The Mets have stumbled on a gem relief pitcher

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After starting 0-5, the Mets have bounced back, now sitting at 10-8 and winners of their last four series. 

A key factor in the Mets’ turnaround has been the success of their bullpen. The blue and orange’s bullpen leads the National League in ERA (2.97) and is tied for first in major league baseball in strikeouts (90) with the Cleveland Guardians.

The expected arms have performed for the Mets, but arguably, their best reliever was someone they stumbled onto and, after making an adjustment, has turned into a gem.

How did the Mets acquire this gem?

Reed Garrett got designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles last June after having a 10.12 ERA after two appearances.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets picked Garrett up off waivers and struggled initially, making six appearances between July and August before being sent back to Triple-A.

Garrett got called back up and performed much better, including a scoreless three-inning spell against the Atlanta Braves to end the campaign.

The Virginia native pitched 17 innings across nine appearances to a 5.82 ERA with a 1.235 WHIP and 16 strikeouts for the blue and orange in 2023.

MLB: Game Two-Detroit Tigers at New York Mets
Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

What changed for Garrett?

After being sent down to Triple-A after his initial six appearances for the blue and orange, Garrett worked with pitching coach Jeremey Hefner and changed his pitch mix.

After using his four-seam fastball over 50% of the time, Garrett began to utilize a sinker instead. In addition, the 31-year-old got rid of his curveball and added a sweeper instead while honing in on commanding his splitter.

Garrett began 2024 in Triple-A Syracuse before being called up to take Tylor Megill’s spot on the roster.

The Virginia native has made the most of his second chance, pitching 8.2 innings across four appearances without allowing a run and striking out 17 batters. The 31-year-old’s 17 strikeouts have him tied for the lead for all major league relievers.

All of Garrett’s stuff has been highly effective, but his best pitch has been his splitter, which he is throwing at a career-high rate of 21.6%. When facing the pitch, opposing hitters are 1-10 with eight strikeouts.

Garrett has become a top reliever this season and a gem for the Mets.

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