Now that the 2017 season is over for the New York Mets, we have been looking back at the year that was. After taking a more general view of the offense, pitching, and coaching staff, it’s time to take a look back at the Mets’ players. This series will take a look at every player on the active roster for the Mets at the end of season from A (Nori Aoki) to W (David Wright). The review will look at their season statistics, stories, and what role (if any) they will have next season. We continue our series today with a look at relief pitcher Josh Smoker.
Player Review: Josh Smoker
Minor Leagues (3 Teams): 7 Games, 3 Starts, 14.0 Innings Pitched, 0-1 Won-Loss Record, 1.93 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 13:2 Strikeout:Walk Ratio
Major Leagues: 54 Games, 56.1 Innings Pitched, 1-2 Won-Loss Record, 7 Holds, 5.11 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 68:32 Strikeout:Walk Ratio
Story: After making his big league debut in 2016, lefty Josh Smoker parlayed a strong spring into a spot in the Mets’ Opening Day bullpen. Unlike fellow southpaw Jerry Blevins, Smoker was used as a traditional reliever, facing both righties and lefties in the first half. A couple of bad outings inflated Smoker’s ERA, including a stretch in June when he gave up eight earned runs in seven innings pitched. Smoker actually saved the Mets’ bullpen on June 13th, when Zack Wheeler couldn’t get out of the second inning against the Chicago Cubs. The Mets went to Smoker in long relief, and he tossed 81 pitches in four innings of work, an admirable outing. Smoker predictably got hurt after that appearance, missing just over a month due to elbow soreness. The Mets activated Smoker from the disabled list in late July and he was excellent down the stretch, pitching to a 2.63 ERA after the All Star Break in 32 appearances while striking out 32 batters in 27.1 innings pitched.
While Smoker’s overall numbers don’t look great, he was outstanding in the second half. If that performance is indicative of Smoker’s potential, the Mets may be able to pencil him into their bullpen with confidence in 2018.
Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration Eligible
Odds of Returning: 100%
2018 Role: Middle Reliever
The Mets’ 2018 bullpen has up to five vacancies right now, but Smoker has the inside track on filling one of those holes. Smoker’s strong second half, combined with the fact that he is a lefty, should give him a leg up on the competition as long as he doesn’t implode in spring training.
Check back tomorrow as our Player Review Series continues with a look at starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard!