Yesterday, Jose Valverde "won" the Piazza for Worst Relief Pitcher, out-sucking competitors such as Kyle Farnsworth, John Lannan, and Gonzalez Germen. Today, we hand out the Piazza for Best Relief Pitcher.
Weak links in the Mets' relief corps were dispensed with after struggling early, making way for call-ups of both young arms and surprisingly-effective veterans. As a result, the bullpen was much improved in 2014, and only got better as the season went on. Overall, the bullpen's defense independent pitching statistics didn't stand out (worst adjusted FIP in the NL). However, it was the best in the league at stranding runners, so it was above average at preventing runs (fourth-best adjusted ERA in the NL). Bobby Parnell or not, there are some impressive young relievers who might make the bullpen a strength in 2015.
The nominees for Best Relief Pitcher are:
Buddy Carlyle: Probably the most surprising nominee, Carlyle posted a 1.45 ERA in 31 innings after having last pitched in MLB in 2011. And that ERA was well-deserved; his K/BB ratio was a team-best 5.60. Who knows if the magic will last for 36-year-old Carlyle next season, but for 2014, Sandy Alderson found himself a great scrap-heap reliever.
Josh Edgin: I was about ready to give up on Josh Edgin after two mediocre-to-bad seasons in 2012 and 2013. His bumbling start to 2014 at Triple-A Vegas didn't help matters. But then he went and absolutely torched left-handed hitters (and right-handed hitters!) this season after his call-up in mid-May. He struck out 28 and walked six in 27.1 innings pitched over 47 appearances. Lefties hit just .182/.217/.323 against him, which should secure him a role on the 2015 Opening Day roster as the lead LOOGY. Edgin's biggest hindrance to winning the Piazza is his comparatively few innings pitched. He sure was dominant, though.
Jeurys Familia: I'm still not exactly sure how to pronounce his first name, but I am sure that it was a breakout season for the flamethrowing Familia. He struck out 73 in 77.1 innings, en route to a terrific 2.21 ERA. The combination of quality performance and quantity of innings makes Familia a strong contender for the Piazza. No 2014 Mets reliever inspired more confidence in me than him.
Jenrry Mejia: It seems so long ago when Mejia was starting games for the Mets. He made his last start in early May, finishing with a 5.06 ERA in 37.1 innings over seven starts. He moved to the bullpen shortly thereafter and flourished immediately. He didn't allow an earned run until his 11th relief appearance, and he took over the closer role by mid-May. His final numbers as a reliever were strong -- 56.1 innings pitched, 2.72 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 60 strikeouts -- and his post-game stomp celebrations entertained even as the Mets fell out of contention.
Carlos Torres: Torres might be Sandy Alderson's best relief pitcher find. He was a workhorse for the Mets, pitching a whopping 92 innings in relief, the most in MLB. He also threw another five innings in an effective spot start in mid-August. He struck out 96 batters in 97 total innings, and finished with a 3.06 ERA. It would have been lower if not for a horrendous dead-arm stretch in July and August, during which he allowed six home runs in eight appearances. He should have a spot in next year's 'pen, if his arm can handle it after a busy 2014.
And the Piazza for Best Relief Pitcher goes to...
Jeurys Familia! Jeurys's teammates were as pumped as he was that he took home the hardware.
It's worth noting that Dana Eveland and Vic Black also pitched well out of the bullpen this season. Here is how everyone voted:
|Aaron Yorke||Jeurys Familia||Carlos Torres||Josh Edgin|
|Andrew Cohen||Jeurys Familia||Carlos Torres||Jenrry Mejia|
|Chris McShane||Jenrry Mejia||Jeurys Familia||Buddy Carlyle|
|Chris Strohmaier||Jeurys Familia||Josh Edgin||Jenrry Mejia|
|Colby Conetta||Jeurys Familia||Carlos Torres||Buddy Carlyle|
|Eric Simon||Jeurys Familia||Jenrry Mejia||Josh Edgin|
|James Kannengieser||Jeurys Familia||Jenrry Mejia||Josh Edgin|
|Jeffrey Litt||Jeurys Familia||Jenrry Mejia||Buddy Carlyle|
|Jeffrey Paternostro||Jenrry Mejia||Jeurys Familia||Carlos Torres|
|Joseph Wolkin||Josh Edgin||Jeurys Familia||Jenrry Mejia|
|Matthew Callan||Jeurys Familia||Vic Black||Carlos Torres|
|Michael Avallone||Jeurys Familia||Josh Edgin||Buddy Carlyle|
|Nicholas Walsh||Jeurys Familia||Josh Edgin||Buddy Carlyle|
|Scot Cohen||Jeurys Familia||Josh Edgin||Jenrry Mejia|
|Steven Schreiber||Jeurys Familia||Carlos Torres||Jenrry Mejia|
|Sydney Hunte||Josh Edgin||Buddy Carlyle||Jeurys Familia|
And here is the final vote tally, using a 3-2-1 points system:
Now it's your turn to vote. We'll summarize the community awards in a post at the conclusion of The Piazzas.