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2016 Mets season preview: Antonio Bastardo

The lefty is likely to be a key part of the Mets' late-inning plans.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Bastardo had been a thorn in the side of the Mets for the past five seasons, so when they signed him this offseason to a two-year, $12 million dollar deal, many Mets fans breathed a huge sigh of relief. The lefty, who is effective against hitters on both sides of the plate, has a 129 ERA+, a 3.33 FIP, and racked up ten strikeouts per nine innings last season.

The Mets, especially after losing Jenrry Mejia to a second suspension and, ultimately, a lifetime ban, were looking for someone to, along with Addison Reed, lock down their late innings. With Bastardo from the left and Reed from the right, the Mets seemingly have a nice tandem for the bridge to Jeurys Familia.

Since his emergence as a regular reliever for the Phillies in 2011, Bastardo has never put up an ERA+ below 94, which, due to the volatile nature of relief pitching, is about as consistent as you can get. The one knock against him, historically, has been his walk rate, which is higher than many other high-leverage relievers. However, his run prevention limits the damage considerabl.

In 2015 for the Pirates, he walked 26 batters, good for 4.1 walks per nine innings, ending the year with a 2.98 ERA. For a somewhat arbitrary point of comparison, Reed  walked considerably fewer batters per appearance (3.1 walks per 9), and but ended the year with an ERA of 3.38.

Bastardo has not had a very good spring for the Mets, giving up two home runs, eight runs, and four walks in ten appearances thus far. But spring training statistics mean almost nothing.