Through the first month-and-a-half of the 2016 season, the Mets' bullpen has been very, very good. Ten pitchers, including Bartolo Colon, have pitched in relief for the Mets, and of the seven currently in the pen, Logan Verrett has the worst ERA at 2.89.
One of those seven pitchers is Addison Reed, who the Mets traded for last August on their way to winning the National League East and the National League pennant. Following the season, he was a somewhat expensive relief pitcher as he headed toward an arbitration raise, but the Mets wisely tendered him a contract. He's been nothing short of excellent in his first full season with the team.
In 17 innings over 19 appearances, Reed has 24 strikeouts and has walked just four opposing batters. That's 12.71 strikeouts and just 2.12 walks per nine innings. That strikeout rate is the 15th-highest in baseball among 176 qualified relief pitchers this season. The walk rate is the 36th-lowest. That difference is very impressive, whether you prefer a ratio of strikeouts and walks or simply subtracting them. Reed is tied for the 16th-highest ratio at 6.00 strikeouts per walk, and the difference between his strikeout and walk rates on a percentage basis—27.8—is the 13th-best among the same group.
Reed has also allowed just one home run, and in total, he has a 2.65 ERA and a 1.76 FIP. The ERA ranks just 71st, but his FIP ranks 10th. That doesn't necessarily mean Reed's ERA will improve, but it won't be surprising if it does.
As for his stuff, well, not much has changed. Per Brooks Baseball, he's throwing almost exactly as hard as he has in each of the past two seasons. He technically throws three pitches, but he's thrown just two changeups this year.
But the results have been different. Reed's swinging strike rate this year sits at 13.6 percent, which is well above the 10.9 percent major league average for relievers this year and Reed's career 11.0 percent rate.
Those swinging strikes have all come from Reed's primary two pitches. His fastball whiff rate is at 13.74 percent, which would be a career-best over the course of a single season. But his slider has generated swings-and-misses 26.79 percent of the time. That's outstanding.
Reed was outstanding last night against the Nationals as the Mets won 2-0. He got four swinging strikes with his fastball and one with his slider, and he struck out two batters in a perfect inning. MLB.com didn't make a video of that, but this video from his April 11 appearance is a good display of Reed's dominance.
Terry Collins has several good options available in his bullpen, but having Reed around for high-leverage work leading up to Jeurys Familia has been a big part of the bullpen's success. He's not the only pitcher who deserves that work, and in the end, he might not even be the best of the bunch. But if that's the case, it's probably because his peers are performing really well, too.
Right now, the trade that sent minor league pitchers Miller Diaz and Matt Koch to the Diamondbacks for Reed looks like a very good one for the Mets.