2012 Analysis: Josh Edgin
Despite showing an intriguing skill set during spring training, Josh Edgin was left behind come April, finally making it to Flushing in mid-July. Once a member of the big club, Edgin saw plenty of duty out of the bullpen, performing with mixed results until he was shut down for the season on September 20th due to what was deemed enough use for one year.
Unfortunately for Edgin, his season ended on a bad note — his last pitch of 2012 resulted in a Ryan Howard grand slam in the final inning of a 16-1 trouncing at the feet of the Phillies. The blast came less than 24 hours after Edgin allowed another ninth-inning Howard homerun — one that gave the Phillies a come-from-behind victory and tagged Edgin with a blown save and loss in his first MLB save opportunity. Maybe those homers will motivate Edgin this winter; on the other hand, maybe they will shake his confidence going forward. Or maybe Edgin will forget the taters altogether.
In truth, it could be argued that those two homers were the result of Edgin’s fatigue. He pitched in 34 of the Mets’ final 75 games; work that over a 162-game schedule and you’re talking 73 appearances. That may not sound like a heavy load compared to today’s one-out specialists (73 wouldn’t even crack into the top ten in NL appearances), but consider that Edgin pitched in only 41 games last year and 49 the year before. As it was, Edgin appeared in 6 games for Binghamton and 35 for Buffalo, giving him a combined season total of 75 at all levels. For a LOOGY, that’s about par for the course. However, LOOGYs are defined as “One Out GuYs,” and Edgin was more than that in the minors — he averaged about an inning per appearance. At the big-league level, Edgin’s use was all over the board. He was used against lefties (62 LH batters faced) and righties (45); as early as the fifth inning and as late as the ninth; for as many as two innings and 35 pitches and as little as one batter; in tie games, blowouts, and everything in between. As far as frequency of use, Edgin was used in back-to-back games a dozen times; with one day’s rest 13 times; two days’ thrice. In short, he was tested in every conceivable situation. Considering he was a man without a role, his numbers weren’t all that terrible. His 4.56 ERA was nothing to write home about, but his 1.13 WHIP and 30 Ks in 25 IP were encouraging signs that the Mets might have something in Edgin. The 10 walks were a few too many (none were intentional, BTW), and the 5 homeruns allowed were far too many. I don’t want to put too much stock in the numbers, however, because a) it’s a small sample size; b) some of the good numbers could be due to both the element of mystery and advantage of facing September callups; and c) some of the bad numbers could be due to jitters, lack of experience, confusion in role, and fatigue.
What I will put stock in is what my eyes saw, which was a lefty who threw with decent to good velocity and plenty of sideways movement on his slider. I saw a young man who usually had confidence in his stuff, bounced back after tough outings, and didn’t show any fear in difficult situations. I saw someone who seemed adaptable to various situations and didn’t have trouble pitching back-to-back days. Further, I saw a pitcher who, for the most part, was tough on lefthanded hitters and also made righthanded hitters seem fairly uncomfortable. Finally, I saw a pitcher who occasionally had fits of startling wildness; enough to make ME slightly uncomfortable.
Going by a combination of my eyes and the stats, there’s enough to suggest that Josh Edgin — at minimum — has a long career ahead of him as a Major League LOOGY, and there’s no reason that career shouldn’t continue as of Opening Day 2013. There’s enough variation between his 92-93 MPH fastball and 85-87 MPH slider to give lefty hitters fits; whether he can spot and command the fastball consistently enough to retire righthanded batters on a regular basis is what we need to find out next year. Can he be more than a LOOGY? The eye-popping 10.5 K/9 ratio through his first 25 big-league innings suggest it’s possible, but again, we have to also look at the raw skills viewed by the eye — and from that perspective, we need to see fastballs placed on the edges of the strike zone, rather than the middle, and we need to not see those occasional bouts of complete loss of control. For what it’s worth, I hope to see Josh Edgin on the 25-man roster from Opening Day, and will be interested to see what kind of development he makes over the course of the 2013 season. Considering that the Mets have little chance at the postseason next year, my guess is that hope will become reality. The only way I see him spending time in the minors in ’13 is if he completely loses track of the strike zone and/or suffers a considerable drop in velocity.