The New York Mets acquired Joely Rodriguez from the New York Yankees just days before Opening Day. The trade, which sent Miguel Castro to the dark side, confused many fans of both franchises. The Mets made the trade because they wanted another lefty option in the bullpen.
Rodriguez got roughed up in his first couple of appearances on the Mets, but he’s looked better lately and his projections look good.
Rodriguez’s first appearance with the Mets was a good one - 1.1 innings pitched, no hits, runs, or walks, and two strikeouts. After that he had three rough appearances in a row. In those three outings, he pitched a total of two innings and gave up three hits, two walks, and five runs that were all earned. He still struck out four batters in those appearances, which is a lot when you consider he only got six outs.
Since then, he’s been lights out. In four appearances, he’s pitched 3.1 innings and given up no hits, one walk, no runs, and three strikeouts. His ERA is down to 6.75 (it was 15.43 at its highest) and with his FIP at 3.68 and his WHIP at 0.90, he’s due for a good stretch. Keep in mind, this is still a very small sample size to work with just three weeks into the season. He’s only pitched 6.2 innings.
While the overall numbers still aren’t pretty, his metrics look really good.
Looking at his Baseball Savant page, Rodriguez excels at limiting hard contact. His average exit velo and hard hit rate are both in the 99th percentile. His xBA is in the 91st percentile, his xERA and xwOBA are in the 80th percentile, and his xSLG is in the 76th percentile. Only 7.1% of the contact he gives up is considered hard on Fangraphs.
As mentioned above, he’s also been racking up strikeouts. He’s in the 96th percentile in whiff rate, 91st percentile in chase rate, and 87th percentile in strikeout rate. This all comes with reduced velocity from last year, as both his sinker and 4-seamer are down about one mile per hour on average. However, his spin rate is up about 200 RPM's on his 4-seamer, and his swing and miss rate on that pitch is up from 23% to 75%.
Bottom line, it looks like Joely Rodriguez is in for a good season. The Mets may have won this weird trade.