At the onset of the 2014 season, Gonzalez Germen figured to have every opportunity to pitch his way into a meaningful role in the Mets' bullpen, given his youth, cost-effectiveness, and a decent major league debut in 2013—to say nothing of the then-dubious nature of the Mets' bullpen in general. Unfortunately for Germen, his uneven performance, nagging illnesses, and the emergence of several other bullpen arms conspired to render his 2014 season a disappointing one. Germen must work on several aspects of his game if he is to figure prominently in the Mets' bullpen plans going forward.
A cursory glance at Germen's 2014 statistics reveals the story of a season of regression and ineffectiveness. In 25 major league appearances spanning 30 innings of work, Germen posted an unsightly 4.75 ERA and 5.57 FIP. While his K/9 improved slightly to a strong 9.2, he continued to struggle with issuing walks, as evidenced by a 4.15 BB/9.
Disappointing command issues aside, one need look no further than Germen's batted-ball numbers to see where the hammer really dropped on his 2014 season. Simply put, Germen served up too many home runs. By way of comparison, Germen allowed exactly one home run in 34 innings pitched in 2013, whereas in 2014, he allowed seven long balls in four fewer innings. Accordingly, his HR/FB ratio ballooned to 18.4% in 2014, up from 2.4% the year before.
A possible explanation for these poor results is Germen's approach in 2014 varied rather significantly from his debut season, in that he relied much more heavily upon his fastball—which he threw 65.1% of the time, up from 55.1% in 2013—at the expense of his slider and, in particular, his changeup. Germen also suffered through a protracted illness during the season.
Gonzalez Germen's 2014 was disappointing, but given his age, cost, ability to strike out big league hitters, and years remaining of team control, he figures to have every chance to play a significant role in the Mets' bullpen going forward.
Desired 2015 role: A dependable middle-inning reliever in a lock-down bullpen
Projected 2015 role: A low-leverage reliever