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2017 Mets Season Review: Chasen Bradford had a promising rookie year

The right-hander pitched well for the Mets down the stretch and earned himself a serious look for the 2018 roster.

MLB: New York Mets at San Francisco Giants Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports

Chasen Bradford made his major league debut in 2017 and pitched well for the Mets out of the pen. However, because he made most of his appearances in the last two months of the team’s dreadful season, Bradford’s success flew somewhat under the radar.

In 33.2 innings of work, the righty pitched to a strong 3.74 ERA (91 ERA-), meaning that he was about 10% better than league average at preventing runs. Of the Mets’ 29 pitchers this year, Bradford ranked sixth in ERA. The righty backed that up with a 3.87 FIP (90 FIP-), which indicates that his peripherals were generally in line with his solid run-prevention skills.

Bradford pitches to contact and thrives by keeping the ball on the ground. His relatively few 7.22 K/9 and 0.80 HR/9 were similar to his minor league rates of 7.7 and 0.6, respectively. However, the right-hander’s 3.48 BB/9 with the Mets was significantly higher than his minor league walk rate of 1.9, which is something to keep an eye on going forward.

Another potential issue is Bradford’s susceptibility to the blowup inning. In his 28 appearances, the righty only surrendered runs in five of them. However, Bradford got absolutely bombed in four of those five appearances, surrendering 13 earned runs and 17 total runs in the 4.1 innings he pitched in those four appearances. This could just be a fluke, or even an encouraging sign because it shows that Bradford was effective in the vast majority of his outings. That said, the danger of a blowup inning is definitely something for the Mets’ next manager to monitor with Bradford on the mound.

In terms of his arsenal, Bradford was basically a fastball-slider pitcher who occasionally mixed in a changeup. His fastball, which averaged 91 mph, accounted for about three quarters of his pitches, while his 84-mph slider accounted for the other quarter.

Bradford seems to have earned at least strong consideration to make next year’s Opening Day roster. Given the unsettled state of the Mets’ bullpen, the team should have room for a reliever who was above average in about a half-season’s worth of work. Although he’s probably not yet a household name to most Mets fans, Bradford should get plenty more opportunities to prove himself at the major league level in 2018.