"Splitsville" is a series of articles on the Mets' prospects that we'll be doing throughout their minor league careers. In version one/chapter one (v1.1) of Eddie Camacho, we'll look at how he did at home versus the road, how he pitched with runners in scoring position, and more.
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Complete Reversal: It wasn't too shocking when left-handed pitcher Eddie Camacho went undrafted after going a combined 3-13 with a 5.82 ERA in his last two years at Cal State-Northridge. So as a result, his free agent signing with the Mets in June of 2004 went unnoticed. But after going 2-4 with 10 saves and a 2.74 ERA with the St. Lucie Mets in the Florida State League this past season, bringing his career ERA to 1.74 in the Mets' farm system, Camacho has many wondering how he has been able to totally reverse his fortunes in such dramatic fashion.
Inherited Runners Could Be A Problem: Eddie Camacho, who did make 17 starts in his final 44 games in college, has shown that he's a much more effective pitcher pitching out of the wind-up than he is pitching out of the stretch. With the St. Lucie Mets this past season, opponents hit 116 points higher off of Camacho while pitching out the stretch than they did while he was pitching from the wind-up.
Camacho held opposing batters to an even .200 batting average with the bases empty in 2005, but got tagged for a .316 average with runners on base in the Florida State League. His approach is nearly as strong with runners on base. When the bases are empty, his ground ball to fly ball ratio is nearly two to one, but the ratio drops down to one to one with runners on base. The bottom line? Camacho is much more effective starting an inning that coming into the game with inherited runners.
Better As A Closer? Camacho's amazing professional debut as a setup man for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2004 afforded him the opportunity to close more games for the St. Lucie Mets in 2005. And judging from Camacho's splits this past season, he might be better served as the team's closer.
As the team's setup man this past season, pitching in the 8th inning of games, Camacho gave up nearly twice as many fly ball outs as he did ground ball outs. But when pitching in the 9th inning of games, often in the game to close out victories, Camacho's ratios were the exact opposite. His ground ball to fly ball out ratio was nearly doubled when pitching in the 9th inning.
Traditional Kind Of Guy: Eddie Camacho, who turned in a fantastic 2005 season with the St. Lucie Mets this past year, was as dominant a pitcher at Tradition Field - home of the St. Lucie Mets - as there could have been. Camacho, who finished the season with a 3.57 ERA on the road, posted a 2.03 ERA at home.
All four of Camacho's losses in 2005 came on the road. Opponents hit .33 points higher on the road (.278) than they did at home (.245), and Camacho's command on the road was clearly not as good. 15 of his 21 walks this past season came on the road despite amassing four more innings at home. His walk ratio on the road was a lofty 5.95 per nine innings and just 2.38 per nine innings at home.
Camacho's demonstrative differences in control, and success, at home versus on the road is a significant cause for concern as he continues to develop in the Mets' farm system. No pitcher who walks nearly six batters per nine innings, even if it is just on the road, projects to be a Major League reliever. Despite the strong overall numbers this past season, the Mets will keep a close eye on Camacho's splits in 2006 and beyond. He'll need to prove he can handle pitching on the road before he can become a top pitching prospect.
Hot Start Skews Numbers: Many people may not remember that Eddie Camacho began the year with nine straight scoreless appearances for the St. Lucie Mets with a 5-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. He posted a 3.52 ERA over his final 36 games with a 1.57 strikeout-to-walk ratio. While it was still a tremendous year for the 23-year old southpaw, excitement over his season totals should be curtailed just a tad. His numbers in the final 3/4 of the season were less like the dominant pitcher he appeared to be by his season totals.
Not A Situational Lefty: Where the Mets get excited about Eddie Camacho is in his even-keeled success between left-handed and right-handed batters. Unlike most left-handed relievers in the Mets' farm system, Camacho doesn't seem to greatly favor pitching against a certain set of batters. Opposing right-handed batters hit .270 off of him while lefties hit just .242. While there was a difference, it is not nearly the two to one ratio posted by other left-handed relief pitching prospects in the Mets' organization.
In fact, if anything, Camacho's success against right-handed batters is a very encouraging sign in his development. While it is true righties hit for a higher average, Camacho posted a much better ground ball to fly ball ratio against right-handed batters (1.46) than against lefties (1.00).
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