Mets trade for oldest MLB pitcher

The Mets just traded two players to the Tampa Bay Rays for Rich Hill who, at 41, is the oldest pitcher in Major League Baseball and the second-oldest player, the oldest Albert Pujols.

In 19 games this season, all starts, Hill has pitched best the first and third times in a game he has faced an opposing team’s batters. Then, they hit only .190 and .164 against him, but during his second time through a lineup they hit .276 with a .530 slugging percentage. See table below.

Source: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.fcgi?id=hillri01&year=2021&t=p

The data in the table reveal that his best role could be either as an opener or a reliever. However, it is likely that the Mets will mainly use him as a starter.

Hill has done better against left-handed batters, holding them to a .158 batting average. In contrast, right-handed batters hit .232 against him, still low but 74 points higher.

Against his fastball, his most frequently thrown pitch, batters hit .257, 71 points higher than their BA (.186) against his breaking pitches — but they were not his most effective pitches. Those were his off-speed pitches with a .143 BA.

His average pitch velocity this season of 80.6 mph is his second-lowest since 2015. His hard-hit% is higher than in any previous Statcast season: 6.4%.

In 2021, he has thrown 785 fastballs, 623 breaking balls, and 41 off-speed pitches.

Hill has been much more effective when pitching without any runners on base. Then, batters are hitting just .203. With runners on base, opposing batters’ BA jumps 47 points to .250.

He last pitched on July 18 against the Braves. In 4 IP, he gave up six hits, three earned runs, and two walks, while striking out four.

A closer needs to shut the door, not open them

In a clutch situation, a closer need to shut the door, not allow the opponent to open and then run through them. The latter is what happened in yesterday’s Mets-Pirates game.

Photo by Filip Kominik on Unsplash

The victim: Edwin Diaz.

Let’s start by looking at his ERA as the season has progressed:
– April: 2.00
– May: 3.97
– June: 2.38
– July: 12.60

Over the past 30 days, his performance based on his ERA has been on the decline.
– Last 30 days: 8.38
– Last 15 days: 12.60
– Last 7 days: 27.00

In particular this season, Diaz’s performance in away games has been worse than in home games.
– Home ERA: 2.45
– Away ERA: 6.75

In home games, his record is 3-1; whereas, in away games it is 0-3. Similarly, in day games, his record is 3-1; whereas, in night games it is 0-3.

Even more surprising are his slash lines for right- and left-handed batters.
– Against right-handed batters: .275/.351/.362
– Against left-handed batters: .175/.303/.222

Diaz is at his best on two-strike counts.
– 0-2: .200 (BA)
– 1-2: .065
– 2-2: .200
– 3-2: .077

With regard to the effectiveness of his pitches, the run value when he throws his slider is -6; whereas, against his fastball it is +6. Run value reveals a pitch’s impact. The lower the value, the better.

Further, when he throws the slider, batters are hitting .180 with a .213 SLG, but when he throws his four-seamer, batters are hitting .268 with a .366 SLG. Those are the only two pitches Diaz has thrown this season with 63.1% of them four-seamers and 36.9% sliders.

Based on the above data, Diaz is at his best when he does not fall behind in the count, throws more sliders than four-seamers, faces left-handed batters, and pitches in home day games.

The data in this post is from espn.com and baseballsavant.com

10 First-Half Mets Pitching Observations

  1. When there were runners on base, the best starter* on the mound — based on opponents’ batting average — was Jacob deGrom. Batters hit only .154. The second-best starter was Taijuan Walker (.200 BA). The hardest-hit starter was David Peterson (.273 BA).
  2. When there were no runners on base, among starters deGrom had the lowest opponents’ batting average (.118) with Walker second (.194). Peterson had the highest BA (.245).
  3. With runners in scoring position, deGrom and Walker were the top two and Peterson last; however, his slash line in that context was unusually high: .381/.519/.524. Taijuan Walker had the best run value: -11.1.
  4. With the bases empty, deGrom run value of -20.3 was not only the highest on the Mets but also the highest in Major League Baseball with Kevin Gausman second and ex-Met Zack Wheeler third.
  5. Among relievers, when there were runners on base opponents hit .342 against Sean Reid-Foley with an OBP of .390. At the opposite end of the spectrum was Drew Smith, who held hitters to a .176 BA. Tied for second-best with a .200 BA were Trevor May and Seth Lugo; however, while Lugo did a better job of keeping hitters off the bases (.259 OBP vs. May’s .298 OBP), May did a better job of preventing on-base runners from scoring, his run value of -4.9 with runners on base noticeably higher than Lugo’s -0.8.
  6. Among relievers when no runners were on base, Edwin Diaz excelled, limiting batters to a .160 BA, just beating out Miguel Castro whose BA was .169. However, when batters got on base against Castro with the bases empty, his SLG was .271 and his OBP was .364, the latter the highest among all Mets pitchers.
  7. Among relievers with runners in scoring position, Trevor May had the best run value (-5.8) and the second-best opponents’ BA (.182), 11 points higher than Jeurys Familia’s. Batters hit .290 or above in this context against four Mets relievers: Sean Reid-Foley (.391), Joey Lucchesi (.333), Edwin Diaz (.294), and Aaron Loup (.300).
  8. With runners in scoring position, two relievers had OBPs above .400: Edwin Diaz (.419) and Sean Reid-Foley (.417). It is one thing for a reliever to allow more than 40% of the batters he faces to get on base. It is another thing if those batters cross the plate. Diaz’s run value of 0.7 is just above average; whereas, Reid-Foley’s of 4.8 is noticeably above average. In fact, he is tied with Jacob Barnes for the highest run value on the Mets when there are runners in scoring position. When there are RISP and a reliever is pitching, the team wants Trevor May on the mound. Then, his slash line is .182/.250/.242.
  9. Among the starters who threw at least 650 fastballs (deGrom, Walker, Peterson, Stroman), opposing batters hit the worst against deGrom’s fastballs (.158 BA) and the highest BA against Stroman’s (.250). Only the Milwaukee’s Freddie Peralta had a lower opposing hitters BA: .143.
  10. Among the starters who threw at least 650 fastballs, deGrom had the highest average pitch velocity (99.2 mph) and Stroman the lowest (91.6) with deGrom’s pitch velocity tops in the majors.
  • * Only includes starters who threw at least 1,000 pitches and relievers who threw at least 250 pitches.
  • Tangotiger on run value: “Every base-out situation has a run potential. And after the event, the new base-out provides a new run potential. The CHANGE in those run potential is what we attribute to the event. A strikeout with bases empty and 0 outs for example turns the run expectancy from .481 runs to .254 runs. And so, the change in run expectancy, or the run value, of the strikeout is -0.227 runs. If the bases are loaded with one out, a strikeout has a run impact of a whopping -0.789 runs.”
  • Thus, run value is how many runs, on average, score as a result of the occurrence of an event, e.g., a single, until the inning’s end.
  • Tangotiger’s new run-value matrix

Data source: Baseball Savant

Facts about the Mets 2021 MLB Draft Picks

In this year’s draft, 60% of the Mets 20 picks were pitchers, including nine of the first 10, led by Vanderbilt star Kumar Rocker. However, that was not the most pitchers drafted by a team. The Dodgers drafted 18 (of 19 picks).

Nine newly drafted Mets pitchers throw right-handed, three left.

RHP Calvin Ziegler is the youngest draftee, born 10/03/02, while LHP Matt Rudick is the oldest, born 07/02/98.

Four of the pitchers ranked in the top 50 in D1’s Strikeouts Per Nine Innings. Levi David (pick 9) ranked third (15.34 K/9), ahead of Jack Leiter, Will Bednar, and Sam Bachman. Dominic Hamel (pick 3), placed 14th (13.35 K/9), and Kumar Rocker (pick 1) ranked 15th (13.23 K/9). Nathan Lavender (pick 14) was 27th (12.47 K/9).

SS Wyatt Young at 5’7″ is the shortest player. RHP Carson Seymour at 6’6″ is the tallest.

Only two of the first 10 draftees were position players, one a first baseman, the other a shortstop, both from the same school — UCLA.

Six of the last 10 draftees were position players, including a catcher, two shortstops, and three outfielders.

Two position players hit above .400. Jack-Thomas Wold hit .429, and Matt Rudick hit .410. JT Schwartz came close, hitting .396; his teammate, Kevin Kendall, hit .356. The remaining four position players hit from .323 to .340. Wold’s .429 was the sixth best batting average in D1 baseball, and Rudick’s was 11th best, placing him six spots ahead of JT Schwartz.

The Mets selected only one high school player and none from a junior college.

The bulk of the Mets choices were from four-year schools with enrollments greater than 15,000 including Texas, Florida, Illinois, UCLA, and San Diego State.

Twice they selected two players from a school, Fairfield and UCLA.

Source: https://www.mlb.com/draft/tracker/2021/all/team/mets