You hear people say it all of the time – if the Mets are going to be buyers at the deadline, they need to get at least one relief pitcher to bolster their pen. The latest talking point in this regard has been the relievers’ performance while Edwin Diaz served his suspension. Without Diaz to anchor the pen, the relievers turned in an 8.37 ERA in his 10-day absence.

While that number is accurate, it doesn’t come close to giving the true picture. And the necessary context is that the bulk of those runs were given up by pitchers who won’t be on the roster when the Mets embark on the stretch run. Ty Adcock, Danny Young and Matt Festa allowed 17 ER in 7.1 IP. If we look at the relievers likely to be on the team at the end of July, we see the following:

Dedniel Nunez – 7 IP, 1 ER
Adrian Houser – 6 IP, 1 ER
Adam Ottavino – 4 IP, 2 ER
Reed Garrett – 2.2 IP, 2 ER
Jose Butto – 2 IP, 0 ER

That’s 21.2 IP and 6 ER for a 2.49 ERA in the 10 games without Diaz. The Mets have two big questions surrounding their pen. The first is if they’ll run a true 6-man rotation when Kodai Senga returns. Right now, that sounds like what will happen. If so, that means they’ll have a seven-man pen. With the five players listed above, we can add Diaz and Sean Reid-Foley to give us seven. Which bring us to the second question.

Are they willing to go without a lefty reliever? Let’s be honest – Jake Diekman has been a liability. He’s given up runs in three of his last four appearances and in his last 19 games, Diekman has a 7.50 ERA and an 8.42 FIP, while allowing opposing hitters to post a .926 OPS. Carlos Mendoza has tried to maximize his opportunities with the platoon advantage all year, with 48% of his PA coming against LHB. The problem is that when he faces a righty batter – they have a .916 OPS against him. That’s nearly Scott Rice-level bad.

You can make the case that the Mets need to add a lefty reliever. But if they do that, which of the seven previously named relievers do they drop? Both Butto and Garrett have an option remaining, so it would likely be one of those two. Still, it’s far from a slam dunk that the cost of acquiring a good lefty reliever would be worth the difference in production from one of those two relievers.

It’s fine if you think the Mets should acquire a reliever or two. But you need to complete the thought and mention who they would replace in the 7-man pen once Senga and Reid-Foley return.

PINKY TURNS ON THE POWER – It’s been two distinct parts to Harrison Bader’s 2024. In the first 40 games of the year, he batted an empty .282 – one that saw him post just a .662 OPS despite a .378 BABIP. Bader did not have a history of running elevated BABIPs, so the fear was that once the hits stopped falling in that he would be completely useless as a hitter.

And, indeed, the hits did stop falling in. Over his last 36 games, Bader has just a .250 BABIP. But he’s more than made up for that by hitting for extra-bases. In his last 117 PA, Bader has 15 XBH. He still doesn’t draw many walks but that’s not a problem when you have a .240 ISO. In this most-recent span, Bader has a .790 OPS. Not many players could suffer a 128-point drop in BABIP yet see their OPS rise .128 points. Keep delivering that power, Bader.

ONE TOKE OVER THE LINETylor Megill has appeared in 66 games for the Mets and 60 of those have been starts. And while he’s delivered really strong games, those have been outliers. Something always seems to happen that make his year-end numbers seem a little underwhelming. Here are his year-by-year numbers:

4.52 ERA, 89 ERA+, 1.9 HR/9
4.32 ERA, 90 ERA+, 1.1 HR/9
5.13 ERA, 76 ERA, 1.3 HR/9
4.70 ERA, 88 ERA+, 1.3 HR/9
5.08 ERA, 76 ERA+, 0.7 HR/9

Now, the astute among you will recognize that Megill has only pitched four years in the majors and the above grouping contains five seasons. You sometimes here the phrase – you could drop Player A’s season into Player B’s line and no one would notice. Any idea which line is not Megill’s and who instead put up those numbers?

Our mystery pitcher made his MLB debut during his age-25 season, just like Megill. Perhaps you’ve figured it out by now. If not, our line that doesn’t belong is the second one listed and our mystery hurler is Christian Scott. Don’t get your panties in a wad over this – it probably doesn’t mean anything. It’s just interesting.

OFFENSE FROM AN UNLIKELY SPOT – If you started following the Mets in 2018, there’s something going on here that seems strange to you. For the first time in your fandom, the Mets’ catchers are producing offense. We all hoped that Francisco Alvarez would deliver a 146 OPS+ someday – we just didn’t expect it this season. And if Alvarez’ production seems unexpected, we’ll have to invent a new word to describe Luis Torrens and his 178 OPS+.

A lifetime 80 OPS+ hitter in the majors coming into this season, Torrens has hit safely in nine of his 14 games as a Met, including three multi-hit outings. Six of his 13 hits have gone for extra-bases, with three doubles and three homers. And he’s provided that power without an obscene strikeout rate. He has 7 Ks in 44 PA for a 15.9 K%, the third-best rate on the club.

It’s highly unlikely that Torrens will be able to keep this up. At the same time, while he’s this hot, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to get him in the lineup more than once a week.

WE’VE COME A LONG WAY SINCE JOHN MILNER LED THE TEAM – The Mets are fourth in the majors with 110 home runs. They’ve hit that many in 87 games, for an average of 1.26 dingers per game. This is the Mets’ 63rd season and that 110 figure is currently the 39th-best mark in franchise history. More homers are hit now than in any other period in team history. Still, it’s hard not to be impressed if you watched the team in any of the first two decades of its existence. In the club’s first 20 years, the highest HR total in a season was the 139 hit by the 1962 Mets. That ranks as the 26th-best mark in club history.

If they keep up their current HR pace, the Mets will finish the year with 205 homers, which will be the fifth-most in franchise history. And the thing is, they might hit more than that. From March thru May, the Mets hit 61 HR in 57 games, a 1.07 HR/G pace. But since June 1, the club has hit 49 HR in 30 games, a 1.63 HR/G pace. If they continue that pace for the final 75 games, they’ll wind up with 232 homers, which would be the second-most in team history, behind just the 242 homers of the 2019 squad.

5 comments on “The misleading performance of the pen without Edwin Diaz, Harrison Bader’s power, Luis Torrens’ torrid start

  • Steve_S.

    Bader’s Hard Hit % is the highest since 2020 for him, confirming my eyes.

    How about trading or releasing Diekman and replacing him with a better LHP via trade?

    • Brian Joura

      From the article:

      “It’s fine if you think the Mets should acquire a reliever or two. But you need to complete the thought and mention who they would replace in the 7-man pen once Senga and Reid-Foley return.”

      Diekman not one of the listed seven-men pen.

      • Steve_S.

        Trade Houser or option Butto

  • TexasGusCC

    While I’m not trying to be Scott’s defense attorney, his WHIP is 1.14 and his FIP is 3.92, so Megill cannot compare to those numbers, especially the WHIP. Megill has been known to lose velocity after the third inning, but he teases enough and is occasionally effective enough to get by as a starter.

    Mendoza said a few days ago that they are aware of Diekman’s loss of velocity and loss of command. The Raley injury hurt Diekman as he is now the lone option from the left side and has been completely worn out. Tyler Jay, Josh Walker and Danny Young aren’t options, and unfortunately neither is Nate Lavender, who would have been perfect right now.

  • Metsense

    Have Butto in the rotation and put Peterson in the bullpen and use him before Diekman is used. Diekman isn’t getting the job done. They can use help in the bullpen now because Senga and SRF unavailable and maybe unavailable until late July.
    Mendoza uses Bader properly was Bader has rewarded him with his production. Stearns should take credit with the signing. Bader has earned his salary.

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