2024 Mets outlook: Middle reliever expectations and predictions

The talent is there, but what about their control?

New York Mets Workout
New York Mets Workout / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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Shintaro Fujinami's fastball will blow away hitters, yet drive fans crazy with its lack of control.

Shintaro Fujinami has some intriguing upside, thanks to a fastball velocity average of 98 mph, which ranked among the best in baseball last year. The Mets brought Fujinami in on a one-year, $3.35 million deal this offseason, and it's a low-risk, high-reward type of deal.

The Mets are banking on getting Fujinami to reset after seemingly being set up to fail with the Oakland A's last before getting traded to the Baltimore Orioles midseason. It will also help if he can fix the control issues that plagued him in his rookie year, especially when he was in Oakland, because he has the pitching talent and stuff to be one of the steals of the offseason around baseball.

While is ERA last year was 7.18, his FIP was 4.61, so a return to the mean is definitely in the cards this season for Fujinami.

2024 stat predictions: 4.29 ERA, 65 IP, 70 K, 1.23 WHIP

Jake Diekman will prove his worth as a reliable backup lefty reliever.

Similar to Fujinami, Jake Diekman was a low-risk, high-reward signing the Mets made this offseason, and it was by design. Diekman's Stuff+ last year according to Fangraphs was 141, which shows the immense talent that he has. After struggling in April, he was cut by the Chicago White Sox, who lost 101 games last season. Then, he signed with the Tampa Bay Rays in May, and he turned into a force out of their bullpen, pitching to a 2.18 ERA and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings in 45.1 innings for Kevin Cash's squad in Tampa.

Last season, righties hit just .151 against the southpaw, as his arm slot adjustments fooled them so much. Now it's just a matter of the Mets not messing up what the Rays did to the lefty. If the Mets were able to get Brooks Raley to produce similar results after leaving the Rays, there is no reason to believe Diekman can't replicate his own results under pitching coach Jeremy Hefner. Get him to keep producing weak contact and improve the control issues he's had his entire career, and this is a slam dunk move by David Stearns and the front office.

2024 stat predictions: 3.60 ERA, 55 IP, 60 K, 1.27 WHIP