With the trade deadline looming, there are many reports stating that the New York Mets are in the market for a middle reliever. While that is a valid place to upgrade the team (mostly due to the disappointing season from Antonio Bastardo), the bullpen has had an incredible backbone with Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia.
One less-talked-about name in the bullpen is Hansel Robles.
The failed starter-turned-reliever has had an excellent 2016 campaign thus far and has even taken the bulk of the seventh-inning appearances since the All-Star break.
Robles was solid in the bullpen in the 2015 season as well, ending with a 3.67 ERA, 3.91 FIP, a 28.1 percent strikeout rate, and a 8.1 percent walk rate in 57 games (54.0 IP). That is a very respectable, solid season, especially from a rookie who had no expectations at all.
Robles has built upon that productive campaign to become one of the most important cogs in the very good Mets bullpen this year.
He is pitching a lot more, already appearing in 41 games (47.1 IP), and he is thriving with the added role. He has a 2.66 ERA and a 3.46 FIP, both big improvements over last season. His K% (27.1) and BB% (10.1) are relatively similar to his marks last year, so it is safe to say those are his K% and BB% ranges. His walk rate is higher than one would want, but his strikeout rate is excellent, and the strikeouts make the walks survivable. He also has a very impressive 83.6 percent left-on-base percentage.
Interestingly enough, Robles has reverse splits, meaning he is better against left-handed batters than he is against right-handed batters. Righties are hitting .276/.350/.451 against him, and lefties are hitting .176/.256/.315 against him. He has faced more righties than lefties, 117 to 82, but the difference is negligible. He is striking out 30.5 percent of left-handed batters and 25.6 percent of right-handed batters. He has really dominated left-handed hitters so far this year.
Robles is easily one of the better Mets relievers. His K% is third-best among all Mets pitchers. His left-on-base percentage is second on the team (although he is only behind Seth Lugo, who has 7.1 IP this year, so he is basically first). His FIP is seventh among all Mets pitchers. His 0.6 WAR is eighth, and third among relievers.
He is solid when compared to the rest of the league, as well. He is 44th in strikeout percentage and 52nd in WAR out of 156 qualified relievers. He is not elite, but he is well above average.
The hard-throwing right-hander has been a solid piece of the Mets bullpen throughout the season. He has continued his strong play into the second half of this season, throwing five scoreless innings since the All-Star break ended.
While it is prudent that the Mets add another bullpen arm, Hansel Robles is showing all the signs of being a solid seventh-inning guy, solidifying an impressive Robles-Reed-Familia connection.