Mets Rule 5 Draft pick they traded to the Red Sox has been fantastic in Beantown

Justin Slaten looks like one that slipped away.
Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

He was with the New York Mets for fewer hours than even Julio Teheran. Justin Slaten was picked up by the team in the 2023 Rule 5 Draft then quickly sent away to the Boston Red Sox. A clever move by David Stearns at the time might have actually been a bit of a missed opportunity.

As a Rule 5 pickup, the Mets would’ve been required to keep Slaten on the 26-man roster all year. However, with him getting traded, the Red Sox won’t have to keep him there. But why wouldn’t they want to? He has been one of the big reasons why their pitching staff has excelled.

The Mets made a great Rule 5 Draft pick, too bad he’s with the Red Sox

How good has Slaten been for Boston? Through his first 12.1 innings he has allowed 4 hits, 1 walk, and only a single earned run. His strikeout numbers haven’t been so good but by throwing with control and locking in a 0.40 WHIP through 7 appearances, Slaten looks well on his way to becoming a gem in Boston.

The results are surprising. Slaten, who was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers and spent three seasons in their minor league system, had an ERA of over 6.00 in his first three years. A transition from starter to reliever in 2023 changed him completely. He went from a career-worst 6.79 ERA in 2022 to 2.87 in 2023.

The Red Sox have used Slaten regularly for more than an inning at a time this year. Regularly tossing innings six, seven, or eight, he has kind of taken over the role Reed Garrett has won with the Mets this year.

This isn’t one of those moves to bash the Mets over. Things would’ve been tight with their bullpen personnel if they had kept him. If they had serious plans of keeping Slaten or a belief he could make the roster, they probably would have signed one less reliever in free agency.

In exchange for Slaten, the Red Sox did send us lefty Ryan Ammons who has a 2.70 ERA in his first 3.1 professional innings. Far more controllable as a 23-year-old down in St. Lucie, we’ll just have to hope he too can surprise everyone in a couple of seasons as an early surprise out of the bullpen.