Taken by the New York Mets in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft, pitcher Eric Orze got his first taste of professional baseball action in 2021. It was an eventful year for him, too. Orze went from High-A Brooklyn to Double-A Binghamton after only 13 appearances. He went on to finish the season with 10 games in Triple-A Syracuse.
All combined, Orze was 4-2 with a 3.08 ERA in relief. His ERA actually went down each level he rose. Consistently, struck out batters at a rate of 11.7 per nine or better.
These first 49.2 innings of work as a minor leaguer won’t push Orze onto the big league roster in a major role just yet. However, with the ever-present need for quality relievers, Orze could be on his way to a huge role in the Mets bullpen.
Watch for Eric Orze to become a future contender as the Mets closer
Edwin Diaz is the closer for the Mets in 2022. There’s very little chance this changes. After 2022, Diaz is a free agent. From there, the Mets may need to rethink their plan for the final three outs.
The Mets haven’t exactly been a brilliant organization at developing closers. Jeurys Familia is the best in the last 30 years. Doing so is tough not exactly a plan most organizations ever have. They more or less fall into it when a young gun breaks out in the minor leagues or a failed starter has some fantastic stuff they want to find a use for.
Orze might be made for the closer role for one other reason. He has the toughness. A two-time cancer survivor, life has thrown the kitchen sink at him already. Resiliency off the field doesn’t always translate onto it. However, given his performance in year one playing professional ball, I’m willing to see what he can do in high-leverage situations for New York should the need arise.
I’m not exactly sure what the plan is for Diaz when free agency strikes. Do they give him a big deal? A lot will depend on his 2022 performance. Unless he is sensational, it might be time for the Mets to look elsewhere.
It’s a long shot for Orze to become the Mets closer in such a short period of time. But the man has beaten odds before.
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His destiny may not place him in the ninth inning. Even as an elite setup man, it will be easy to root for him regardless of what uniform he wears.