Mar 19, 2016

2016 NL Champion Mets Reliever: Antonio Bastardo (2016)

Antonio Francisco Bastardo was born September 21st, 1985 in the Dominican Republic. The five foot eleven left handed reliever bats right handed. He was signed as an amateur free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005.

He began his career at low A ball going 9-0 with 1.87 ERA blowing away hitters with his fastball. He was used as a started in his early career, spending four full seasons in the minors before getting to the big leagues with the Phillies in 2009 for six games, going 2-3 as a starter. A shoulder injury shut him down for most of the rest of the regular season but he made the post season roster. Bastardo had one appearance in both the 2009 NLDS & NLCS.

Bastardo returned as a reliever for 25 games in 2010, he went 2-0 with 26 strike outs in just 18 innings, finishing up two games. His ERA was a concern at 4.25. He made another appearance in the NLCS loss to the San Francisco Giants. 

In 2011 Bastardo took over the Phils closer role when Ryan Madsen went down with injury. He exceled in the role, going 6-1 with 8 saves & a 2.64 ERA. He posted 70 strike outs in 58 innings with 26 walks. He also recorded 17 holds in the set up role & had himself a 17 inning scoreless streak as well. 

In the off season the Phillies signed Jonathan Paplebon & Bastardo agreed to let him wear his uniform #58. Bastardo switched to #37. The next year he gave that up to Mike Adams & switched to #37.

In 2013 he was involved in some drama, caught up in MLB's Biogenesis performance enhancing drug scandal & was suspended for 50 games. He returned to go 3-2 with two saves & a career best 2.32 ERA in 48 games. As the Phillies went down the tubes, Bastardo remained one of their best pitchers & relivers. In 2014 he went 5-7 with a 3.94 ERA, striking out 84 batters in 64 innings, finishing up 17 games in the teams 89 loss season. That off season he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 2015 he was credited with a blown save in his Pirate debut & through the first two months was 0-1 with 5.11 ERA. But by June things turned around, he recorded two wins three days apart in the middle of the month & by July lowered his ERA to 3.13. In July he notched his first Pirate save, coming at home against the Padres. He earned two more victories in August, ad when he came to New York he struck out four Mets in a August 16th two inning appearance.

Bastardo finished the year 4-1 with nine holds & a 2.98 ERA as set up man in a strong Pirates bullpen. Bastardo struck out 64 more batters in 57 innings while walking 26 allowing just 39 hits. In the Wild Card Game loss to the Chicago Cubs he pitched a scoreless inning as well.

On January 22nd, the 30 year old signed a two year deal with the New York Mets for $12 million. He adds depth & left handed strength to the Mets bullpen as the bridge to closer Jeurys Familia. Last year lefties batted just .178 against him & he is most likely to be the late inning guy to face the NL's toughest left hand hitters. He strikes out a lot of hitters but is prone to walks.

Quotes: In February as he entered Spring Training with the NL Champion Mets Bastardo had this to say: "If our pitchers dominate from the first to the sixth or seventh inning, [opponents] aren’t going to have a chance. They’ll be frustrated from beginning to end. The team was in the World Series and competed the whole year. That makes me think we can be in that spot this year, for sure."

Family: Antonio is married to his wife Maribel.

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