New York Mets 2009 Rundown: J.J. Putz

Andrew WhartonCorrespondent IFebruary 10, 2009

2008 Stats

47 G, 6-5, 15 SV, 3.88 ERA, 46.1 IP, 56 SO, 1.597 WHIP

Coming off of his toughest season in the majors to date, big 6'5", 250-pound right-hander J.J. Putz will start the season as the New York Mets' setup man.  He will be the first "closer" to enter the game for the Mets before handing the ball to Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth, which could turn out to be the deadliest one-two combo in recent history. 

Prior to his struggles in 2008, Putz was outstanding in both 2006 and 2007.  During that time period, he accumulated 76 saves, struck out 186 batters in just 150 innings, and had a WHIP of 0.919 and 0.698 those years, respectively.  He also was an All-Star in 2007 and was nominated for the American League MVP award (Alex Rodriguez won almost unanimously with 26 votes).

Suffice it to say, Putz was unhittable in those two seasons. 

In 2008, Putz was the victim of two injuries, which caused him to miss significant time throughout parts of the season and to pitch in pain whenever he was active.  In April of 2008, he suffered a rib cage injury that landed him on the 15-day DL.  In June, he was deactivated once more due to a hyper-extended right elbow.

Putz saw both his ERA and WHIP rise in 2008, yet his K/9 ratio was still astronomically high (10.88), and he still managed to record 15 saves.  

Entering 2009 with many questions surrounding his health, Putz will seek to prove he can regain his 2007 form and help propel the Mets to a championship.  He has been quoted many times as saying "I'm fine," and the Mets' medical staff was very impressed with the results of his physical in December, so all signs currently point to success in 2009 for J.J. Putz.

2009 Prediction

64 G, 5-2, 8 SV, 2.56 ERA, 62 IP, 75 SO, 1.145 WHIP