It didn’t take long after Bobby Parnell’s injury for Jose Valverde to lose his job as the New York Mets’ closer, which has forced manager Terry Collins to hand the job over to Kyle Farnsworth, who wasn’t even a part of the Mets’ Opening Day roster. Given Farnsworth’s age, diminished velocity, and Collins’ reluctance to pitch him on back-to-back days, it’s only a matter of time until Farnsworth proves himself unfit to be a full-time closer in the big leagues.
With the Mets relying on these two aging veterans who are well past their prime, they desperately need young flamethrower Vic Black to get his act together, re-join the team, and claim the closer’s job for the rest of the season.
Following a lackluster Spring Training during which he struggled with his control, Black was deservedly sent to triple-A after being denied a spot on the team’s Opening Day roster. But of every healthy pitcher the Mets have in their organization, Black is best suited to be a closer as he possesses the velocity to throw the ball past hitters, something that Valverde and Farnsworth don’t do quite as well anymore.
Despite missing a week with a minor neck injury, Black has thrown 6.1 shutout innings in triple-A this season, including three shutout innings in his most recent appearance. However, he’s already accumulated seven walks in that short period of time. The walks have continued even after Black made a change to his mechanics that was meant to help him replicate the success he had with the Mets last September, when he looked like a pitcher the Mets could rely on to play a significant role in the bullpen this season.
With Valverde and Farnsworth being nothing more than temporary replacements in the closer’s role, the Mets need Black to recapture his form from last September. They need him to get his act together, improve his control and stop walking batters so he can return to the big leagues and take the reigns as the Mets’ closer.
The sooner it happens, the better, as Black being the team’s closer is something that would be in both the short-term and long-term interest of the Mets.