If we focus on saves and blown opportunities, then New York Mets’ closer Edwin Diaz has had a mediocre season, with four of the former and four of the latter. However, that’s not how we conduct analysis anymore. Instead, we focus on things that could be more indicative of a pitcher’s skill: ERA, FIP, K%, K/9, BB%, BB/9 and so on.
And judging by most of those stats, Diaz has not only been good, nor great: he has been magnificent in 2020. New York Mets’ fans have memories of him blowing seven saves last year with an ERA over five (5.59), but the truth is that this year, except for a little bit of an issue with walks, we have seen the best stuff from Diaz.
For the season, the Mets’ reliever has a 1.71 ERA and a 1.86 FIP in 21 games and 21.0 frames. He has an absurd 19.29 K/9. Remember how rare it is for a hurler to strike out 20 batters in a game, so much that only Kerry Wood, Roger Clemens and Max Scherzer have done it? Well, that’s Diaz’s average per each nine innings.
It is equally impressive if we look at it this way: Diaz has struck out more than half of the hitters he has faced in 2020 (45 in 21 innings, for a 50.6%.) Yes, he has been somewhat wild (the 4.71 BB/9 mark he is currently boasting is the highest of his career) but has been especially dominant of late, with no runs allowed in his last eight innings.
The Mets really need him to keep it up
The Mets’ righty hadn’t pitched since Sept. 9 because of a pair of off-days and the team three-game losing streak. But the time off didn’t alter his rhythm.
“I was able to throw bullpens essentially how I would in game situations,” Díaz said to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. “I had one of the bullpen catchers actually stand in like he was a hitter, and I was able to simulate that way — throw to him and make it feel like it was a real game. I was able to stay sharp that way.”
“This year, my stuff has been really good,” Díaz said. “My numbers have been good. The save numbers are low and I do have four blown saves, but at the same time, that happens; that’s part of the game. You’re not going to be able to save every game.”
New York Mets’ manager Luis Rojas couldn’t be happier. “It’s unbelievable; he’s throwing the ball great right now,” he said. “Fastball and slider are in a good spot, he’s getting a lot of swing and misses and strikeouts. This is the Edwin Díaz that we all know.”