|Photo by Miguel Batista|
Many were left scratching their heads when Terry Collins indicated that Miguel Batista could be used in a late inning role(source ESPN NY), when he was discussing the shake-up in the bullpen.
Until 2002 the journeyman pitcher mainly served as a swing man, making double digit starts and coming out of the pen for multiple inning relief appearances each season. Eight seasons into his career the D-Backs would begin using him as a starter and for the next three seasons he would make at least 29 starts and pitch 180 innings.
A bad back would get him demoted to the Jays pen in 2005 and he would record 31 saves while blowing eight chances with an ERA of 4.10, he struck out 54 in 74 innings while walking 27.
The signing of B.J. Ryan made Batista expendable and he was traded back to the D-Backs where he returned to the rotation with a healthy back. The Mets aren't the first team since 2005 to flirt with using Batista in a late inning role.
In 2009 the Mariners brought him to camp to compete for the closers role ( source MLB.com) he didn't win the closers role but pitched in Seattle's pen that season and of his 56 relief appearances 18 were game finishes with one save to a 4.04 ERA. The next season the Nats used him as a reliever and recorded 18 game finishes in 57 relief appearances which included two saves with a 3.70 ERA.
Last season before coming to the Mets Batista was in the Cards camp as a closer candidate. He didn't end up winning the position but here's what was said about him during spring training...
Thrown into the role late in 2004, Batista converted five saves in seven games for the Blue Jays. Once he re-claimed the job the next spring, Batista had 31 saves, eight blown saves and a 5-8 record in 71 appearances in 2005. He finished the year with a 4.10 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 54 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings. Six of his losses came in the second half of the season, when opponents started walking more (.372 on-base percentage) and slugging much better (.476, up from .327). From Aug. 23 to Sept. 19, Batista blew four of his nine save opportunities. (I mention that merely to add perspective to Franklin's recent run.) In many ways, when Batista was at his best as a closer he was a lot like Franklin at his best, a wily contact closer:
-- In April 2005, Batista collected 21 groundball outs and three strikeouts in 10 innings while converting six of seven save opportunities.
-- In April 2010, Franklin had 18 groundball outs and three strikeouts in 10 innings while converting seven of seven save opportunities. source St Louis Today