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Minor League Mondays: Vic Black Making Case for Major League Bullpen

May 19th, 2014 at 3:55 PM
By Mike Phillips

The New York Mets' bullpen has been in a state of flux for the majority of the season. After closer Bobby Parnell went down on Opening Day, the Mets have shuffled relievers all around the bullpen trying to find the right mix of arms. One man who has been forgotten is reliever Vic Black. Black, who was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, was expected to be the team's primary setup man before imploding in spring training and being demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. This week's edition of Minor League Mondays checks in on Black's progress with the 51's.

'Vic Black' photo (c) 2014, slgckgc - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Black has been serving as the 51's closer and has thrived in the role, recording six saves and striking out 17 batters in 17.2 innings pitched. Black also has pitched to a 1.53 ERA and opponents have hit .200 against him on the year. Black struggled with control in the early going, walking 10 batters in his first 9.1 innings pitched of the season, but he has settled down and walked only six batters over his next 8.1 innings. Three of those would come in one outing.

Black has had success at the Triple-A Level, but he has been bypassed for bullpen promotions multiple times. The Mets have added Kyle Farnsworth (since released), Jacob DeGrom, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Josh Edgin to their bullpen since the season started, all while Black continues to pitch well at Triple-A. Black's control issues are likely holding him back from being promoted, but if he can continue to straighten those issues out he could be up before long. Jose Valverde has lived on the edge in the bullpen, so a couple of disastrous outings could lead the Mets to swap him for Black eventually. Black will likely be a contributor in the Mets' bullpen before the season is over, either as an injury replacement or a future set up man like they originally envisioned.

Tags: Baseball, Minor League Mondays, MLB, New York, New York Mets, Vic Black

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