To say the Mets’ bullpen was bad last season is an understatement. According to Baseball-Reference, they were second worst in the league in allowing inherited runners to score and sixth worst in runs allowed per game. Injuries to A.J. Ramos and Anthony Swarzak kept both out for much of the season, Jerry Blevins had a down year, and the trade of Jeurys Familia contributed to those struggles, leaving a group of young arms trying to figure it out at the major league level. Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo were the two lone standouts that offered some stability coming out of the pen.
Enter GM Brodie Van Wagenen, who was tasked with rebuilding a worrisome bullpen. His first major move of the offseason was trading for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.
Just 24 years old, the former Mariners closer is coming off a dominant season that earned him the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year award. He finished the season with a 1.96 ERA and 57 saves which led the league. He also struck out 124 batters in 73.1 innings pitched which came to a 15.2 K/9 rate.
Diaz relies heavily on his blazing fastball which can touch 100 mph but averages around 97.3 mph. Last season he moved away from his two-seam fastball and relied primarily on his four-seamer, which turned his season around and set him up for continued success. He couples that four-seam fastball with an effective slider that keeps hitters off balance. According to Statcast, of his pitches batters offered at, they swung and missed 39.8% of the time which is well above the league average of 24.9%.
PECOTA is projecting more of the same from the righty with his new team. It will be hard to top the highs from last season, but they are projecting 38 saves and a 1.80 ERA. MLB Network’s ‘The Shredder’ had him listed as the fourth best reliever in the league for the 2019 season.
He did have a heavy workload last season which is some cause for concern, but with Jeurys Familia back in the fold for the Mets they will have another option to go to if Diaz needs a day off. Manager Mickey Callaway also believes that having Familia around will help the new Mets’ closer as someone he can learn from.
Since being traded, Diaz has expressed nothing but excitement about joining the team and is ready for the challenge. Those who know Diaz think his fearlessness and confidence will serve him well in New York, and his entrance into games should be trumpeted frequently at Citi Field this season.