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NY Mets: 3 reasons to remain confident in the bullpen in 2021

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Relief pitcher Jeurys Familia #27 of the New York Mets in action during an MLB baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on September 20, 2020 at Citi Field in the Queens borough of New York City. Braves won 7-0. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Relief pitcher Jeurys Familia #27 of the New York Mets in action during an MLB baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on September 20, 2020 at Citi Field in the Queens borough of New York City. Braves won 7-0. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
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WEST PALM BEACH, FL – MARCH 21: Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets throws a pitch during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at The Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on March 21, 2021 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL – MARCH 21: Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets throws a pitch during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at The Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on March 21, 2021 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

A Revitalized Edwin Diaz

The 2020 season was a disappointing one from the start for the New York Mets, whose upside had fans hoping to see post-season play. Instead, the Mets finished 26-34 and fourth place in the National League East. Nonetheless, one of the least talked about storylines from 2020 was the return of Edwin Diaz as a lockdown reliever.

When New York made the infamous Robinson Cano trade, the expectation was Diaz would be the best bullpen arm the team has had in years. After all, Diaz’s 1.96era and 73.1 innings pitched saw him not only play in his first All-Star game but also win the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year.

Just when he first came to New York, Diaz fell apart, pitching for a 5.59era in 58 innings of work in 2019. It seemed as if the trade was a complete bust, and that Diaz would become a liability to the team.

Then, in 2021, Diaz quietly returned to form. He was not perfect, as only had a 60% save rate. Apart from that, he looked every part of the elite reliever the Mets thought they acquired.

In 25.2 innings pitched, Diaz owned a 1.75era, only giving up two home runs, which were his biggest problem in 2020. He also had a career-high 17.5 strikeout per nine inning mark to go with a FIP decrease from 4.51 to 2.18.

By no means was the Puerto Rico native perfect this past season. Yet Diaz certainly did enough to head into 2021 with All-Star level expectations.

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