The New York Mets bullpen was a disaster in 2019. Can it improve enough to bring our beloved Mets to a contender level teams?
The 2019 baseball season started off hopeful for the New York Mets just like most. They then proceeded to fall farther and farther under .500 until they had a 38-47 record by the end of June. If you watched even a few of those painful losses you know just as well as any Met fan what the issue was.
Most games started off pretty strong as our starting rotation was pretty solid. Yet once a relief pitcher was put in, everything seemed to unravel as opposing teams raked in countless runs.
It’s easy to put all the blame on Edwin Diaz who was struggling a great amount last season but it isn’t as simple as that. It appeared that no matter who was put in the Mets bullpen just could not hold it down defensively enough to even out the run support that the Mets batters produced.
So how did the Mets roster go from having one of the worst bullpen ERA’s at 4.95 to having one of the best bullpen projections in 2020? Will these changes be enough to bring the Mets to the level they need to be World Series contenders like many statistic sources predict?
Let’s take a look at some of the different aspects of the Mets bullpen and whether they have the possibility to play out as strengths or weaknesses this upcoming season.
The Mets bullpen is currently anticipated to acquire a total fWAR of 5.0, first in the NL and third overall. The staple components that come to mind whether they trigger good memories or bad are the players Dellin Betances, Seth Lugo, Jeurys Familia, and Edwin Diaz.
With the exception of Seth Lugo who finished 2019 with an impressive 2.70 ERA the rest of these pitchers have had subpar performances in recent seasons despite once being some of the most elite bullpen components at one point in their career.
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Starting with Dellin Betances who has not pitched more than one game since the 2018 season due to a string of injuries including an impingement to his right shoulder and a partial Achilles tear.
Since their acquisition of Betances this offseason, both Mets management, as well as Betances himself, claim that he will be ready to go on Opening Day going to say how he has put in a lot of work during the offseason to make sure he went into camp ready.
Familia has been obviously putting in a great amount of work as well having lost a good thirty pounds this offseason.
The question is will that help his pitching as I don’t see a direct correlation with his weight and the accuracy of his pitches especially for Familia having a painful 1.73 WHIP in 2019.
Diaz’s bounce back is the most probable in my opinion. The 25-year-old closer had a tough break last season but in my opinion, the media blew it up to be much more severe than it was, in reality, considering Diaz was still Ranked number 15 in the MLB with 26 saves. It seemed so much worse at the time because he allowed 17 runs in June.
But besides that, he really didn’t do too terrible. The issue was that there weren’t many save opportunities in the first place because the game was blown before he even got the chance.
While that is very disappointing compared to his 57 saves on the Mariners, I do have hope that he will come back greatly improved from last season. Even if he is not at the same level he was in 2018, any kind improvement from last season has the potential to bring the Mets one step closer to where they need to be.
In my opinion, the Mets do have a really great roster for their current bullpen. If they can be even a little more consistent, this one aspect of the team has the potential to bring the Mets to the level they need especially because of how much pressure it would take off of starting pitching.
Also taking into account just how close we were to the second wild-card spot last season being only 3 games behind the second Wild Card spot.
I can understand why the Mets are expected to have such a strong bullpen on paper. But baseball Is played on the field and as much as I hate to admit it, the Mets have a tendency for something going wrong. We are currently depending on all the stars aligning at once for each major part of our bullpen to play as expected.
I just don’t have that faith right now because of how much this specific aspect of the team depends on bounce-back seasons. Is it possible? Of course. Am I getting my hopes up? Not at all, I know better.
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What are your own expectations for this upcoming season?