3 reasons the Mets free agent signing of Shintaro Fujinami will be a steal

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles / G Fiume/GettyImages

The New York Mets have been busy in recent weeks adding pieces to their bullpen, this time with a pitcher with a lot of potential. According to Jon Heyman, the Mets have agreed to sign Shintaro Fujinami to a one-year and $3.5 million contract, plus incentives.

Fujinami signed last season from Japan with the Oakland Athletics to be a starter and then was traded to the Baltimore Orioles at the trade deadline. During the season, he accumulated an ERA of 7.18 with 83 strikeouts in 79 innings between his roles as a starter and reliever. Now, with the Mets, he would be occupying a position in the bullpen in a contract that could be a steal for the organization.

Fujinami was one of the unluckiest relievers last season

Even though Fujinami's results looked horrible last season, it wasn't all disastrous. If we look at his split numbers, after the trade to the Baltimore Orioles, where he was used exclusively as a reliever, his ERA went from 8.57 to 4.85.

However, one of the most promising results for the Mets with this signing is how unlucky Fujinami was last season, according to advanced metrics. In terms of expected stats, if we look at the difference between the ERA placed by Fujinami and his xERA, we see that the reliever was number three among all MLB pitchers with a positive differential with xERA of 4.80, that is, a difference with his ERA of 2.38, which shows that there is enormous room for improving results in the pitcher.

The duo composed of Edwin Diaz and Shintaro Fujinami would be one of the most electric in baseball

While Fujinami's results in 2023 were not promising, his fastball pitch stood out above many pitchers due to the consistency of his velocity. Shintaro managed to maintain his top fastball velocity, which placed him 22nd among MLB pitchers, with his fastball velocity in the 97th percentile.

The Mets would go from not having a pitcher who has reached 100 mph on the team in the entire 2023 season, to having two pitchers who in their last two seasons each had more than 100 pitches above 100 mph, Shintaro Fujinami and Edwin Diaz. With some work on improving Fujinami's pitch location, the Mets could have a devastating duo in the back of the bullpen with a lethal weapon against hitters.

Fujinami's contract gives the Mets roster flexibility

An important aspect in the composition of a roster is having the flexibility of movement of its pieces with minor league contracts that allow temporary vacancies on the major league roster to be covered without the need to lose players via waiver. Fujinami's contract, according to Will Sammon, contains minor league options that provide room for flexibility in the roster, something that has not been seen among the different relievers who have signed on the market.