Edwin Diaz was the big splash New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen made in the 2019 offseason. Unfortunately, Diaz pitched nowhere near the level he did during the 2018 season. Things ended up getting so bad that Diaz lost his job.
Edwin Diaz closes the door to earn his first save as a Met. pic.twitter.com/e1g90Ady0d
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) March 28, 2019
Diaz was masterful through his first 12 appearances, only allowing one run and striking out 20 batters. It looked like the Mets finally had their closer for the future, and Diaz looked better than he did in the entire 2018 season. The trade would have been Van Wagenen’s first grand move with the Mets.
In Comes Jesse Winker
April 29 was the day things started to come crashing down for Diaz. Mickey Callaway decided to bring him in for the third straight day in a tie game against the Cincinnati Reds, and Jesse Winker took him deep to give them a victory. It ended his April on a sour note, and he never quite rebounded at any point in the season.
With two outs in the ninth, Jesse Winker gets the best of Edwin Diaz.pic.twitter.com/RYUjy1fOiV
— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) April 30, 2019
For the rest of the season, he never had a month where his ERA was lower than five. In May, Callaway decided it was a good idea to overuse his struggling reliever, pitching Diaz seven times in ten days. It all blew up in his face when Diaz blew a heartbreaking save, allowing four runs in a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Blown Save, After Blown Save
The blown saves took a toll not only on Diaz, but the Mets season itself. The Mets finished three games out of the second wild-card spot, and Diaz had seven blown saves. Just converting half of those puts the Mets in the postseason. From the blown save against the Philadelphia Phillies, which drove Mike Francesa off the cliff to the ninth inning debacle against the Washington Nationals, it was a horrible season from start to finish for Diaz.
Diaz eventually lost a majority of the save opportunities to Seth Lugo, who shined in the role. Going into 2020, Diaz will have to earn his position back. The potential and talent is there, but he did not adjust to pitching in New York very well. His biggest concern should move towards moving away from trying to throw every pitch at max effort and master his control. Diaz was burned for 11 home runs this season, which is far too many for any pitcher, let alone a closer.
Pitching Repertoire: A, When it is on, his stuff is unhittable.
Control: F, Never seemed like he could find his slider at any point this season. His fastball command was also bad as well, and he became a life-threatening at-bat during some points of the season.
Composure: D, Could not keep it together once April ended.
Intangibles: B, Handled the struggles and media with class, but it was a huge distraction late in the season.
Overall: F, Just an overall horrible year for a guy coming off a 57 save, 1.96 ERA season.