The winter overhaul is complete: the Mets have signed LaTroy Hawkins.
The 40-year-old Hawkins has agreed to a minor-league deal that includes an invitation to spring training. No word on the possible dollars yet.
Hawkins has always LOOKED like a guy who could be a shut-down, dominant closer — going back to his MLB debut in 1995. He never quite accomplished that status, though, mainly because he didn’t miss many bats — his career average is 6 strikeouts per nine innings, which is only OK. Though, he did have two mysterious seasons in which he whiffed more than 10 batters per every nine innings — in 2008 and 2010. I’m not sure how or why those blips occurred. He did play for NL teams (the Astros and Brewers), so perhaps he was used in situations when the opposing pitcher was at the plate?
Before we get all down on this signing, take a peek at his stats last year, which are remarkable, considering it’s LaTroy Hawkins: 3.64 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and 1.77 K/BB ratio in 48 ballgames. How was he so effective? I’m going to guess it had something to do with Angels manager Mike Scioscia putting Hawkins into situations in which he could succeed — a skill that separates Scioscia from most other managers. By the innings count — 42 — it’s assumed that Hawkins was used in matchup situations. But here’s something interesting: the tall righthander pitched better against lefthanded hitters than righthanded hitters. In 85 plate appearances, RH hitters smacked Hawkins to the tune of a .351 AVG, .400 OBP, and .909 OPS. In contrast, 93 lefty hitters managed only a .214 AVG, .267 OBP, and .576 OPS. He’s like the righthanded Darren Oliver.
So there you go – if he can make the club out of spring training, perhaps LaTroy Hawkins can be the Mets righthanded LOOGY.
About the Author
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.