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Mets do something, or: Brian Bannister for Ambiorix Burgos

It was originally reported a couple of hours ago by Joel Sherman and Mark Hale of the New York Post, but Jon Heyman of confirms that the Mets have traded RHP Brian Bannister to the Royals for relief pitcher Ambiorix Burgos, effectively cornering the market on Ambiorixes (minor league outfielder Ambiorix Concepcion being the other).

Year  Age Lg   ERA     IP    H/9    HR/9   BB/9    SO/9   WHIP
2004  20  A    4.38  133.2   7.34   0.88   5.05   11.58   1.38
2005  21  AA   4.97   12.2   5.68   0.71   5.68   13.50   1.26
2005  21  MLB  3.98   63.1   8.53   0.85   4.41    9.24   1.44
2006  22  MLB  5.52   73.1  10.19   1.96   4.54    8.84   1.64
Burgos was a bright spot for the Royals in 2005 but really fell off a cliff in 2006. The main culprit were his homeruns allowed, which increased 120% last season. This fact is also illustrated by his HR/F (homeruns-per-flyball), which increased from 13.3% in 2005 to 23.5% in 2006. Some -- but not all -- of this spike can be attributed to his park (or is it vice versa?), which went from a park factor of 99 (1% better than average for pitchers) in 2005 to 106 (6% better than average for pitchers) in 2006.

Of the three main peripheral stats (strikeouts, walks, homeruns), homeruns tend to correlate the least from year to year. The good news for Burgos is that his walk and strikeout rates remained virtually unchanged, so progression back to the mean for his homeruns should result in a much more respectable 2007, even if everything else stays the same. His hit rate went up a bit, but a lot of that was the result of flyball outs turning into homeruns.

The best part is that Burgos is stlll only 22 years old, so there's reason to believe that his best years may lay ahead of him. Bannister is a low upside pitcher who makes up for some of his natural shortcomings with a lot of hard work on the field and in the video room. This is a move that helps the Mets in 2007 as well as down the road, as Burgos may have the stuff to be a closer for this team when Billy Wagner's contract expires after 2009.