2010 Analysis: Manny Acosta

Who would have thought, before the 2010 season began, that Manny Acosta would appear in 41 games for the New York Mets? As some may point out, Acosta is similar to Mariano Rivera in that he’s righthanded and from Panama; unfortunately, that’s where the similarity ends.

The stringbean reliever with the 95-MPH fastball was plucked from Braves on the waiver wire just prior to Opening Day and began the season in AAA Buffalo. He finished the year with a sparkling 2.95 ERA, 42 Ks in 39 IP, and a 1.21 WHIP. Looking at the stat line, it would seem he had a heckuva season; why didn’t it feel that way?

Maybe it had something to do with the 13 (of 31) inherited runners he allowed to score – the 8th-highest total in the NL – a rate of 42%. That’s not a very good percentage; the league average is 31% and the only Met with a higher rate was Raul Valdes (46%). So if it seemed to you like Acosta was routinely giving up big hits with men on base, well, he was. Additionally, the bugaboo throughout his career has been an inability to consistently throw strikes. His walk rate was 4.1 per 9 innings, which, again, is not great – particularly for a reliever.

2011 Projection

I don’t know if or where Acosta fits into the Mets plans for 2011. He’s not the worst reliever and he does light up the radar gun in the 95-96 MPH range. But at age 29, he pretty much is what he is and likely won’t improve much – he appears to be one of those “live arms” who never translate the skill into consistent performance. Since the Mets jacked up his value by letting him appear in 41 ballgames, and he has that shiny ERA and strikeout rate, another team is likely to pick him up if the Mets don’t re-sign him. However, I’d be inclined to offer him a minor-league deal for 2011 and if he refuses, let him walk.

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.