The Mets selected left-handed pitcher Kyle Lobstein from the Rays in the Rule 5 draft this morning, despite talk they wouldn’t take anybody due to a crunch for space on the 40-man roster. By my count, Lobstein becomes the 38th man on the 40-man, so if the Mets add three more players via trade or free agency, he could get sent back to the Rays and this will all be meaningless.
But Lobstein seems like an interesting candidate for the Mets’ 2013 bullpen, even if he’s made only one professional appearance as reliever. He’s left-handed, first and foremost, so at the very least he becomes Spring Training competition for Robert Carson in the Mets’ seemingly perpetual quest to find a viable second lefty in the bullpen.
Though Lobstein’s stats as a starter have been underwhelming, he’s been very strong against Minor League lefties for at least the past two seasons. Across High A and Double-A in 2011 and 2012, Lobstein has struck out 27.3 percent of the left-handed hitters he’s faced and held them to a .238/.307/.357. And pitchers can usually throw a touch harder when used in shorter bursts, so it’s reasonable to expect Lobstein could become marginally more effective in a bullpen role.
Based on some Google returns, Lobstein seemed to throw fastballs in the high 80s and low 90s while working as a starter, so perhaps that ticks up to a consistent low-90s average as a reliever. He showed good control in the low Minors, but walked a few too many guys in Double-A in 2012.
That’s about all I’ve got. At the very least, Lobstein is a pretty funny name for a pitcher. Here’s what he looks like:
UPDATE, 10:30 a.m.: But then there’s this:
Lobstein, we hardly knew ye.
And there it is:
Goodnight, sweet prince.