The New York Mets bullpen exceeded some fans' expectations in the first half of the 2022 season. Some of their successes are a big reason why the Mets won so many games in the first half, and they need to be acknowledged. Overall, the bullpen pitched to a 3.46 ERA (9th among the 30 teams), a 1.20 WHIP (10th), 10.27 strikeouts per nine innings (tied for 1st) and 3.35 walks per nine (10th). So they have been above average in all areas.
For this exercise, we will evaluate all the Mets pitchers who pitched 15 or more innings of relief in the first half. With the Mets' bullpen some relievers did very well. Others didn't fare so well.
Edwin Diaz - 2022 Mets reliever first half grade
Edwin Diaz is putting together one of the greatest seasons a Mets reliever has ever had. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time as a Met this season, and has completely overwhelmed his opposition. He has 18.1 strikeouts per nine innings, including 51.7 percent of opposing hitters. Factor that in with a 1.18 FIP (-0.64 since May 25) and a 1.69 ERA. The Mets were the only team in the majors that didn’t lose a game when leading after eight innings in the first half (50-0), and Diaz is the biggest reason why. He has simply been the best reliever in baseball, bar none.
Drew Smith - 2022 Mets reliever first half grade
The opposition has hit Drew Smith hard over the past three weeks, but Smith played a role in effectively bridging games to Edwin Diaz this season as a setup man. Smith went 13.1 innings to start 2022 before conceding his first earned run, and played a role in the Mets winning many tight contests in the first half. In a team high 40.0 relief innings in the first half, he pitched to a 3.38 ERA, has 10.5 strikeouts and 3.2 walks per nine innings, but a 4.48 FIP (the defense bailed him out on so many occasions in the first half).
Adam Ottavino - 2022 Mets reliever first half grade
Lost in the shuffle of all the post-lockout free agent frenzy was the Mets signing Adam Ottavino to fill in a hole in the bullpen. Ottavino was a splendid asset in the first half, especially since the beginning of May. After a shaky first few weeks, he has dominated as a co-setup man. He has been one of the most effective relief pitchers. He had a 2.52 ERA in 35.2 innings pitched in the first half, and has allowed just three earned runs over his past 26.0 innings pitched dating back to May 8. He has reverted to his dominant self, and has proven to be a great offseason addition by Billy Eppler.