For all the talk this week about adjusting Citi Field’s dimensions, scoring runs has not been the Mets’ main problem this year. Through 156 games, they’ve scored 694 times – 5th best in the National League.
So why do they have a losing record? Well, maybe that’s because they’ve given up 718 runs – 4th most in the National League.
Johan Santana is expected to return next year, but we’ll have to wait and see how well he’ll be able to pitch after undergoing major shoulder surgery. GM Sandy Alderson said this week that the Mets’ pitching rotation will be similar to what’s in place now.
I take that to mean that Alderson will not be pursuing any major free agents or trades for starting pitchers. Considering the likely cost of any pitcher who’d represent an upgrade, I can certainly understand that call.
But what about in-house options? Chris Schwinden surprised everyone this year with a strong season at Buffalo and earned a major league call-up in September. He’s made three starts, but doesn’t have a win to show for it yet even though he’s been been reasonably effective.
This week, Nathaniel Stoltz analyzed Schwinden’s pitching this week at Seedlings To Stars, a site dedicated to covering minor league baseball, prospects and the MLB draft as thoroughly as possible.
After breaking down Schwinden’s Pitch F/X data, Stoltz wrote:
With his solid command of all three offerings, it’s feasible that [Schwinden] could turn into an innings-eating back-of-the-rotation starter. It’s tough to see him as a key pitcher on a staff, but if he’s able to survive the adaptations of MLB hitters, he could be a functional member of the rotation, able to avoid walks without giving up tons of home runs.
With all of the “what if’s” surrounding Schwinden, I think he might be a better option as a swingman out of the bullpen, to pitch multiple innings of relief or make spot starts as needed. However, I have no way of knowing how he would react to pitching in a less-defined role – Schwinden has primarily been a starter throughout his minor league career.