Jon Switzer Promoted

The Mets have promoted LHP Jon Switzer from Buffalo (hat tip to MetsBlog).

If you remember, Switzer was the guy that AA hitters beat up on all spring while the rest of the Mets were playing in the WBC. But, he IS lefthanded, and he does have a 2.13 ERA with 29 strikeouts through 25 innings in Buffalo. So perhaps he simply wasn’t 100% ready during spring training. Switzer is holding lefthanded hitters to a Mendoza-like .182 batting average, and account for 19 of his strikeouts.
In addition, it was announced that Fernando Nieve would get the start against the Yankees on Sunday.

This set of moves and non-moves comes to me as a bit of a head-scratcher. I understand the idea of another can of paint to throw on the wall promoting a LOOGY with the hopes he can retire big-league LH hitters. Toward that same end, I don’t understand why Ken Takahashi is still in the big leagues — will the Japanese lefty now be used to face righthanded hitters?

Further, why Fernando Nieve on Sunday, rather than Nelson Figueroa — who could’ve been promoted with a demotion of Takahashi? Nieve was doing fairly well in AAA (3.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 23 Ks, 10 BB in 24 IP), but not nearly as well as Figgy (2.93 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 38 Ks, only 14 BB in 55 IP). Yes, I realize that stats — particularly at the minor league level — are not always the best indicators of future performance, but you have to wonder what more Figueroa has to do to get another start in MLB. You also have to wonder if the Mets are sticking it to him for his original refusal to go back to Buffalo.

That’s just my conspiracy, though. The baseball minds in the Mets’ front office likely prefer Nieve’s chances against the Yankees because of his velocity, which reportedly touches the upper 90s. Though, in Coors Field East, I would think that the faster it goes in, the faster it will get hit out. There’s also the matter of the 40-man roster, which Figgy is not on (though, neither is Switzer, and I doubt anyone would be chasing after Takahashi).

Finally, what was the original point of promoting Nieve a week ago? The Mets purchased his contract on June 5th, and he pitched in one game, the very next day, hurling two scoreless innings of mopup duty against the woeful Nationals in a 7-1 blowout — and we haven’t seen him since. At the time, we thought he was going to help out in the bullpen with J.J. Putz going on the DL. But now I wonder if the Mets really brought him up in case John Maine couldn’t go on that same Saturday night?

In any case, Nieve will be plenty fresh for his game against the Bombers — he’ll have six days’ rest. Who knows, he may surprise us.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude June 12, 2009 at 3:52 pm
    Switzer has been great for Buffalo, no doubt…and the Mets do need a second guy who can get lefties out, as well as some extra ammunition after burning thru Feliciano, Parnell, and Krod in each of the 3 games against the Phils. But I concur, Joe: Figgy would have given the Mets a better presence on the mound than Nieve during a subway series game. Of course, it’s *presumptuous* to say that before the start in question, but we’ll see if our presumptions are correct come Sunday morning.

    Though, Switzer’s callup does lead me into another point of contrast between the superlative Phillies and consistently runnerup Mets. Notice how all 7 of the members of the Philly bullpen were used in the past 3 games, and all had major contributions. Even Chan Ho Park got a win. But Jerry only used 5 of his 7 available relievers, with Stokes and Nieve never seeing the outfield grass on the way in from the mound. Reminds me so much of some other guy ran out of town by the fans and media who fell in love with the same relievers and marched them to the mound day in and day out regardless of the score or game situation. What was his name again? Bill something? Oh well, why waste time on the past. You can’t learn anything from it anyway.

    Switzer is being promoted over Figgy or Niese because Jerry has worn out the key members of the bullpen and needs reinforcements for the Yankee series. If only Jerry knew the names of all 7 of his relievers then perhaps the bullpen wouldn’t be breaking down everytime September 1st rolls around. And that, my friends, is the biggest difference between the Mets and Phillies style of management, and what has give the Phillies the late season edge they have gained over the past 2 years. Look no further than the last 3 games for all the evidence you need.

  2. joejanish June 12, 2009 at 4:28 pm
    Great points, ‘dude.

    I swear I read about … (or was it wrote about?) … the contrast in bullpen management between the Manuels Jerry and Charlie …

    But hey, let’s just keep blaming the bullpen breakdowns on the personnel, and go get some new blood in the winter …. meh