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New York Mets: Three Edwin Diaz predictions for the 2020 season

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27: Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets throws a pitch during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 27, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 6-3. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27: Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets throws a pitch during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 27, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 6-3. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 16: Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets pitches against the Minnesota Twins on July 16, 2019 at the Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Mets defeated the Twins 3-2. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

An All-Star season and a full year in the closer’s role

For an 86 win team, a solid bullpen can either make or break a postseason run. For the Mets, the ladder was true. The 4.99 bullpen ERA was third-worst in the NL and their inability to blow away hitters showed as they ranked 14th in strikeouts.

During the Mets 46-26 second-half surge, the bullpen was drastically better, ranking in the top five in the National League for WAR and K/9. Had the Mets bullpen saved just 4 more games, they would have found themselves playing the eventual World Series champion Washington Nationals in the NL Wild Card game and could have perhaps re-written history.

I am predicting a bounce-back season for Edwin Díaz. With a team bolstering a young core of position players backed by a solid pitching staff, Díaz should find his usage to increase and to come into more save situations.

Although he failed to keep the ball in the yard in 2019, Díaz still showed flashes of electricity and has proven his ability to repeatedly blow away hitters.  Díaz improved his slider late last season; opponents whiffed on 31% of his sliders in September 2019, as compared to 16% in May and 21% in June.

Even when the bulk of MLB’s best relief pitchers are in the National League, Díaz should sneak his way back on the All-Star roster and perhaps his performance will allow GM Brodie Van Wagenen to finally sleep at night knowing that he didn’t trade Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn in vein.

Next. Three Brad Brach predictions for 2020

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What do you predict for Diaz in 2020?

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