Mets Monday Morning GM: Adrian Houser has earned a bigger bullpen role

Adrian Houser's role as the long-man is replaceable. Let's see what he can do in a more important role.
New York Yankees v New York Mets
New York Yankees v New York Mets / Luke Hales/GettyImages

Adrian Houser successfully transitioned from starter to reliever this year. The most exhausting starter to suit up for the New York Mets in 2024 has been a big piece of a bullpen in shambles. He tossed two more shutout innings for the Mets on Sunday. He gave them a chance to win it.

Houser’s role as the long man in the bullpen, whether it’s in games the Mets are winning or losing, carries value. However, it’s a role usually handed to the weakest member of the pitching staff. This no longer defines who Houser is. In 16.2 innings in June, Houser delivered a 1.08 ERA. He found his control with just 4 walks and 11 strikeouts. He has found what works for him.

In the current state of the Mets bullpen, even when Edwin Diaz returns, it might be time to consider Houser for something more closely resembling what Reed Garrett did for the team earlier in the year.

Mets pitcher Adrian Houser has earned high-leverage innings

No reliever threw more innings in June than Houser. Fellow righty Dedniel Nunez was the closest at 14.1. Magnificent himself, his 2-0 record and 1.88 ERA in June came with a 0.70 WHIP and .176 batting average against.

Houser hasn’t had nearly the same overpowering numbers as Nunez or even some of the others. Hitters have still knocked Houser around for a .254 batting average in the month of June. His 1.20 WHIP is far from impressive.

When a part of your team is bleeding this badly, you should be willing to accept these lesser numbers if the end result is positive. Run prevention is the ultimate goal of all pitchers. Houser has excelled in that department better than most.

In the absence of Drew Smith, the Mets should reconsider the structure of their bullpen. Garrett has proven he can be trusted more often than not in a high-leverage situation. Houser, meanwhile, has shown enough guts on the mound to be given a chance to do the same. Not every seventh or eighth inning should get handed to him. When the situation calls for it, he might not be such a bad choice.

We saw how Matt Festa struggled on Sunday and how others have regularly fallen on the sword when called upon, too. The Mets have been careful about giving Houser an elevated role in relief. Having exhausted so many other options, using him exclusively in games they think they can win and having more of a mop-up guy available to eat frames isn’t such an outrageous proposition.

The Mets have spent most of 2024 punishing players who struggle and reward those who succeed. Houser receives his lashes. He has earned himself a seat back at the table.