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New York Mets: Examining ten relievers they received in recent trades

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CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Jacob Rhame #35 of the New York Mets pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the ninth inning at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The New York Mets won 10-3. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Jacob Rhame #35 of the New York Mets pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the ninth inning at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The New York Mets won 10-3. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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Ryder Ryan

Ryder Ryan came to the Mets in August of 2017 in a deal that shipped Jay Bruce to the Indians. Bruce was having a great season and Ryan, being a 30th round draft pick from the year prior, felt like poor compensation for the Mets’ best hitter at the time.

Despite the negativity towards his acquisition, Ryan has performed pretty well at the lower levels of the minor leagues. In 2018, he threw 20.1 innings and gave up 4 earned runs (1.77 ERA) at Advanced-A ball.

Upon being promoted, his results plateaued to a 4.13 ERA in 32.2 innings of Double-A baseball. The good news is, between both levels Ryan struck out 59 batters (10.0 K/9) proving he has some bat-missing ability.

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The story behind Ryan is that he was a below average position player in college and was drafted by the Indians to take advantage of his live arm and be a right-handed relief pitcher.

If you’re dismissing this concept, may I remind you that NL Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom was a 9th round draft pick with the same background. A former light hitting position player for Stetson University turned superstar ace.

Not that Ryan will be the next deGrom. But, maybe he can use his mid-90’s fastball to turn in some quality middle relief innings down the road. Looking towards 2019, you may not see Ryan at all unless he is a September call-up.

Regardless of where you see him next, don’t be so quick to give up on him. Even if his skills are sub-par, his name may be cool enough to propel him into a big league role.

Drew Smith

Drew Smith was acquired just before the 2017 trade deadline in a deal that sent Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays.

He finished 2017 with Double-A Binghamton throwing 15 innings to the tune of a 1.80 ERA. He began 2018 on a similar note, accomplishing a 2.08 ERA in 4.1 innings for Double-A before being promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas where he managed a 2.76 ERA in 32.2 innings despite pitching in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

His terrific minor league ERA and 8.8 K/9 earned him a couple of well-deserved call-ups in the middle of the summer that saw him pitch 28 innings with a 3.54 ERA for the Mets.

Smith, another righty, has a quick arm with a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s and a sharp curveball. He throws his glove hand into the air before rocking back and delivering from a high arm angle, creating deception similar to the style of a young Tyler Clippard.

His ERA was sub-2.00 before a couple of unfortunate outings in late September, spoiling an otherwise terrific MLB debut. Smith’s good stuff has not translated to strikeouts at the Major League level (5.8 K/9) but that may also be attributed to his surprising strike-throwing ability (1.9 BB/9).

Expect the Mets to give him a legitimate shot at a middle relief spot to open the 2019 season.

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