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Greg Burke Is No Chad Bradford, But Maybe He’s Joe Smith

Posted By Howard Megdal On February 19, 2013 @ 12:04 pm In Today's Mets headlines | Comments Disabled

When evaluating exactly who can help the New York Mets improve upon their horrific 2012 bullpen performance, I keep returning to Greg Burke, signed early in the offseason, and already added to the 40-man roster.

[1]This may seem like wishful thinking, and to a certain extent, it is. Burke hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2009; he pitched for the Orioles at Double-A and Triple-A in 2012, but never earned a big league shot.

Still, some have compared the sidearming Burke to Chad Bradford [2], but this comparison isn’t really apt. Burke throws in the low-90s [3] with his fastball, slider coming in at 83. Bradford’s fastball regularly checked in [4] at lower velocity than Burke’s slider.

Accordingly, while Bradford struggled throughout his career to get lefties out (except, oddly, in his single season with the Mets), Burke has a better shot of doing so. And he did, last season in particular [5], putting up strong numbers against lefties and righties.

In this way, Burke has a chance to be more like a different righty sidearmer for the Mets in recent years, Joe Smith. While he was strictly an option against righties while with the Mets, Smith has become a true weapon [6] for the Cleveland Indians. His OPS against righties in 2012 was .600. Against lefties? .585. (Love you, J.J. Putz trade!)

Smith is a fastball/slider pitcher, with comparable velocity on both [7], though Burke throws a bit harder. But Smith represents a model of what Burke can be.

Considering how many people want to make Josh Edgin something more than a situational lefty, which is career splits indicate would be a massive stretch, I’m surprised to hear the universal conclusion that Burke is a ROOGY only.

This is a year to experiment in the bullpen, by necessity. Burke deserves a look as a crossover guy.

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URL to article: http://mets.lohudblogs.com/2013/02/19/greg-burke-is-no-chad-bradford-but-maybe-hes-joe-smith/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://mets.lohudblogs.com/files/2013/02/Indians-Spring-Baseba_Megd.jpg

[2] sidearming Burke to Chad Bradford: http://risingapple.com/2013/02/18/mets-reliever-greg-burke-brings-back-memories-of-chad-bradford/

[3] Burke throws in the low-90s: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=6282&position=P

[4] Bradford’s fastball regularly checked in: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=904&position=P

[5] last season in particular: http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=457566

[6] Smith has become a true weapon: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=smithjo05&year=2012&t=p

[7] with comparable velocity on both: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=3281&position=P

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