The New York Mets have lost several pitchers this offseason. My first two articles focused on starting pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman. For this article, I will turn my focus to Aaron Loup, who pitched 56 ⅔ innings in 2021.
Overall, the Mets bullpen had a solid, but not spectacular, year in 2021. Many of their relievers compiled ERAs that were between Miguel Castro’s 3.45 and Jeurys Familia’s 3.94 ERA. However, Loup had a spectacular season in 2021, compiling a 0.95 ERA and a 0.935 WHIP.
Loup first arrived on the scene as a reliable bullpen arm with the Toronto Blue Jays, pitching for them from 2012 to 2018. Before joining the Mets, Loup was a key member of the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen. Loup played a pivotal role in the team’s bullpen, and in 2020, he gave the Rays valuable innings to help propel them to a World Series matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers. When he signed with the Mets, the expectation was that Loup would offer stability to a scuffling bullpen, and he indeed provided that in 2021.
The New York Mets will miss Aaron Loup in their bullpen, given his ability to limit home runs and hard contact.
Loup is never going to be an arm in a team’s bullpen that will provide them with a lot of innings. However, as an effective southpaw who doesn’t allow many home runs, he occupies a small group of veteran major league relievers who could offer something most relievers cannot. Loup is a sinker ball pitcher, but he also throws many cutters, occasionally mixing in a changeup or curveball.
In this new age of sabermetrics baseball, where the home run has taken on increased emphasis, pitchers can distinguish themselves from their peers by excelling at not allowing them. Keeping the ball in the park has allowed Loup to carve out a niche as a reliable relief pitcher. He only allowed one home run in 2021, and he has never allowed more than six home runs in a season. Not many relievers in the major leagues can say that.
Another benefit that Loup provided for the Mets was his ability to limit hard contact. Loup had a Hard% of 24.8% in 2021, one of the best rates in his career. Limiting hard contact from batters also alleviates significant pressure on the defense, which is always an added benefit for any team, including the Mets.
Because of his value to the Mets in 2021, Loup would have been a good bullpen piece for the team to bring back in 2022. However, Loup instead opted to sign with the Angels, joining teammate Noah Syndergaard as another Mets pitcher to trade in the East Coast for the West, leaving the team without their best relief pitcher heading into 2022, whenever the season commences.