Thursday Thought: What is the state of the Mets bullpen?

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
Washington Nationals v New York Mets / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

The New York Mets have one of the more solid bullpens in baseball. Many Mets fans, including myself, thought that the bullpen was in need of upgrades heading into the deadline, but the Mets didn’t make any real improvements to the bullpen. 

Let’s take a look at the state of the Mets bullpen.

As a unit, in 377.1 innings of work, the Mets’ bullpen ranks 10th in baseball with a 3.60 ERA and 13th in WAR with 2.4. They lead baseball in K/9 with 10.33, and they’re 10th in BB/9 with 3.32. 

Let’s start with the obvious: Edwin Diaz has been the best relief pitcher in baseball this year. The game is over as soon as the trumpets sound. He’s the best pitcher in baseball when it comes to striking opponents out, with a historic K/9 of 18 (yes, he averages two strikeouts per inning!). If you haven’t seen his Baseball Savant page, click right here, because it’s gorgeous.  

Trevor May recently returned from injury, and he’s looked rocky. His first outing in Washington, D.C. he didn’t have his fastball velo, but he was effective. His second outing against the Braves, he gave up a homer. His outing against the Reds, he walked two but struck out three. You never know which May you’re getting, so it’s hard to rely on him in a setup role. If only David Robertson could’ve been had for a #26 prospect…

Adam Ottavino has been really good. He’s walking about half the batters he walked last year while still maintaining the same strikeout rate, which is impressive. He seemingly never gives up hard hit balls, which is backed up with his metrics. I’ve come to trust him in big spots.  

Seth Lugo had a rough first half, but he’s looked much better lately. He had a big series against the Yankees that really changed the perception of his performance. While he’s not the late-inning, multi-inning guy he used to be, he’s a very serviceable arm to have in the pen.

Trevor Williams has been reliable no matter how the Mets use him. He’s been a much-more effective long reliever/spot starter than I ever could’ve imagined him being. He’s kept this team in games on days where others simply wouldn’t.

Joely Rodriguez is one of the more confusing players to analyze. If you look at his traditional stats, he’s been awful. But if you look at his metrics, they say he’s doing the things he’s supposed to be doing. He doesn’t give up hard contact. All of his swing and miss numbers are great. Really his only huge flaw is his walk rate. This is a good example of why metrics aren’t everything, because he’s been unwatchable and untrustworthy. I wish the Mets had treated themselves to a lefty at the deadline.  

Mychal Givens was the only deadline addition to the bullpen, and he’s been bad since coming over. His ERA is 18.00. Obviously that will come down, but it’s been a rough start to his Mets career. 

Drew Smith is hurt right now, but he’s been pretty good this year, albeit streaky. He started the year with a scoreless-inning streak and then more recently he went through a run-every-appearance streak. The overall numbers average out to him being a solid middle reliever. Hopefully he can come back healthy for a postseason run.

There are two other names that warrant mentioning. Adonis Medina has had some huge innings, but hasn’t really stuck full-time in the Majors. Tommy Hunter has been solid when others get hurt. These guys don’t have the everyday impact of some of the others, but they’ve meant a lot in some tough spots.

Overall, this Mets bullpen is really solid. They have guys who can go multiple innings. They have guys who are reliable, even if they’re not flashy. And it all leads to the best reliever in the Big Leagues right now. While I wish the Mets did more to improve the ‘pen at the deadline, it is good, and deep enough for a playoff run.

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