Originally posted on PRO Rumors  |  Last updated 7/10/12
The New York Mets are just 4.5 games behind the Nationals and we could all agree that they may actually have a chance to make it to the postseason. For that to happen though, they have to upgrade their bullpen. Their bullpen ranks last in ERA (4.94) and sports the eigth worst FIP (4.03), making it a very vulnerable bullpen. On the other hand, their starting rotation owns the third best ERA (3.55) and fourth best FIP (3.66) making it a very good rotation. Last week, we learned that the Mets would be willing to bring Francisco Rodriguez back in order to improve their bullpen, but I've been wondering if they could improve their bullpen by doing something that almost nobody does anymore. Buster Olney of ESPN wrote last week that the Mets “are expected to execute plans to pitch R.A. Dickey more often.” I don't know what he meant with that, but in my opinion, the best way to do this will be to go with a four-man rotation for the remainder of the season. When a team goes with a four-man rotation they give more innings to their best pitchers and save one roster spot for an extra reliever or position player. In this case, the Mets could remove either Dillon Gee or Chris Young from the starting rotation and put him in the bullpen. By doing so, they will pitch Dickey more often as they planned. The only downside to this strategy will be giving more innings to Johan Santana. Not because he's doing a bad job, but because he's coming off a serious shoulder injury and ranks 18th in the PAP (Pitcher Abuse Points) with 41,293. PAP is a Baseball Prospectus metric that assigns “points” to starts when the pitcher throws more than 100 pitches. The PAP equation looks like this (PC-100)^3 PAP. This means that Santana has thrown more than 100 pitches in several starts. The Mets should definitely take Santana's pitch count into account, but what happens with Dickey? The knuckleballer ranks 54th in PAP with 16,776, but how much stress can a knuckleballer put on his shoulder when he pitches? It doesn't seem like alot and that's why I think the Mets are planning to pitch Dickey more. Another Mets starter, Gee ranks 48th in PAP with 18,734, but neither Niese or Young are among the first 100 pitchers in PAP, meaning that they have kept their pitch counts low. For this to work out though, the Mets must lower Santana's and Gee's pitch count. In my opinion, they can work things out and go with a four-man rotation for the reminder of the season. That way, they will give more innings to their best three starters, Dickey, Niese and Santana and have an extra roster spot for another reliever. But are they going to do it? I really don't think so. Image by slgckgc under the Creative Commons License Agreement.
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