5 Mets players who will be the biggest X-factors in determining where this team goes

The performance of these five Mets will determine what the team does.
Jul 4, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez (4) wears a 4th of July themed catcherís kit against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 4, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez (4) wears a 4th of July themed catcherís kit against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports / Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports
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1) Edwin Diaz

No players may determine the fate of the Mets more than Edwin Diaz. Silly, isn’t it? A guy who’ll pitch one inning on average and only appear at the end in games they’ve already taken the lead in has become this essential to the team’s success. That’s how it is. Without Diaz performing well, the Mets are done for.

When Diaz struggled earlier this year, the Mets had no answers when it came to replacing him. Reed Garrett weakened. Adam Ottavino crumbled. Anyone the Mets tried in the ninth inning during his absence looked like they were amazed that a baseball was round.

Diaz was a missing piece from the 2023 team. His season-long injury elevated everyone in the bullpen. As well as David Robertson pitched as the closer, the Mets are a different team with him and Ottavino strictly used as setup men.

Diaz’s success won’t necessarily translate into the Mets winning. However, his failures will practically guarantee they sell at the trade deadline or make no real attempt to get better.

We’re counting on Diaz being great in the next few weeks. The bullpen has become nauseating. Let’s hope his greatness had nothing to do with sticky stuff and everything to do with increased confidence. When he was at his worst this season, Francisco Alvarez wasn’t behind the plate. Maybe one X-factor helps another.

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