A few days ago, Adam Rubin stated the Mets need for a second left-handed reliever, citing the team’s use of Casey Fossum, Ken Takahashi, Jon Switzer and Pat Misch to various degrees of failure in the LOOGY role. The Mets likely agree with his assessment when you consider that trade deadline rumors centered on their quest for a left-handed reliever. Well what if I told you there was a left-handed reliever in Buffalo striking out batters at a clip of 9.76 per nine innings? I wouldn’t be selling your city a monorail; I’d be telling you about the richness of Adam Bostick.
Bostick was acquired after the 2006 season with Jason Vargas (since dealt to Seattle in the J.J. Putz
theft trade) in the oft-maligned Matt Lindstrom trade. In his best effort to show that Omar Minaya got more than tomato cans for the fireballing Lindstrom, Adam returned from micro-fracture knee surgery (what up Carlos Beltran?) that ended his 2008 season prematurely to post a 3.67 FIP in 57 2/3 innings pitched in Binghamton and Buffalo. Of the 74 left-handed hitters he faced, the 6′1″ left-hander struckout 23 and walked only 5. Granted, the sample size is small, but Bostick’s 2009 splits jibe with his career numbers:
2009 vs LHH: 10.02 K/9, 2.18 BB/9, 43.1% GB
Career vs. LHH: 8.71 K/9, 3.34 BB/9, 44% GB
The uptick in control is likely due to spending time in Binghamton and the 3.18 BB/9 mark from Buffalo is more in line with his true talent level. It’s clear that Bostick has done a fine job handling left handers; let’s take a look at his performance against right-handers.
2009 vs. RHH: 9.73 K/9, 4.14 BB/9, 36.8% GB
Career vs. RHH: 8.27 K/9, 4.52 BB/9, 40.4% GB
What’s most intriguing about Mr. Bostick is his ability to handle right-handers, posting solid strikeout and groundball rates against them. Obviously, the increased number of walks is a red flag and a sign that Bostick may not be an ideal “crossover reliever”, but a pitcher who can be trusted to navigate a left/right/left lineup configuration without mandating an intentional walk. Most importantly, what Adam possesses are tools to become an effective relief pitcher. Good relievers must strikeout a lot of hitters because the sample sizes in which they work are small and subject to the slings and arrows of batted ball luck. His ability to generate ground balls neutralizes home runs and mitigates his spotty control.
In a season as disappointing and injury-plagued as this one, where the Mets have used eleven different starting pitchers and thirteen unique relievers, it’s a great mystery as to why Adam Bostick was not called up. Isn’t he a better use of innings and resources than Elmer Dessens and his quest for a full MLB pension? Isn’t he worth a look when you’re playing for next season? If it’s because the Mets are being cautious with his knee, kudos to them for finally having some foresight; if it’s because there’s ‘no room on the 40-man roster’ or ‘the organization doesn’t think he’s ready’, chalk it up as another Metsfail in a season full of them.
Toby Hyde feels Bostick should be added to the 40-man roster at season’s end — and the Mets better — or a smart organization will nab him, leaving the Mets in position to burn a couple of million dollars on a replacement level reliever (see Beimel, Joe). Where have I heard this before?