Midseason Analysis: Billy Wagner

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First-half Analysis

This year, Billy Wagner has been everything we always hoped he’d be — a lights-out, no nonsense closer who ends games without a hint of concern, slamming the door on opposing teams before they even knock. In short, the exact opposite of every other closer in Mets history.

Yes, he still has issues in non-save situations, losing his focus on occasion and fooling around with batters instead of going right after them. No biggie, because his job is to get the saves, and he’s done that with remarkable consistency — unless you feel that 17 out of 18 isn’t good enough.

Second-half Outlook

Last year, “Country Time” had finger issues that affected his throwing well into midseason — though he refused to use it as an excuse for his inconsistency. This year, he’s completely healthy, and we’re seeing the “real” Billy Wagner — and his velocity is going up as the season progresses. There’s no reason to believe he’ll be anything other than an elite closer in the second half.

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. JIMMYJ723 July 11, 2007 at 5:57 pm
    “Yes, he still has issues in non-save situations, losing his focus on occasion and fooling around with batters instead of going right after them”

    Wagner is an elite CLOSER. But if he’s put in any other situation, he’s terrible. I don’t know the psychology behind it but some guys such as Wagner need to have their back against the wall in order to perform and other guys like Lidge can’t handle pressure at all. Maybe it has something to do with the adrenaline rush, who knows? I just hope Willie stops bringing him into the game in non-save situations.

  2. joe July 11, 2007 at 10:16 pm
    Amen to that.