Justin Wilson is an essential piece of the New York Mets puzzle in 2020.
Brodie Van Wagenen’s first winter as the general manager of the New York Mets included some transactions he may never live down. One of the positives was the free agent signing of left-handed reliever Justin Wilson. Despite spending some significant time on the IL, Wilson managed to become one of the team’s most reliable bullpen arms in 2019.
Wilson appeared in 39 innings over 45 games in his first year with the Amazins. He gave them a 4-2 record, 2.54 ERA, and an average of 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Along with Seth Lugo, the pair managed to hold down the fort during the darkest days of Edwin Diaz.
Wilson will be back for the 2020 campaign with maybe even more expectations than before. Because he was so effective last year, the bar has been raised for his sophomore season in orange and blue.
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What makes Wilson even more important to the Mets is the lack of lefty help in the bullpen. I expect the Mets to address this at some point like when they added Luis Avilan last winter.
Until BVW actually does something, we’re going to have to wonder if they may view Daniel Zamora as a viable option for the Opening Day roster. He appeared to take a step back in 2019 after showing much more promise in 2018.
The best relievers in baseball should be capable of getting both lefties and righties out. Wilson did this well in 2019, holding lefties to a .217 average and righties down at .232. He’s not the typical southpaw some bullpens will have. He’s of a higher ilk.
Nevertheless, Carlos Beltran may choose to line him up to go against the toughest lefties on the other team. Without any other good options, he may not have much of a choice either.
Among all of the relievers, I may question Wilson least of all. He hasn’t gotten to the age where we’d expect a major sudden decline. With a career ERA of 3.25 and no season with a total above 4.20, we have a pretty good idea of where his ceiling and floor are.
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Capable of closing, setting up, or pitching in any role he’s needed, Wilson’s left arm is one of the most important ones for the 2020 Mets.