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New York Mets: Three Seth Lugo predictions for the 2020 season

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - AUGUST 17: Relief pitcher Seth Lugo #67 of the New York Mets throws in the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - AUGUST 17: Relief pitcher Seth Lugo #67 of the New York Mets throws in the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 10: Seth Lugo #67 and Wilson Ramos #40 of the New York Mets celebrate after defeating the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on August 10, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Saved by the ball

Despite Lugo’s success in the later innings last year, it seems like Edwin Diaz will have many chances to save games for the Mets in 2020. Every Mets fan under the sun is aware of how Diaz was the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade last offseason and failed to live up to expectations, to say the least. Still, with age and raw talent on his side, Diaz will likely begin the year as the team’s regular closer.

With that said, Lugo has proven himself to be trustworthy in high-leverage situations, so I would expect that he’ll get plenty of chances to save games in 2020.

Technically a save occurs when the closer finishes a game with a lead of three runs or fewer, but I would not be surprised if the Mets decide to use Diaz in games of three or two-run leads and go to Lugo with a one-run lead.

This should give Lugo at least 15 save opportunities in 2020, and I predict he’ll finish the year with around 12-15 saves. He had only six saves in 2019 and three in 2018, but if the Mets as a team are competitive from start to finish in 2020, every game will carry more weight, for players and fans alike.

The more important the game is, the better Lugo has proved to be, so a strong 2020 season for the Mets means that they’ll be trusting Lugo to finish some crucial games. He’s a throwback to closers of yesteryear when a two or even three-inning save was not such a ridiculous idea.

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