Minor league Mets pitcher who was DFA'd in April continues to thrive in AAA

A trip back to the majors for the Mets or someone else looks possible.
Feb 25, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA;  New York Mets pitcher Tyler Jay pitches against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets pitcher Tyler Jay pitches against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Mets might have a lefty reliever problem on their hands. Jake Diekman’s struggles of late need to have the team searching for any solution they can find. Danny Young was recently demoted to make room for Edwin Diaz despite pitching to a 1.00 ERA in 9 innings. That’s the tough part about building a bullpen without many optional relievers. Casualties to the numbers will happen.

While Mets fans grimaced (we gotta use that word as much as possible right now) when such a successful reliever was sent down, we understood the situation. It was either going to be Young or Dedniel Nunez. Neither choice was all that great.

Young remains on the 40-man roster alongside another lefty, Josh Walker, as options for the club in the future. Both have been fantastic in Triple-A. So has Tyler Jay whose brief time with the ball club earlier this year was a feel-good story that ended abruptly.

Tyler Jay has been as good as any reliever in Triple-A for the Mets this year

Jay made his MLB debut this season after a long wait. Drafted sixth overall back in 2015, it was the kind of story you write Disney movies about. He pitched to a fine 2.25 ERA in his 4 innings. But with unremarkable strikeout numbers and one more hit than inning he pitched, the Mets made the decision to DFA him.

Jay managed to pass through waivers but that didn’t seem to faze him. He has been excellent for Syracuse.

The 2.03 ERA and perfect 3-0 record are the first eye-catching numbers. Through those 31 innings, Jay has only struck out 19 but with only 3 bases on balls, he is the owner of a walk rate of 0.9 per 9 innings. He has been pitching to contact, throwing strikes, and finding ways to get outs. This is far from what the Mets preferred in their plan for the bullpen this season. At least in the Triple-A level, it has been effective.

Getting back onto the 40-man roster might be a bit of a challenge for Jay. It’s not routine for someone to get designated for assignment only to later come back. And with both Walker and Young pitching equally as good in the minors, the only way Jay may get his opportunity is if they go alphabetically.

If the Mets have serious plans about competing, they’re going to need to find bullpen upgrades in some form. This might mean DFA’ing a veteran. Adam Ottavino hasn’t been spectacular. As good as Adrian Houser has been in relief, the team is better situated with a more open spot where they can transfer fresher arms. It’s unlikely the Mets get rid of someone just for the sake of seeing what Jay can do back in the majors. He’s a good bullet to have in the chamber, though.

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