New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz will dot the “i’s” in wins this year
By Leen Amin
Just how beneficial is it for the New York Mets to have Edwin Diaz as their closer this year?
Having a great closer is essential to teams hoping to make a playoff run, and the New York Mets got themselves baseball’s best closer in 2018 this past offseason. Trading for Edwin Diaz was one of the team’s best moves this offseason, especially because their bullpen has been struggling for too long.
Jeurys Familia, who has been the Mets’ closer for several years now and was re-signed in the offseason after being traded to the Oakland A’s at the end of 2018, is great, but the Mets could not have gotten anyone better than Diaz.
In 2018, Diaz boasted a 1.96 ERA, 124 strikeouts, and an MLB-leading 57 saves in 73.1 innings pitched with the Seattle Mariners. Diaz gave baseball fans something memorable to see in 2018, and Mets fans are hoping the 25-year-old can repeat in 2019.
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It seems as though anyone can get hurt whilst playing for the Mets and even though Diaz does not have a history of injuries, fans will be wishing for him to avoid any IL stints in 2019. If the Mets can keep him healthy, his impact on the team will be invaluable.
The Mets have, in my opinion, the best rotation in baseball, but the team still could not win because of an abysmal bullpen that could not help blowing leads (see 2018 NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom’s bizarre record). They need to put a stop to this horrific trend and there is no better man for the job than Diaz.
Many fans have been citing Diaz’s less than promising Spring Training performance, which can be difficult to ignore.
However, as I have previously mentioned, I am not one to be repulsed or enamored by the performance of players during Spring Training. I am not worried that Diaz has pitched quite poorly during Spring Training and believe that he will be outstanding and one of, if not the, best closer in baseball in 2019.
The fact that he is so young makes him that much more appealing, as well. He is flexible enough to keep learning and improving his game. He already has one of the filthiest fastball-slider combos in the game, and touching up on those pitches would just be unfair to the rest of the league.
I also think the re-acquisition of Familia is important for Diaz. Familia has been one of the better closers in baseball over the years and because he is considered to be a veteran at this point, he can definitely help Diaz and be his mentor with regard to pitching mechanics and work ethic.
It appears as though Familia will be Diaz’s set up man, and the two will be sure to make an unstoppable duo.
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Regardless of what we have seen from Diaz this spring and of general Mets fans’ pessimism, I have high hopes for Diaz. He will prove to not just the team but to the entire league that he deserves to be crowned baseball’s best closer and will be crucial in taking the team to the postseason.