2024 Mets outlook: Brooks Raley expectations and predictions

Can Brooks Raley turn in another strong performance as the Mets' seventh inning guy?

Brooks Raley was a force for the Mets out of their bullpen last year, thanks to his overwhelming sweeper.
Brooks Raley was a force for the Mets out of their bullpen last year, thanks to his overwhelming sweeper. / Rich Storry/GettyImages

If the New York Mets can get Brooks Raley to turn in another season like the one from 2023, then there will be reasons to believe in this team in 2024. The Mets needed left-handed relief help, and they acquired Raley from the Tampa Bay Rays in an offseason trade and they could not have asked for much more than what Raley gave them last season.

Raley pitched to a 2.80 ERA in 54.2 innings pitched, with 61 strikeouts and 25 walks last year. That made the Mets' decision to pick up his $6.5 million player option for this season an easy one. What can he do for an encore this season?

Brooks Raley will look to maintain his nasty slider and the weak contact he induced to have a successul 2024 season.

Raley's sweeper that he started developing four years ago reached its best value and intended impact last year. His run value on that pitch alone was +10, and only four pitchers in baseball had a better run value. The average exit velocity dipped from 88.3 mph in 2022 to 80.7 in 2023, while opponents' slugging percentage dipped from .330 to .217. That was why he was successful last year despite having control issues at times, because when things got tough, his nasty sweeper was his way out.

What will also help is that Raley's fastball differs from other relievers on this team, because it will offer a change of pace and it will throw hitters off balance, especially righties. Righties hit .191 against him, while lefties hit .247, which is unusual for a southpaw like Raley is.

Now that the Mets have their 8th and 9th inning tandem of Adam Ottavino and Edwin Diaz back, Raley will be the team's 7th inning guy. Raley looked comfortable as the team's 7th inning guy last year, pitching to a 2.38 ERA in that split last season. As long as he induces weak contact and limits the hard hit rate, which he has done his entire career, he will be in for another successful season in 2024.

2024 stat predictions: 3.00 ERA, 60 IP, 70 K, 1.15 WHIP