If ever there was a year to be a left-handed reliever for the New York Mets it’s this one. The club only has one southpaw of significance on a major league contract, Aaron Loup. For a guy like Daniel Zamora, there are innings to snatch up.
Zamora’s future in the big leagues isn’t exactly promising right now with the three-batter-minimum rule in place. In his limited major league action, we’ve watched Zamora used as a left-handed specialist.
In 33 total appearances, Zamora logged just 17.2 innings. The results, a mixed 4-08 ERA but with good strikeout numbers, don’t really tell us what the Mets may have planned for him in the future.
Daniel Zamora will need to learn to adapt if he wants a big league job with the Mets or anyone else for that matter
Zamora will begin the 2021 season in the minor leagues a few days shy of his 28th birthday. It’s hard to believe this Stony Brook graduate is already approaching 30. It seems like only yesterday he was one of the minor league arms to watch in the franchise’s system.
Time goes by fast. Rules change. Younger and more effective throwers pass you on the depth chart.
Zamora is no longer one of those minor leaguers Mets fans tend to talk about regularly. There was a time, let’s call it 2018 when he was effective, when it looked like the kid had a place as the heir to Jerry Blevins. Not so much anymore.
Zamora now appears to be one of those fringe major league relievers who might only get some innings when the rest of the pool of pitchers is underperforming or unavailable. He’s on the 40-man roster, which is good for his future. He will, however, be one of those Mets in jeopardy of losing his spot.
To ensure he has a path toward the major leagues, Zamora is going to need to retire right-handed batters at an effective rate down in the minors.
Fortunately, he was effective at doing this the 36 times he did face righties in the major leagues. Righties hit .233/.343/.367 against him. Meanwhile, lefties hit .257/.341/.457 in their 41 chances.
Guys like Zamora probably aren’t destined to become the next great major league reliever. That title is reserved for only a small handful of pitchers.
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This doesn’t mean we should move on from him too quickly. There are innings left in his left hand, elbow, and shoulder. If ever there was a time for him to put them to good use with the Mets, 2021 is the season to do it.