New York Mets: Three pleasant surprises from the 2020 season
With the fantastic multi-inning appearances that Erasmo Ramirez delivered for the Mets in 2020, it is a wonder that he never started a game for them. The Mets signed Ramirez earlier this year, marking his first stint with a National League club after spending his entire career in the American League with the Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, and Tampa Bay Rays up to that point. He had started 92 games in his career, but this year excelled in long relief for the Amazins.
Ramirez spent much of the early part of the season at the alternate site. The Mets recalled him on September 4, and he made his first appearance against the Philadelphia Phillies on September 7. He came on in relief of David Peterson, who suffered his worst start of the year and lasted only two innings while surrendering five runs. Ramirez pitched innings three through seven, giving up only one run on two hits and allowing the Mets to get themselves back in the game (they ended up losing in ten innings).
That was the only run Ramirez gave up in September. He made five more scoreless appearances for the Mets this season, notching one save when he pitched the final three innings of the Mets’ 18-1 blowout of the Toronto Blue Jays on September 11. Throughout it all, Ramirez was always fired up on the field, especially when his fielders made key plays behind him.
I am still wrapping my head around the fact that Robert Gsellman and Ariel Jurado (remember him?) were somehow higher on the starting pitcher depth chart than Ramirez. I would love if the Mets brought Ramirez back, even on a minor league deal, in 2021. He did not pitch that many games in 2020, but he demonstrated that the Mets could rely on him to induce soft contact and get outs when needed.
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Back in February and March, none of these three players figured to be a huge factor for the 2020 Mets. Once the COVID-shortened baseball season became a reality, all three played an important role for the Amazins. Their contributions were not quite enough to vault the Mets into a postseason berth, but they were enjoyable to watch and gave Mets fans something to smile about in a very difficult year.