Now that the 2022 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.
The New York Mets’ bullpen has been an issue over the years and 2022 was no exception. The positive was that the unit was managed much more efficiently by Buck Showalter, who got the most out of a group that had to deal with injuries and questionable performance from key members thoughout the season. Let’s take a look at how the bullpen fared by looking at its most prominent members did on an individual basis. All relievers covered made at least 10 appearances out of the bullpen and weren’t covered in the starting pitcher review from yesterday.
The shining star of the Mets’ bullpen was Diaz, who delivered one of the most dominant seasons in big league history for a closer. Diaz recorded 32 saves in 61 appearances, working to a sterling 1.31 ERA and striking out a whopping 118 batters in 62 innings pitched. Showalter used Diaz in a variety of ways, including in the eighth inning on several occasions to deal with the most dangerous hitters in opposing lineups, and Diaz responded to every challenge. Diaz’s entrance to games to Narco also became a viral meme.
The Mets signed Ottavino to a one-year deal prior to spring training and received a good return on investment as he quickly became the eighth inning man. Ottavino recorded 19 holds and pitched to a 2.06 ERA on the year, earning the trust of Showalter in the process, but his one postseason performance was very shaky.
Lugo was up and down throughout the season, struggling with his command at times and looking dominant at others. The overall results were solid for Lugo, who pitched to a 3.60 ERA in 62 appearances, but he was not quite the multi-inning weapon that the Mets were able to utilize in the past.
2022 was a lost year for May, who missed several months due to injury and wasn’t very effective upon his return. May finished with an ERA north of five, taking him out of the mix for key late inning outs by September.
The lone lefty in the bullpen for most of the year, Rodriguez was extremely inconsistent. Rodriguez worked to a 4.47 ERA on the year as he mixed in brilliant outings with complete meltdowns but he was not particularly effective against lefties.
The Mets leaned heavily on Smith early in the year as he quickly earned a setup role for them. Smith started to wear down in the middle of the season before an injury sidelined him for several months. Smith ended up with a 3.33 ERA and is important for the Mets since he is their lone notable reliever under contract for 2023.
Givens was acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline and struggled in his initial appearances with the Mets. Things did turn around for Givens but a bout with COVID cost him a few weeks down the stretch.
The Mets brought Hunter back in the middle of the season and he was used primarily in middle relief. Hunter was effective when he wasn’t on the injured list dealing with a balky back, which limited him to just 18 appearances despite a solid 2.42 ERA.
The Mets signed Shreve to a minor league deal and he made the Opening Day roster but he wasn’t able to capture the magic of 2020 again. Shreve pitched himself off the roster with a subpar June and was designated for assignment in July.
One of the relievers who rode the Syracuse shuttle frequently, Medina had a memorable moment when he picked up a 10th inning save at Dodger Stadium in June. Medina’s 6.08 ERA indicates that he wasn’t particularly effective and he was removed from the 40-man roster late in the season.
Well regarded by fans for his stylish mustache, Nogosek put together his best big league performance in 2022 by compiling a 2.45 ERA in 12 appearances. Nogosek likely put himself in the mix for a bullpen job in 2022 with his solid work.
Check back tomorrow as our Season in Review series continues with a look at the New York Mets’ coaching staff!