2009 Analysis: Sean Green
Last December, no one would have guessed that Sean Green would be the highest-impact performer from the fateful deal with the Mariners. In many ways, he “replaced” Aaron Heilman — in terms of role(s), overuse, inconsistency, and fans’ whipping boy.
Lucky for Sean Green, the Mets had a terrible, meaningless season — imagine how much abuse he would have received from the boo-birds if the Mets finished, say, only a few games out of first place?
Green came in with the reputation as a sneaky fast, sinkerballing sidearmer who could pitch effectively IF USED JUDICIOUSLY. Much was made about the fact that Green tended to weaken in the second half, and his performance dropped considerably when overused. So naturally, manager Jerry Manuel threw that part of the scouting report out the window and rode him like a wild horse of the Pony Express.
Not surprisingly for a Jerry Manuel reliever, Sean Green set a career high with 79 appearances. He started out poorly, with an ERA of 8.49 in April, but eventually found success in June and July, when he appeared in a total of 30 games and held opposing hitters to a .194 batting average. Manuel tended to use him as a specialist against righthanded hitters, but in fact lefthanded hitters had a lower batting average against him (.223) than righthanded ones (.250).
Because of his inconsistency, Green never really had an established role in the bullpen (or was it the other way around?), and he was used strangely — it seemed as though Manuel would use him for several days in a row, then not use him at all for a week. The final stats support that thought: Green was used with no rest or one day’s rest in 55 of his 79 games. By the end of the season, he was so exhausted and ineffective that he began pitching from a much lower release point — one that was much closer to submarine style. The tweak worked well, as he posted a 2.19 ERA and allowed only 7 hits in his last 17 appearances.
After a rollercoaster of a season, it’s hard to figure out where — or if — Green fits into the Mets’ 2010 bullpen plans. Personally, I’d like to see him stick with that further down under delivery, as I believe it will allow him to pitch more effectively in the Jerry Manuel System of Bullpen Abuse. Even better, I’d like to see what he can accomplish under a manager / pitching coach that pays attention to things like usage and individual differences.