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NY Mets closer Edwin Diaz is great but not nearly great enough

Jul 26, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) delivers a pitch during the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 26, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) delivers a pitch during the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Is there a better sports fight revolving around the New York Mets than the one between Edwin Diaz truthers versus Edwin Diaz truthers?

No, there’s no mistake there. Everyone is an Edwin Diaz truther because what they believe about the Mets closer is fact. Like him or not, your opinion is the truth.

Diaz has had a questionable season in 2021. In 2019, he was universally panned. In 2020, he rebounded in the best way possible and actually looked like the star he was with the Seattle Mariners. Now the debate is raging about whether or not he’s the right guy for the team moving forward.

Mets closer Edwin Diaz has talent and there’s no debating it

I think the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand moment in regards to Diaz comes in when there’s a misunderstanding between those who like him and those who don’t. The defenders will cite numbers as to why he is indeed an elite closer. They love to dive as deep into the metrics as possible. I understand why they love him. Diaz, outside of a few games, is a brilliant reliever.

Meanwhile, those who have seen enough of him often use the eye test, some emotions, and a couple of other statistics to prove their point. Even the analytics nerds will agree that an ERA over 3.50 is not ideal for a closer. Preferably, I think you want your last man standing to give up fewer than three runs per nine innings of work.

Whichever side you fall on of the fight, I think we can all agree that he needs to be better.

Edwin Diaz is a great pitcher but the implosion factor is always there

I understand there are three types of closers in this world. Maybe there are more. I like to use Team America: World Police as a reference in life and as they proclaimed right before the final act, there are only three types of people in this world.

I’m going to go a more family-friendly route with distinguishing the types of closers.

There’s the old faithful closer. These are the top-tier guys. They never seem to blow saves even though they do. Bound for the Hall of Fame one day—or at least perennial All-Stars—they are tough to find.

Then there’s the guy who always seems to blow a gasket. Some see Diaz as one of those closers. It ain’t him. He’s much better than the short leash closers in baseball. These are the men you know probably won’t close ever again if they blow three saves in a row. And you know those blown saves are coming.

Diaz is in the middle category. He’s Armando Benitez, Jeurys Familia, and all of the other guys who have given you heart attacks in the ninth inning. Even John Franco, who many look at years later with orange and blue colored glasses, gave fans fits. Diaz is among those guys but with some better strikeout numbers.

When it comes to a closer, the only number that matters, in the end, is how many successful saves they have compared to blown ones. We also have to consider other factors such as performance in non-save situations. Diaz is notoriously bad in these and sometimes an easy win has turned into something more disastrous. It doesn’t make him a bad closer—just a poor reliever.

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Perception is what divides fans on Diaz most. An unforgivably bad first year with the Mets, it will be impossible to convince some he’s any good at all. Those already on the train to move on from him then have to answer an important question: what else is out there?

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