The Mets bullpen in 2019 was just bad. It is hard to describe how inconsistent the bullpen was.
In his first offseason as GM, Brodie Van Wagenen made bullpen an emphasis during the 2018-19 offseason, which makes how the bullpen performed this season even more disappointing.
Van Wagenen signed Jeurys Familia and traded for All-Star closer Edwin Diaz among other bullpen related moves. This gave Mets fans reasons to rejoice. Before the season a back end of the bullpen featuring Familia, and Diaz seemed fearsome.
Famila was a great relief pitcher for the Mets in 2014 and was a great closer for the team from 2015-2018. He had 123 saves for the Mets before being traded to the Oakland Athletics at the 2018 trade deadline. On December 14, 2018, the Mets signed Familia to a 3-year $30 million contract. At the time it seemed like a steal. Familia was a great closer and had spent his entire career with the Mets before he was traded to Oakland in July of 2018.
Before 2018, Familia was an excellent relief pitcher with a 2.73 ERA, 2.92 FIP in 343 games. His best seasons were 2015-2016, where he had a 2.20 ERA, a 2.56 FIP, and 94 saves in 154 games. Familia was named an All-Star in 2016.
Familia was horrible to start the season and finished with a 7.50 ERA in 30 innings pitched. Familia was placed on the IL twice before the All-Star break.
Edwin Diaz was supposed to be an excellent addition to the Mets bullpen. In his three seasons before being traded to the Mets. Diaz saved 109 games in 188 games with a 2.64 ERA, a 2.56 FIP, and 301 strikeouts in 191 innings pitched with the Seattle Mariners from 2016-2018.
When the Mets made that big blockbuster trade last offseason and acquired Diaz this was the Edwin Diaz they thought they got. Diaz was coming off of an All-Star season in 2018, with a 1.91 ERA, a 1.61 FIP, and 57 saves in 73 games.
For the first month, Diaz looked like the pitcher the Mets traded for. In his first 13 appearances for the Mets, Diaz converted all six saves and had a 1.54 ERA. Diaz’s dream start with the Mets would soon turn into a nightmare
. He had a 5.06 ERA in May, and an ERA of 8.38 in June. By the All-Star break, he was 19 for 23 in save opportunities with a 5.50 ERA. His post-All-Star break numbers weren’t much better. Diaz had just seven saves in 10 save opportunities with a 5.70 ERA. His lowest ERA after the All-Star break was in August with a 6.23 ERA.
The biggest problem for Diaz in 2019 seemed to be the home run ball. Diaz allowed 15 home runs in 58 innings pitched. He had only allowed five home runs in 2018. Not everything went bad for Diaz in 2019.
In 58 innings he struck out 99 batters. His K/9 was 15.4 in 2019 which is a career-high. Left-handed hitters only batted .193 off him in 2019, and teams were only hitting .218 off him after the All-Star break.
Familia looked much improved after the All-Star break. He had a 3.90 ERA after the All-Star break, and hitters were only hitting .257 off him after the break. His K/9 was similar to his K/9 in other seasons. His K/9 in 2019 was 9.5, and his career K/9 before 2019 was 9.4.
This paints a picture that Familia during the second half of the season looked close to the Familia that Mets fans knew from 2012-2018. If Familia can build upon the foundation he re-build for himself in the latter part of 2019, and Diaz regains his dominant closer form the Mets could have a deadly back end of the bullpen for 2020.
The Mets bullpen wasn’t all bad. Seth Lugo had another solid season and had a dominant second half of the season. He had a 1.95 ERA in the second half of the season.
Justin Wilson was another reliever the Mets signed in the offseason. Wilson was dealing with injuries in the first half of the season and had an ERA of 4.22 in just 10.2 innings before the All-Star break. Wilson was healthy in the second half of the season and was very effective. He had a 1.91 ERA, with a .229 opponent batting average in 28.1 innings pitched.
Brad Brach was a surprise for the Mets in 2019. Brach originally signed with the Chicago Cubs before the 2019 season. Brach was horrible with the Cubs where he had a 6.13 ERA and had 28 walks in 39.2 innings pitched. The Cubs released Brach on August 5, 2019, and he signed with the Mets on August 9, 2019. Brach had a 3.68 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 14.2 innings pitched in his short time with the Mets.
If Familia, Wilson, Lugo, and Brach pitched like the did the second half and Diaz regains his 2018 form the Mets have a great bullpen for 2020. This is also without making any additions before the offseason. The Mets need this bullpen to work next year if they want to make the playoffs.
Featured Image: D. Benjamin Miller, Wikimedia Commons