2009 Analysis: Pat Misch

misch-tholePatrick Misch’s singlemost important contribution to the Mets organization may have been enabling a smooth September debut for rookie catcher Josh Thole. For it was the easy-throwing, level-headed Misch who threw soft darts all around the strike zone, making Thole’s trial by fire a bit less stressful. Can you imagine, for example, if Thole was charged with catching the wild and unstable Oliver Perez in his first few starts behind the dish?

As it turned out, the Misch / Thole battery had its good days and bad days — culminating with the first shutout of the season in game 156 and an impressive five-inning, one-run performance that was cut short by rain in game 161.

Similar to many of the players performing in the late-season auditions, Misch gave us just enough information to neither eliminate nor recommend him for the 2010 team. His was a case of “the more information we get, the less we know”.

As a LOOGY out of the bullpen, Misch was ineffective. Lefthanded hitters mashed him for a .325 AVG., .915 OPS, and hit a homerun once every 20 at-bats. Overall he allowed 24 hits and 13 walks in 22 innings of relief; suffice to say the bullpen is likely not his calling. In 7 starts, he posted a 4.69 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. That is a small sample size, but we saw everything — great outings, awful outings, and average outings.

If one looked only at his final two starts, one might think that Pat Misch is another Jamie Moyer — a crafty, late-blooming lefty who on the verge of a long career of soft-tossing. But then there is that game against the Braves in which he couldn’t get out of the second inning, and was hammered for 8 runs on 7 hits, including 3 homers.

We know Misch rarely reaches 90 MPH, and that to be effective he must have his offspeed pitches working well. His control in terms of strikethrowing is very good, but his command within the zone is inconsistent — he can have bouts of throwing too many hittable pitches over the middle of the plate.

In an effort to figure out who Pat Misch is, we can look at his minor league numbers, but they are equally inconclusive. He had success in AA, but has had varying degrees of success and failure in AAA as both a starter and reliever. The one theme that remains constant in his travels is that he throws strikes. That is usually a good thing but in his case it also means he gets hit — and often, hit hard.

Did he show enough to deserve a shot in spring training as a non-roster invitee? Probably. Should he get an MLB contract? Probably not. But it can’t hurt to have him stashed in AAA, just in case he does in fact develop into the next Jamie Moyer.

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. Tommy2cat October 15, 2009 at 8:12 pm
    Very good analysis on “Mischter Fancy Pants”.

    He reminds me a little more of Glavine than Moyer, but that’s splitting hairs. I would really like to see Glavine school him on the change-up and John Tudor tudor (sorry) him about living on the edge…of the strike zone.

    What’s great about Misch is his level head. He appears to be very even keel and when he’s on, capable of maintaining his focus to the finish line.

    So – the key for him appears to be getting ahead in the count, changing speeds and locating his pitches to a hitter’s known weakness. His delivery is very smooth and, in the absence of any arm trouble, one could expect him to improve with experience.

    Indeed, for pitchers of his ilk, I’ve always liked to see them develop a cutter thrown 3/4s that breaks on two planes, down and in to rights and down and away to lefties. Its a great intermediary between the 4-seam fastball and change-up, the former freezing a righty and the latter exposing a righty to the outside part of the plate.

    I like Misch as I like Nieve, but for completely different reasons. I’d like to see both of them compete for a spot in the rotation next year. We need to demonstrate some confidence in players from our own organization.