New York Mets 2021 Season in Review: Bullpen

MLB: New York Mets at Miami Marlins
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Now that the 2021 season is over for the New York Mets, we will spend the next several weeks taking a look at the big picture. This deep dive will be broken down into phases every weekday, continuing today with a look at the Mets’ bullpen.

After a number of years trying to fix it, the New York Mets finally managed to put together a competent bullpen. A solid mixture of free-agent acquisitions, trades and internal development helped the Mets develop a unit that became the strength of the team before overuse wore the group down. As is tradition in this portion of the season review, we’ll break down the good, bad and ugly (in this case injury related) from the Mets’ relievers.

The Good

Aaron Loup was a star, posting a 0.95 ERA as he became the Mets’ most dependable reliever. A bargain signing in the offseason, Loup has become a priority for the Mets to retain . . . Trevor May had a solid debut season in New York, going 7-3 with a 3.59 ERA in 68 appearances . . . Miguel Castro became a reliable option early on but wore down as the season went on . . . Seth Lugo missed two months and was mostly effective, working to a 3.50 ERA . . . Jeurys Familia led the team in wins with nine and was a capable setup man after struggling mightily in 2020 . . . Drew Smith established himself as a reliever who could be counted on, working to a 2.70 ERA before missing time with injury . . . Waiver claims Brad Hand and Heath Hembree were solid pickups albeit ones not trusted in high-leverage situations.

The Bad

Familia’s ERA was nearly four, although that was largely the result of overuse down the stretch . . . Edwin Diaz melted down in big spots, compiling six losses, including several back-breaking blown saves in September as the Mets were trying to climb back into the race . . . The unit as a whole wore down due to overuse early in the season as the Mets relied on bullpen games and TBDs to fill out the back of their rotation, costing the unit when they needed to get big outs in critical games in August and September . . . Several waiver claims blew up in the Mets’ faces, including Anthony Banda and Geoff Hartlieb, which hurt more when the Mets needed them to get big outs in critical games.

The Injuries

Lugo missed two months at the start of the year with a shoulder injury . . . Robert Gsellman strained an oblique and missed several months . . . Sean Reid-Foley and Drew Smith each missed time with elbow issues . . . Corey Oswalt resurfaced and was effective before a knee injury . . . Dellin Betances made just one appearance before an injury ended his season . . . Stephen Nogosek also flashed some promise before getting hurt.

Check back on Monday as our Season in Review series continues with a look at the New York Mets’ coaching staff!

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