Mets: Chasen Shreve is a nice piece of bullpen artillery to have in the minors
By Tim Boyle
Chasen Shreve may need to wait a while before seeing time with the New York Mets. However, he’s not a bad piece of artillery to have down in the minors.
When the New York Mets added Chasen Shreve to the organization this winter on a minor league deal, I didn’t think much of it. I got flashbacks to last year’s addition of Luis Avilan which turned out to be just an okay move. The Shreve signing could turn out the same way yet nobody really seems to think much of him.
There’s a reason for this. Shreve spent most of last year in the minor leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals. He pitched well in his 60 innings, posting a 3.45 ERA while striking out more than 10 batters per nine.
Minor league numbers for an experienced big-league arm don’t matter much. But in this case, I think it lets us know he still has something left in his arm.
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A minor concern of mine heading into the year is the lack of southpaws in the bullpen. Justin Wilson is the only guy with a spot locked up, leaving the Mets with only one lefty they can turn to.
Early in the year when they may only need four starters, we could see Steven Matz used out of the bullpen. This won’t last for more than about two weeks when off-days begin to dwindle and the Mets need him in the rotation.
Thinking long-term, Shreve could potentially become an important part of the bullpen.
Because of the new three-batter minimum rule, lefty specialists are no longer so special. Shreve is more than just that, though. Despite reminding me of Jerry Blevins in every way possible including the way he looks, Shreve has actually been better against righties in his career.
It’s these career totals I think we need to focus on for Shreve. He’s just two years removed from a 3.93 ERA split between the Yankees and Cardinals. Go back one more year, we find a 3.77 ERA season. Each also included high strikeout totals—more than 10 per nine innings.
Lifetime as a big leaguer, Shreve is 16-8 with a 3.71 ERA and 10.3 strikeouts per nine. He has walked a lot of guys, though. At 4.5 per nine, it’s an easy explanation as to why he hasn’t been so precise throughout his career.
Shreve isn’t going to save the day for the Mets. He’s not that kind of pitcher.
However, as an alternative to Robert Gsellman if he struggles or a backup plan when someone lands on the IL, he’s not such a bad option.
The baseball season is a long one and because Shreve failed to see much action with St. Louis last year, I think we overlook his productivity. Just because the Yankees traded him away doesn’t mean he’s cooked.
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In fact, we should probably cross our fingers and hope that alongside Dellin Betances, Shreve helps stick it to them.