Jepsen, who had been sidelined by a quad injury in the spring, is now fully healed. The reliever had a bad year in 2016 with the Twins and Rays, however before that he was an effective option out of the bullpen.
The 32-year-old had a 2.63 ERA and 2.78 FIP in 2014, striking out 75 batters in 65.0 innings and sporting a 1.046 WHIP. He followed up his strong season in 2015 when he led the American League in appearances with 75. In those 75 games, he had a 2.33 ERA and 3.54 FIP, striking out 59 batters in 69.2 innings with a 1.134 WHIP.
His 2016 was a different story, however, as he appeared in 58 games and struggled to the tune of a 5.98 ERA, 6.15 FIP, and 1.671 WHIP. While his statistics from 2014-2016 could be interpreted as regression, he is still ‘only’ 32 years old.
The root of his struggles seems to be with his curveball, generally his best pitch. From 2012 to 2015, batters hit .174, .105, .127, and .194 against it. In 2016, however, batters hit it at a .341 clip. Something changed in that curveball to let it be more hittable, whether it lost movement or lost it’s sharp break. But with the right pitching coach, he could restore it to its former glory.
If you have a good enough curveball, you don’t need an overpowering fastball to be effective for one inning — Just ask Jerry Blevins. If he shows a refurbished curveball at the showcase, or a Mets scout sees something in his mechanics that can be fixed to make him effective, the Mets should certainly kick the tires on Kevin Jepsen.