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Sound the trumpets: The secret to Edwin Díaz’s turnaround

Alexa, play Narco.

Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

When the Mets first traded for Edwin Díaz in 2018, they acquired the best closer in the game at the time. He won the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year award after an incredible year in which he saved a league-leading 57 games with a 1.96 ERA. He set a new Mariners record for saves with his blazing fastball that touched 100 mph while also unleashing a wipeout slider. What the Mets didn’t realize at the time, however, was that they acquired the closer with one of the best, if not the best, entrance music in the game.

With the trumpets sounding from “Narco” by Blasterjaxx and Timmy Trumpet, the Seattle fans went crazy for their electric closer. Of course, when we at Amazin’ Avenue first heard it, we played it, and then we played it again, and again and again, to get us hyped up for the elite closer that had long been missing from this organization.

Then the unthinkable happened. Díaz changed his entrance music. It wasn’t the same. There were no trumpets heralding his arrival. There was no electricity in the stadium. To say it was a letdown is putting it mildly. Fans became more focused on the loss of prospect Jarred Kelenic, and Díaz became the target of their frustration, hearing boos regularly. His miniscule ERA ballooned to 5.59 and he saved just 26 games which was less than half from the previous year’s high.

Of course, it has been documented that the ball was juiced that year and coincidentally he was victimized by the long ball. He gave up 15 home runs for a rate of 2.3 HR/9 which was a far cry from his previous year’s low of 0.6 HR/9. His fly ball percentage also jumped from the previous year. In 2019 it was 43.8% compared to 35.3% in 2018. Giving up more fly balls in a year the balls were juiced was a recipe for disaster. That disaster ended up taking the form of seven blown saves, the highest of his career. Thankfully he still showed flashes of his former self with strikeouts which remained on par from his time with the Mariners.

Knowing those results couldn’t continue we decided to take matters into our own hands at the first annual FanFest. We sent in our own David Capobianco as a sleeper agent to tell Díaz to change the music back to Narco when he met him, which he did. Díaz seemed to already be hinting at the change when he posted a picture on Instagram stories of him listening to it in his car.

Baseball players are notoriously a superstitious bunch, but with the change in music, the results followed. Unfortunately no fans were around to hear Narco blasting at Citi Field in 2020, but in 26 games he held a 1.75 ERA and cut the fly ball percentage to 34.1% which led to a home run rate of 0.7 HR/9. He also used his sinker more, and it became an effective pitch for him throughout the year. In a season where not much went right for the Mets, Diaz looking like an elite closer was certainly encouraging, despite the small sample, going into the 2021 season.

During spring training he once again confirmed he would be keeping “Narco,” which he specifically mentioned had given him success in the past. This time fans would be there to experience it and have responded accordingly. Even Blasterjaxx himself acknowledged Díaz’s use of his song.

Of course you only get entrance music at home and Díaz’s does have splits at home versus the road. At home this season he has five saves two of which were multi-inning saves. His ERA is 1.42 at Citi compared with 4.15 on the road. His only blown save came on the road but he does have more saves with seven away from Citi. Granted the ball is seemingly “dejuiced” this year but once again he has done an excellent job of keeping the ball in the ballpark. He has yet to give up a home run, although Rhys Hoskins might beg to differ, and his fly ball percentage is down yet again to 32.7%. The hard hit rate is the lowest of his career and he has given up just three barrels according to Fangraphs.

Whether it’s “Narco,” the new ball, or a return to form, Edwin Díaz is looking like the elite closer he was in 2018 when the Mets first acquired him. As more and more people return to the games the trumpets will not only announce the arrival of once of the best closers in the game right now, but should ramp up the excitement level of the Citi Field faithful. Alexa, play Narco.