Today pitching is all about power. But control is important too. Not allowing a batter to reach base via a walk can reduce the likelihood of a big inning. Especially since home runs are being hit at historic rates.
According to FanGraphs, walks Per 9 Innings (BB/9) is a rate statistic that measures how many walks a pitcher averages over nine innings. Of course, not many pitchers throw nine innings all at once anymore, but this is a way of standardizing the stat so it’s on an easy-to-understand scale. The formula is simple enough: BB/9 = Walks*9 / Innings Pitched.
FanGraphs considers a BB/9 less than 1.9 as great, less than 2.5 above average, and less than 2.9 as average. The modern (since 1901) single-season record belongs to Carlos Silva, who in 2005 had a 0.43 BB/9. He threw 188.1 innings and walked only 9 batters that season.
Earlier I looked at who has the best WHIP for the Mets. Today let’s start with which Mets pitcher has the lowest BB/9 allowed in a single Mets season.
Lowest BB/9 in a Season
Bret Saberhagen allowed the lowest walks per 9 innings in a Mets season. Saberhagen had an astounding 0.660 BB/9 in 1994, leading the league. He went 14 – 4 with a 2.74 ERA for the Mets that season. Saberhagen pitched 177.1 innings allowing only 13 walks while striking out 143!
The previous year, Saberhagen had pitched 139.1 innings and allowed only 17 walks while striking out 93. His control was so phenomenal that the few times he hit a batter (3) you could hear him shout “watch it!” as soon as the ball left his hand. He immediately knew it wasn’t going where he had intended it to go.
Other notables on the fewest walks allowed list are Rick Reed, who pitched for the Mets for five seasons. Reed was known as the poor man’s Greg Maddux. Like Maddux, Reed didn’t throw hard but his control and movement were exceptional.
The other name that also appears three times on the single-season BB/9 list is Bartolo Colon. Which brings us to the lowest allowed walks per 9 innings in Mets history.
Lowest BB/9 in History
|Mets Pitcher||Career BB/9|
Bartolo Colon allowed the lowest walks per 9 innings in New York Mets franchise history. Colon had a 1.315 BB/9 over his 3 seasons with the Mets. He narrowly beats Bret Saberhagen who had a 1.322 BB/9 over his 4 years with the team. In 588.2 innings pitched, Colon walked just 86 batters. For his 21 year career, Colon had a 2.5 BB/9. He once threw 38 consecutive strikes during a game.
Seeing the name of knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey on the list is pretty amazing. It shows what an unusual knuckle-baller he was. They usually have horrible control. But Dickey threw the ball hard and had surprising control.
It’s also impressive seeing current Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom on the list. Both of them, along with former Met Matt Harvey, are power pitchers. So having such good control along with that power is unusual.