2) NY Mets reliever Drew Smith needs to pitch well to earn a spot in the 2024 bullpen
Due to the Mets inability to develop virtually any relievers, Drew Smith has remained a key piece of the bullpen puzzle for years. He's not quite a set-up man, but with Edwin Diaz's injury Smith did find himself in some high-leverage spots this season. His first 16 outings went well, as he had a 1.88 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched with seven holds and one save, but things went downhill for Drew much like last season.
Smith had a 7.02 ERA in his next 19 outings and 16.2 innings pitched. He allowed four home runs in that stretch after not allowing any in his first 16 appearances. It was just a nightmare stretch for Smith who got busted for sticky stuff in the middle of it.
He's done better at limiting home runs after having a very difficult time doing that last year, but Smith's walk-rate has spiked from 8.0% last season to 11.1% this season. He needs to just trust his fastball which opponents are .157 against with a .199 xBA.
Smith has pitched well of late, delivering seven consecutive scoreless innings. With David Robertson gone and Diaz still out, Smith is their third-best reliever. He'll be used plenty, often in big spots. If he pitches well, he'll have his spot in the 2024 bullpen on lock. If he doesn't, it becomes a lot harder to justify a sixth year of an annoyingly inconsistent reliever.