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Mets closer Edwin Diaz is not the unhittable force we expected

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 29: Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field on April 29, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The Cincinnati Reds defeated the New York Mets 5-4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 29: Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field on April 29, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The Cincinnati Reds defeated the New York Mets 5-4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz has been disappointing this year. When compared to other men with the same job title, he looks even more ineffective.

After a season where he saved 57 games for the Seattle Mariners, held batters to a .160 batting average, and finished the season with a 0.79 WHIP, New York Mets fans were hoping to see a similar unhittable force closing out games for them in 2019. Unfortunately, things haven’t gone so well for Edwin Diaz in New York. Though I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet, there’s no denying his inability to repeat history.

Following his blown save in Thursday night’s suspended game versus the St. Louis Cardinals, many Mets faithful are prepared to have flashbacks of Armando Benitez. Diaz has been mostly good but not great this season. When he has been off his game, though, he often implodes.

Thursday’s game can be partially blamed on the weather, but Diaz’s struggles go beyond this one outing. He’s just not having the same elite-level season he did in 2018. His WHIP is significantly higher and batters are getting hits when he’s on the mound. He finished Thursday’s outing with a .250 batting average against. As a closer, this number needs to be far lower.

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It’s essential to never compare yourself to others too often. To avoid jealousy and rage, you need to only focus on yourself. That’s what “they” tell us growing up. Even given this, I think it’s important to look at how other closers in baseball are performing just to give us a measuring stick.

With a 3.38 ERA on the season, Diaz in the second-tier among closers. He’s not in serious danger of losing his job. He is, unfortunately, allowing far more earned runs than the majority of men with the same job title.

Guys like Kirby Yates, Shane Greene, and Brad Hand currently have ERAs between 0.91 and 1.00. They’re leading the way in a season with some incredible numbers from closers. They’re off to a start that even surpasses Diaz’s 2018 campaign.

Among the 20 closers with 10 or more saves this season, Diaz’s 3.38 ERA ranks 16th. ERA hardly tells the whole story. So, looking at batting average against, he looks worse when he’s tied for 17th place.

Diaz is near the bottom in most of these numbers. His 44 strikeouts in 26.2 innings are wonderful but not nearly the best rate when you remember the existence of Josh Hader.

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Relief pitcher statistics are as ever-changing as any in baseball. One bad day and the whole year could look ruined. I do have faith Diaz will have a good year. Unfortunately, his peers are well on pace to have much better ones. This is what doesn’t sit well for most of us.

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