in 2017, Wilson averaged a pitiful 9.7 walks per nine. Perhaps fearful of what may happen, Chicago deplored him to face only two batters in the NLDS. He didn’t see any action in the NLCS.
Wilson’s second-half numbers from 2018 are troublesome as well. After a stellar first-half which included a 2.77 ERA, he finished the year with a 5.17 ERA. Walks were so much the issue. Batters knock him around for a .260 batting average in August and hit an even greater .320 versus the lefty in September. Somehow, he still managed to escape August with only a 1.29 ERA. He wasn’t so lucky in the final month of the year when he put together a month ending with a 7.50 ERA.
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Like all working Americans and even those who make a living eating on YouTube, Wilson has areas of his job he needs to improve upon. Pitching out of the stretch regularly because he’s allowing gets on base at an above-average rate via walk is the one Wilson must master.