It feels as if the New York Mets bullpen is one of the best in baseball, doesn’t it? In actuality, if you crunch any of the numbers, they are much closer to the middle of the pack than the top. A couple of recent blown saves helps to confirm this, too.
I don’t intend for this to be a backhanded compliment. After years of the bullpen being the Achilles heel of the franchise, this group of men has done far more than their predecessors. Without the hard work they have put in, the season would have been over months ago.
Minus Aaron Loup, nobody in the Mets bullpen is having an elite season. We won’t look back at any of the statistics these guys are throwing up and pick our jaws up off the floor after. The numbers just aren’t there, but something is.
The 2021 Mets bullpen is successful because of the number of reliable arms
This isn’t a case of overly fantastic quality as much as it is above-average quantity. I’ve already mentioned Loup and his all-time great year he is having at preventing runs. His bullpen mates might not have ERAs under 3.00 but none of the regulars are over 4.00 either.
Edwin Diaz, Miguel Castro, Trevor May, Jeurys Familia, and Seth Lugo have all reached 37+ innings and delivered us ERAs in the mid-3.00s. We can add Drew Smith into this group as well with a 2.40 ERA in his 41.1 innings of work.
A major league bullpen these days is usually about eight men deep. The names I mentioned already cover seven of those spots.
As critical as many have been about Luis Rojas’ use of the bullpen in 2021, it has been a Baskin-Robbins of flavors. Other than the closer, Diaz, nobody has been locked into any one particular role. It has been kind of refreshing to not know what to expect but more importantly, it has allowed the team to remain flexible with their next choice out of the bullpen.
For the most part, it seems like the complaints about Rojas’ bullpen management has to do with when he gives the starter the hook. I won’t deny it has backfired at times. It’s going to for any skipper. Fortunately, the Mets have routinely never had more than a spot or two in the bullpen where you bite your fingers before the guy has even thrown a pitch.
The Mets bullpen has been far from perfect and even when he’s on a scoreless streak while racking up wins, Familia feels dangerous at times. The end result, though, is often positive.
The Mets didn’t pay massive amounts of money to turn a closer into a setup man this offseason or subtract from their farm system to do something similar. They added Loup and May then put trust in the rest of the guys they already had. Whatever concoction they put together to turn this group into such a trustworthy bunch has worked.
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Pick a name out of a hat. Whoever you choose will probably get you three outs.