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2007 Bullpen Preview: Scott Schoeneweis

Mike SteffanosFriday, January 26, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

Scott Schoeneweis was a third round pick of the California Angels in 1996. He played collegiate ball at Duke. Schoeneweis advanced quickly through the Angels' system, making the list of Baseball America's top 10 prospects for that organization in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Here is a portion of his scouting report from 1999, when he selected as the Angels number two prospect:

Background: Schoeneweis enjoyed one of the healthiest seasons of his life last year and was rewarded with a place on the 40-man roster. His first full pro season (1997) was interrupted by rib cage problems, while his college career at Duke was marred by Tommy John surgery and treatment for testicular cancer.

Strengths: Schoeneweis has four average major league pitches; his fastball and slider are his best weapons. He can flash above-average action on his slider and 91-92 mph occasionally on his fastball.

Weaknesses: Schoeneweis gets his strikeouts with his slider but allows a lot of hits with his fastball, which lacks the key late movement that can throw off better hitters. There always will be questions hanging over Schoeneweis about his durability.

After getting his first taste of the big leagues in 1999, Schoeneweis held down a rotation slot with the Angels in 2000 and 2001. The following year he split time as a starter and reliever, and pitched as a reliever in the World Series. His struggles retiring right-handed batters limited his success as a starter, but his effectiveness against lefties (.231 Career AVG) made him valuable as a reliever. He spent all of 2003 in the bullpen, first with the Angels and then the Chicago White Sox after a trade deadline deal.

The White Sox moved Schoeneweis back to the starting rotation in 2004, but elbow problems limited him to 19 starts. His season ended in mid-August with an operation to clean out his pitching elbow. He became a free agent after the season and signed a 2-year deal with Toronto, where he had a nice year out of the bullpen in 2005. His 2006 campaign was no nowhere near as good, however, and he was shipped to the Cincinnati in mid August for a player to be named later. He had a successful 6 weeks with the Reds to end the season, and after declining arbitration with the Reds became a free agent and signed a 3-year deal with the Mets.

Here are Scott Schoeneweis' career MLB numbers:

Scott Schoeneweis Major League Stats
Year-Team Games GS Innings Hits/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA AVG OBP SLG
1999 - ANA 31 0 39.1 10.8 5.0 3.2 0.9 5.49 .294 .349 .431
2000 - ANA 27 27 170.0 9.7 4.1 3.6 1.1 5.45 .276 .346 .437
2001 - ANA 32 32 205.1 10.0 4.6 3.4 0.9 5.08 .281 .351 .415
2002 - ANA 54 15 118.0 9.1 5.0 3.7 1.3 4.88 .264 .340 .431
2003 - ANA 39 0 38.2 8.6 6.8 2.3 0.5 3.96 .250 .309 .338
2003 - CWS 20 0 26.0 9.0 9.4 3.1 0.4 4.50 .255 .321 .314
2004 - CWS 20 19 112.2 10.3 5.5 3.9 1.4 5.59 .291 .364 .465
2005 - TOR 80 0 57.0 8.5 6.8 4.0 0.3 3.32 .245 .333 .314
2006 - TOR 55 0 37.1 9.4 4.3 3.9 0.7 6.51 .273 .350 .392
2006 - CIN 16 0 14.1 5.7 6.9 5.0 0.6 0.63 .176 .300 .294

MLB Totals 374 93 818.2 9.6 5.1 3.6 1.0 5.01 .273 .345 .413

Although the Mets cited Schoeneweis' flexibility as a starter or reliever, it's clear from looking at his numbers that his best seasons were primarily as a reliever. His lifetime ERA as a reliever (4.25) is more than a run better than as a starter (5.33), and the other numbers bear this out clearly:

  Games Innings ERA AVG OBP SLG
Starter 93 577.1 5.33 .280 .332 .455
Reliever 281 241.1 4.25 .255 .329 .359

A look at Schoeneweis' lefty/righty splits plainly show why he is so much better in the bullpen, where he is matched up more often against lefthanders:

Scott Schoeneweis L/R Splits
Year   Innings ERA Hits/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 AVG OBP SLG
2005 vs. RHB 27.0 3.67 11.0 6.3 5.0 0.3 .306 .405 .389
 vs. LHB 30.0 3.00 6.3 7.2 3.0 0.3 .188 .258 .241

2006 vs. RHB 27.2 7.16 8.8 4.6 4.2 1.3 .257 .339 .429
 vs. LHB 24.0 2.25 7.9 5.6 4.1 0.0 .236 .330 .292

Career vs. RHB             .291 .362 .459
 vs. LHB             .231 .303 .302

Omar Minaya cited Schoeneweis' superior numbers against lefties at the time of the signing, and I really do think it is much more likely he will fill the role of situational lefty or take the Darren Oliver swing role rather than start games. My assumption on the signing of Scott Schoeneweis was that the Mets wanted some insurance in case Pedro Feliciano experienced a career year last season -- not an unreasonable worry for a 31-year-old pitcher who has 133 total major league innings. With Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Brian McCann, Chipper Jones and Nick Johnson in the division, the situational left-hander role can't be taken for granted. If Feliciano proves that last year was no fluke, there is room for two effective lefties in the 'pen. By signing Schoeneweis, Minaya ensured that he would have at least one.

2007 Bullpen Previews:
Jon Adkins
Adam Bostick
Ambiorix Burgos
Marcos Carvajal
Pedro Feliciano
Aaron Heilman
Guillermo Mota
Clint Nageotte
Juan Padilla
Chan Ho Park
Duaner Sanchez
Steve Schmoll
Scott Schoeneweis (This Article)
Aaron Sele
Joe Smith
Jorge Sosa
Billy Wagner
Other Candidates
Four Other Names for You

2007 Pitching Previews: Summing It All Up

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (3)

Besides mentioning my resentment at having to learn Schoeneweis' name, let me offer two thoughts:

You mention the differential in Scott's ERA numbers as a starter and as a reliever, 4.25 to 5.33. In fact, most of that difference is the result of the difference in the pitching roles; starters get charged with runs scored after they have left the game, relievers come in to lose a game by a run, which ends the game and limits the damage of a potentially very bad outing, et cetera. Year in year out relievers as a group tend to have a collective ERA of slightly over half a run less than the starters; and, since the bullpen pitchers as a group are almost certainly less talented than the group of major league starters(the group includes closers, but also the 9th, 10th and 11th men on the roster), I think it's probable that the difference in the roles accounts for more than half a run differential. That is my own observation from a while back; someone who follows the stat research more closely than I can probably cite a study that demonstrates this.

My other thought is: why in god's name give this man a three year deal? He gets hurt often, he is NOT young, and he is not very good. Word was that no other team was offering him a multi-year deal. I give Omar miles of latitude as a rule, simply because he has been right so many times; but I do not understand this signing, at all.

dd - In fairness to me, I wasn't making a point about anything using only ERA. I was also using AVG/OBP/SLG which have nothing to do with role. I do think that the difference of over a run in ERA had some significance.

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