Daily Graphing – Heath Bell

I was having a lot of trouble finding someone to write about today, that was until I stumbled upon Heath Bell. Who is Heath Bell you ask? He was drafted in the 69th round of the 1997 draft by the Devil Rays, and then a year later was signed by the Mets as a free agent. Last year, still with the Mets, he pitched 46 innings with a not so wonderful ERA of 5.59 and was eventually sent back down to AAA. Let’s take a look at why he intrigued me so much.

K9

First of all, he’s a strikeout pitcher. His strikeouts per 9 innings (K/9) while in the majors sits at a very strong 8.87. As you can see, he’s been pretty dominant at every level of play at one time or another. So if he’s striking out this many people, with an ERA that high, he must walk a lot of batters, right?

BB9

Actually, no. His walks per 9 innings (BB/9) is well below the league average. In fact, he’s never had a problem walking batters. These are not the statistics of a pitcher with an ERA over 5. Most of his ERA is to blame on an extremely high batting average on balls in play (BABIP). Nearly 38% of the balls he hit into play became hits, which was poor enough to give him the 9th worst BABIP of any pitcher in baseball. It was so bad, that even his low number of home runs allowed couldn’t save his ERA.

BABIP

I’d be somewhat shocked if Heath Bell wasn’t back in the majors next year and much improved. As far as his strikeouts, walks, and home runs go, he’s better than a lot of team’s current closers. He might be a bit hittable at times, but there is no way his BABIP will be as high as it was in 2005 again. It’s also worth mentioning he’s very much a ground ball pitcher which only adds to his appeal. Don’t be surprised if he becomes an important piece of the Mets bullpen next season.




Print This Post



David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.


2 Responses to “Daily Graphing – Heath Bell”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Kristen Smith says:

    I truely believe that Heath Bell is under utilized. When he is called in he steps up to the plate and does the job he is there to do! Why don’t they play Heth Bell MORE!!!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Simply want to say your article is striking. The clarity in your post is simply spectacular and i can assume you are an expert on this field. Well with your permission allow me to grab your rss feed to keep up to date with future post. Thanks a million and please keep up the fabulous work

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>