May 08, 2007

Is Smith Getting Worn Out?

Marc Hulet at The Baseball Analyst, writes about Joe Smith:

Every time I look at a New York Mets' box score, rookie reliever Joe Smith's name seems to be present. The 2006 third round draft pick - and 94th overall - out of Wright State appeared in 17 games during the Mets' first 29 games of the 2007 season.

That means Smith has appeared in just under 60 percent of the club's games. If he were to continue on this pace, Smith would finish the year with about 94 appearances. Rubber-armed Mike Marshall he's not, but it's enough to make me nervous.

But are the Mets really doing a disservice to Smith and the longevity of his career due to a dogged determination to win the World Series? If they are, then a lot of teams are guilty of abusing relievers early on in 2007. As of May 6, five relievers had appeared in 18 MLB games and nine more - including Smith - had pitched in 17 games. Another 12 had pitched in 16 games.

Another positive sign for Smith is that he has never thrown more than 25 pitches in any one appearance (but he's hit 25 three times). I can't say that I'm thrilled with the number of games Smith has appeared in early this season but things don't look as bleak as they did when I began researching this column. And really, how much can you complain about a pitcher who had an ERA of 0.00 through his first 17 major league appearances?

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