Is Chris Schwinden a viable option for next year’s Mets rotation?

Chris Schwinden's 2009 TriStar Projections Autograph Card

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.


About Paul

Star Wars fan, NY Mets enthusiast, toy collector & amateur gardener. I like to take pictures & write things.

Posted on September 24, 2011, in New York Mets and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Schwinden’s had a remarkable season, really. But he’s never projected out to be anything special. As we’re in rebuilding mode, however, I think Chris is a decent fit until Matt Harvey is ready. I’m not sure either Young or Capuano will be back. So I think its Santana (who they’ll be looking to trade anyway), Dickey, Niese, Pelfrey, and Gee–with Schwinden on the frequent flyer shuttle. I don’t see him as a swing man at all. I think that would ruin him. That’s a role better filled by a veteran like Dickey or Batista (please, God, not Batista). Maybe you even get lucky and somebody overpays for Gee.


    • I’m not sure that Schwinden could succeed out of the pen, but I don’t know why you’d say it would “ruin” him. If he’s going to be a major leaguer for any length of time, he’s probably going to have to adapt to it.

      Dickey is the one pitcher projected for next year’s rotation that I actually have some confidence in – there’s no way I would plan on moving him to the bullpen.

      Batista, assuming he wants to continue playing, would probably be a decent fit in a swingman role. However, it would be nice to see the team get younger.


      • Swingmen are almost never kids–almost always veterans. As a kid, you need to know what your role is. You can change a youngster’s role between seasons, but it’s unwise to do so in season because, yes, you ruin them. I can’t count the number of promising arms that have been ruined by being jerked around like that. But Jenrry Mejia is one example in the present that should serve as a cautionary tale. I don’t think the Parnell experiment is going particularly well, either.

        Veterans have a completely different mind set and a completely different physicality. I wasn’t saying Dickey SHOULD take on that role, but I am saying he’d handle it better. Batista’s been a swing man for years, now, but (as well as he’s done for the Mets in his cameo here) I think he could cost you a dozen games in a full year. Ask the Cardinals.


  2. Schwinden competes I’n all aspects, era is middle of the pack. K/bb ratio great, as it always has been, not his fault that he doesnt have a win, he’s left 3/4 starts with his leading, what more do you want from a young rhp through four starts?


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