Edwin Diaz is a pretty good closer. Unfortunately, the Mets paid a heavy trade price to get him and now his salary is no great bargain, either. The money is no real issue these days. But can Mets fans be content with Diaz if he’s somewhere around 5-10 among closers rather than the best in the game? It seems like that should be an easy yes. But when the bottom dozen or so closers are fungible MLB players, being the ninth-best closer isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. Here’s what the computer models forecast for Diaz this year:

ATC – 3.28 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 13.08 K/9, 3.23 BB/9, 1.07 HR/9
Marcel – 3.86 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 11.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9
RotoCh – 2.63 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 13.4 K/9, 3.6 BB/9
Steamer – 3.21 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 12.63 K/9, 3.41 BB/9, 1.07 HR/9
THE BAT – 3.47 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 12.47 K/9, 3.23 BB/9, 1.16 HR/9
ZiPS – 2.76 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 14.23 K/9, 3.48 BB/9, 1.02 HR/9

Those of us who remember 2019, the first thing we look at with Diaz is his HR rate. That year he had an awful 2.33 HR/9. All of the five projection systems that have HR rate have Diaz with less than half that number forecasted for 2022. It’s important to note that after the extreme outlier of 2019, Diaz has posted a HR rate under 1.0 in each of the past two seasons. In his last 88.1 IP, Diaz has allowed just 5 HR.

We see some volatility in the projected ERA among our models, which isn’t a huge surprise given the sample size. Still, it seems a bit odd for a spread from 2.63 to 3.86 among our projections. And before you write off the 2.63 as just an optimistic RC forecast, know that ZiPS has a sub-3.00 ERA, too. Marcel has the highest ERA and that system also has the lowest K/9. Some of those “missing” strikeouts turn into hits and the ERA possibly makes sense. It still seems high to me, though.

Speaking of strikeouts, Diaz has a lifetime 14.38 K/9 but last year came in at nearly 1.5 lower. It was still good enough for a 12.78 K/9, which would be outstanding for most pitchers. Diaz has had a K rate over 15 in four of the previous five years, so it will be curious to see if he can get back to that level. If he can’t, can he still be an elite reliever?

Most people would say that Diaz was solid last year. But even with the reduced K rate, Diaz’ peripherals paint a better picture than his actual results. He had a 2.48 FIP, compared to a 3.45 ERA.

Even more so than with starting pitchers, what defines a relief pitcher is how long and how deep his bad stretches are. Roughly 99% of relief pitchers will have at least one stretch of seven or so games where they get knocked around. In 2018, Diaz didn’t have that poor stretch. The worst was when he gave up runs in back-to-back outings. That was the exception that proves the rule.

In 2019, Diaz had a 12-game stretch where he allowed 17 ER in 11.1 IP
In 2021, he had a 6-game stretch where he allowed 8 ER in 6 IP

That longer, deeper bad stretch in 2019 showed why it was such a down year for Diaz. The poor stretch for him wasn’t nearly the same in 2021, which ended up a better season. What kind of poor stretch will he have in 2022? That’s the million-dollar question. My totally biased forecast for Diaz this year is:

3.21 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 14.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9

7 comments on “Mets 2022 projections: Edwin Diaz

  • Wobbit

    I figure Diaz is more likely to stay the same or get better than to get worse. Having Buck calling the shots has to help some, as will a better offensive team. His third year in New York should also allow him to hit a stride unavailable in his first two seasons.

    Look, the guy has great stuff. I saw his main weakness was throwing far too hittable pitches ahead in the count. Once he gets to two strikes, he either throws sweepers that leave the zone or high four-seamers that are virtually unhittable at 102. When he gives up an 0-2 home run, he should be pillored.

    Diaz’s main problem that I see is his immaturity. Maybe it’s machismo or something. But if he can learn to use his prodigious talent like a surgeon instead of a brute, he can still be among the elite for 5-6 years. Stop trying to prove something, Edwin and just hone your craft.

  • Name

    When it comes to holding the lead:
    In 2019, Diaz had 7 BS vs 26 saves + 1 hold (20.5% fail)
    In 2020, Diaz had 4 BS vs 6 saves + 1 hold (36% fail)
    In 2021, Diaz had 6 BS vs 32 saves (15.7% fail)

    Not all relief situations are the same but i got an average of 16% fail rate among all relievers in 2021 so in terms of being a stopper, he’s hardly been elite during his NY tenure.

    For 2022 i predict 8 BS vs 34 saves/holds (19% fail)

    • Brian Joura

      This post made me look up Diaz in 2020.

      Like you said, all situations are different. Not to be a Diaz apologist but it’s at least interesting that two of the BS in 2020 were games he came in the 8th inning where he allowed inherited runners to score and a third was with the zombie runner in extra innings.

      I guess ideally we’d know what the BS rate for closers in the 9th inning was, along with what happened in games they entered earlier or in extra innings. You have to limit it to closers because middle relievers are getting BS in the 7th inning of a 9-inning game and that’s not really what we should be interested in. My guess is if we had this number, we wouldn’t consider giving an 8-figure contract to a closer.

      • Name

        From what i saw when looking at the data, a successful closer fails about 10% of the time, an average about 15%, and a bad one about 20%.

        If a closer is finishing 50 games, and the difference between best and worst is 10% or 5 games, of which maybe half about 2 or 3 turn in losses, that’s not a lot of variance. Between best and average is probably just worth 1 to 1.5 games.
        The concept of $15 mil+ closers is just not a good allocation of resources (assuming you are working with a finite budget), especially when good relievers today become bad ones tomorrow just like that, ala Brad Hand, and vice versa like Paul Sewald closing games for Seattle

  • boomboom

    stud year for Diaz.

    2.01 ERA
    40 Saves
    3 Blown Saves
    11.9 k/9
    1 hr/9
    All star spot

  • Metsense

    3.23 ERA 1.03 WHIP 14.4 K/9 3.3 BB/9 1.1 HR/9

    Diaz is a top 10 closer and Mets should satisfied with a top ten closer. For that matter, any top ten player that fills his role. After all, 12 teams make the playoffs. The pros for Diaz is his strikeouts, WHIP and HR/9. The cons what Name posted in his excellent comments. In 41 career games, Diaz has a 13-28 record or .317 winning percentage. That’s bad. If he reversed that record then he would be have considered elite. For that reason the fans are uncomfortable when he pitches in a tight game.

  • Steve_S.

    Will have a great year!

    Prediction: 2.35 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 14.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9, 42 Saves

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