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2015 Mets season review: Erik Goeddel

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A relatively unheralded prospect, Goeddel found success as a major league relief pitcher in 2015—when healthy.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Like Hansel Robles, Erik Goeddel is a right-handed pitcher who hadn't received much attention as a prospect but had a successful rookie season with the Mets pitching out of the bullpen in 2015. Drafted by the Mets out of college in the 24th round of the 2010 draft, Goeddel ranked 39th on the Amazin' Avenue list of the organization's top fifty prospects for 2013, but he didn't make the top twenty-five for 2014 or 2015.

Goeddel, whose right elbow has undergone multiple surgeries over the course of his career, climbed the ranks of the Mets' system as a starting pitcher. When he reached Double-A Binghamton in 2013, he was in his age-24 season, and he finished that year with a 4.37 ERA. The Mets put him in Triple-A Las Vegas to start the 2014 season but moved him to the bullpen and kept him there for the duration of the season. The results weren't pretty, as he had a 5.37 ERA, but if there were encouraging signs, they were his strikeout rate of 9.0 per nine and respectable home run rate—in the context of the Pacific Coast League and his home ballpark—of 0.8 per nine.

At the end of the 2014 season, Goeddel got a cup of coffee with the Mets as a September call-up and fared well in six appearances. He was set to begin the 2015 season in Triple-A, too, but the Mets called him up in early April to take the roster spot of Jenrry Mejia, who had been suspended for a positive PED test.

Things went very well for Goeddel in his first twenty-two appearances of the season. He had a 1.96 ERA in 23.0 innings of work with 23 strikeouts and seven walks. Then his elbow flared up again, and an MRI on it was inconclusive because of Goeddel's past elbow problems. That news sounded relatively grim, but Goeddel started a rehab assignment in early August. He stayed there through the end of the month, and things weren't going well, as he had a 5.06 ERA in 10.2 innings between High-A St. Lucie and Binghamton.

Goeddel rejoined the Mets at the beginning of September, though. The results the rest of the way weren't quite as good as they had been before he hit the disabled list, but in 10.1 innings, he had a 3.48 ERA. Add up those halves of his season, and Goeddel had a 2.43 ERA and 2.47 FIP in 33.1 innings with 9.18 strikeouts, 2.43 walks, and 0.27 home runs allowed per nine innings. His postseason life was brief, as he gave up three runs without recording an out against the Dodgers in the Mets' blowout win over the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLDS and replaced by Sean Gilmartin on the NLCS roster.

It's worth noting that Goeddel's average fastball was down a bit in September, according to Brooks. Based on his performance in 2015, he should have a good shot at a spot in the Mets' Opening Day bullpen unless the team makes one or more relief pitcher acquisitions between now and then. Whether or not his elbow holds up over the course of a full season is another question, but his 44-inning workload in 2015 was his lowest single-season mark since 2011. Perhaps the recently-turned 27-year-old will have better luck with the elbow in 2016.