Edwin Diaz is back to his old self
When the Mets traded one of their top prospects, Jarred Kelenic, to the Seattle Mariners for Robinson Cano and Diaz, the star closer was coming off the best year of his career, accumulating 57 saves with a 1.96 ERA. However, upon his arrival in Queens, Diaz struggled mightily, particularly in his first year.
This year, however, Diaz has been the closer that the Mets thought they would get every year. Finally living up to his potential in Queens, Diaz currently has 29 saves and has an ERA below 1.50, well above the league average.
So what changed? Diaz has always mostly been a fastball pitcher in the majors. His main offspeed pitch is his slider, which he has thrown approximately 38% of the time over his career. Although he mixes in his offspeed pitch frequently enough, his fastball was always his primary pitch.
In 2022, however, Diaz flipped the script, playing role reversal with his pitches: his fastball has become his secondary pitch, and his slider is now thrown more frequently than his fastball. Approaching the end of the season, Diaz has thrown his slider approximately 57% of the time, compared to 43% for his fastball. This shift in pitch usage has yielded more swings and misses, the result being a career high in whiff percentage (around 48%). Batters are swinging and missing more often, and that is a good sign for the Mets bullpen when October arrives and they find themselves squaring off against deep lineups.
The Mets are in a good position heading into October. Provided that Scherzer and Marte are ready in time for the postseason as expected, the Mets will have all their key contributors healthy and ready to make a postseason push.