Diaz will finish in the top 10 for the NL Cy Young Award
While I personally don’t think relievers should be considered for the Cy Young Award unless they have a truly historic season, the baseball writers who vote think differently. Relievers lately have made appearances on Cy Young ballots including NL Reliever of the Year Devin Williams and AL Reliever of the Year Liam Hendriks this past season. Williams finished eighth while Hendriks finished tenth.
In the season that Diaz won the Reliever of the Year, he was eighth on the Cy Young ballot and even finished 18th on the MVP ballot. Just shows how remarkable his 2018 season was and the potential he has to repeat it this season.
The Mets have all the tools put in place for him to succeed. They have a lineup that should be very formidable headlined by newly acquired Francisco Lindor. They have a rotation that should be greatly improved headlined by two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom. And they have a bullpen that should be among the league’s best headlined by guys like Seth Lugo, Trevor May, and of course Diaz.
I project Diaz to put up numbers very similar to his 2018 season. I expect more strikeouts and more walks as well. The key with Diaz will always be keeping the ball in the ballpark. He did a great job with that this past season and in 2018 when he allowed 0.7 HR/9 and 0.6 HR/9 respectively.
In his two worst seasons he allowed more than one home run per nine. In 2017 he allowed 1.4 HR/9 and finished the year with a 3.27 ERA and a 4.02 FIP. In 2019 he allowed 2.3 HR/9 and had a 5.59 ERA with fans booing him as he blew games.
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This season will be the year Mets fans embrace Diaz as he leads the Mets to a playoff appearance after a 52+ save season and a top 10 finish in the NL Cy Young race.