Jason Isringhausen Continues To Amaze For The New York Mets

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIMay 23, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11:  Jason Isringhausen #45 of the New York Mets celebrates getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies on April 11, 2011 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

During the offseason, New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson was criticized for not signing any major free agents to improve the team. And after losing a couple of key members from their bullpen (Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi), Alderson was really really criticized for not spending money on improving the bullpen.

Well, with a little over a quarter of the season complete, it looks like Alderson is getting the last laugh.

Alderson built the 2011 Mets bullpen with castoffs and hand-me-downs like Pedro Beato, Tim Byrdak and Taylor Buchholz. This ragtag bunch is fifth in bullpen ERA (2.91) and fourth in K/9 (8.4).

Even Francisco Rodriguez, despite having runners on in every appearance, has a 0.76 ERA in 23.2 innings.

But perhaps Alderson’s biggest coup this offseason was the signing of former Generation K member Jason Isringhausen.

The Mets signed “Izzy” to a minor league contract, and so far, it’s proving to be one of the best bullpen signings of the offseason.

As a matter of fact, take a look at Isringhausen’s stats versus the highest-paid middle-reliever who signed this offseason:

Isringhausen has pitched just as well, if not better than most of his high-priced counterparts. He no longer throws 95 mph like he did when he first came up with the Mets over 15 years ago, but he can still throw in the 90s and he is throwing a cutter now 34 percent of the time, which has become a plus pitch for him.

On Friday night, he struck out Alex Rodriguez swinging on a cutter that was broke 3.5 inches to the left and was 88 mph. It was unhittable.

Whether or not Isringhausen can keep this up throughout the season remains to be seen (his .147 BABIP is ridiculously low and is bound to increase as the season moves along), but right now, Isringhausen is a great comeback story and once again proves that the relief pitcher position is the most unpredictable in baseball and that spending significant amount of money on them during the offseason is a foolish use of resources.

*Stats were accumulated before Sunday’s action.