Yesterday, I pretty much concluded, in a post you can read below, that reliever Greg Burke has just about locked up one of the final spots in the Mets bullpen.
In the 9-1 loss to the Tigers on Thursday, Burke was brought in to get a critical out against one of the best hitters in the game, Miguel Cabrera. The side-winder induced Cabrera to pop up to end the fifth inning. Mission accomplished.
After a slow start, Burke is coming on strong and is getting righthanded hitters out. His arm angle and release point is so deceptive and his fastball is coming at you at 92-93 mph. He can be an effective weapon for us.
“He can make the ball sink or he can give it the illusion that it’s rising,’’ Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said.
The Mets are going to need a righty who could get big outs, and the more I see of Burke, the more I think he can be that guy for us.,
Original Post 3/14
Let’s take a break from the outfield battle for a day and check out what’s going on with the Mets bullpen as we head into the last three weeks of Spring Training.
Terry Collins continues to maintain his stance that his seasoned veterans will each have a significant edge when he makes a final determination as to who stays and who goes.
That alone makes Bobby Parnell, Scott Atchison, Brandon Lyon and even LaTroy Hawkins virtual locks for the pen, and statistically all four of them are off to solid starts so far this spring, although Hawkins has just one scoreless appearance.
Although not a veteran, I think it’s safe to say that lefthanded sophomore Josh Edgin will also be a part of the final configuration for the Mets’ pen. That leaves just two open spots and about 5-6 arms all competing for one of them. Among them you have rightys Greg Burke, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia, and then your southpaws Pedro Feliciano, Robert Carson and Scott Rice.
You have to believe the Mets will go with a second lefty, especially after the failure of their “lone lefty” strategy in the past. If Feliciano is healthy and shows them anything, and so far he has, he’ll get the nod. Carson will be Plan B.
The more interesting battle is for the final righthander, and my spider sense tells me Greg Burke has got the job. You could read more about him in this article about Burke by MMO minor league analyst Mitch Petanick.
I do not see Familia or Mejia winning jobs in the bullpen this Spring. Jenrry will go to Vegas and start, while Familia transitions into a relief role at Sin City and could make a return to Flushing when the bullpen needs help.
So the bottom line is that barring any major setbacks or injuries, the Mets 2013 bullpen on Opening Day will look like this:
- Bobby Parnell – Closer
- Brandon Lyon – Setup
- Scott Atchison – Middle/Long Relief
- Josh Edgin – Middle Relief
- LaTroy Hawkins - Middle/Long Relief
- Pedro Feliciano/Robert Carson – Lefty Specialist
- Greg Burke - Righty Specialist