The Mets have found this year's "where did he come from?" player with Dedniel Nunez

Who knew Dedniel Nunez could be this good?
New York Mets v Atlanta Braves
New York Mets v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Every season seems to have some New York Mets player who comes from out of virtually nowhere. A few continue to linger on the current roster. Jeff McNeil was an obscure prospect who captured our hearts back in 2018. In 2021, it was Tylor Megill’s turn. This year, it appears to be Dedniel Nunez who has stepped into the “where have you been all my life?” role.

The recently turned 28-year-old rookie has been nothing short of stupendous out of the bullpen. A 2.31 ERA in 11.2 innings with a strikeout rate of 14.7 per 9, Nunez has checked off all of the boxes to be a more permanent fixture in the Mets bullpen.

Unlike McNeil or Megill in the past, this rise seems to be even more sudden.

Dedniel Nunez didn’t unfairly toil in the minor leagues before getting his chance in 2024

Nunez pitched to a 5.53 ERA last season and was atrocious in Triple-A, finishing with a 6.75 ERA in 40 innings. It’s an all-too-common outcome for many minor league relievers. They get to Triple-A and suddenly the tougher competition gets to them.

He seems to have it down now. In 13 innings for the Syracuse Mets this season, Nunez is 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA. He was good before the Mets recalled him. He has remained steady each time they’ve sent him back down. It’s not an easy thing to go between the majors and minors and be as good as he has been.

His path to finally reaching the majors this year has had its share of obstacles. While not worthy of its own biopic done with LEGOs—they’re seriously doing that with Pharrell Williams? I love the creativity but let’s find someone a little more interesting. Nunez has had a riveting adventure to get to the Mets. His 2020 minor league season was wiped out due to the pandemic as was the 2021 campaign due to Tommy John surgery. Not only that, he was with the San Francisco Giants as a Rule 5 Draft pick but later returned to the Mets after the season ended.

An afterthought in the Mets minor league system for most of his professional career, he is suddenly a fan favorite and perhaps part of the club’s future. Producing relief pitchers through the system has been a major weakness of the Mets. Never a top goal of any franchise, it’s still always a good thing when a guy like Nunez becomes a trustworthy candidate for big innings out of the bullpen.