Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Born: November 8, 1987 (30)
2017 Stats: 4-6, 79 G, 76.2 IP, 73 SO, 22 BB, 3.52 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .245 AVG Against, 3 SV
Advanced Stats: WAR 1.6, FIP 2.96, BABIP .311
The most consistent reliever in baseball over the past half-decade, Bryan Shaw is a hot commodity in free agency. The Mets, whose bullpen ERA was last in majors in 2017, are a perfect fit for the 30-year-old reliever.
In 2017, Shaw led the MLB in appearances. For the past five seasons, he’s been one of the most durable relievers, leading the majors in pitches thrown and tying the MLB lead in innings pitched. As one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball, Shaw finished 2017 with a 4-6 record, having a 3.52 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and 28 holds, which was sixth in MLB.
His ground-ball percentage, which has always been his strength, increased to 55.9% this season. He also reduced his fly ball percent to 22.1%. Shaw’s 2017 has been the norm for him for the past half-decade.
Shaw has been remarkably consistent for the past five years, never ending a year with his ERA above 3.52. He set new career lows in 2017 with his 2.96 FIP and his 2.58 BB/9. He excelled in the first half, pitching to a 2.81 ERA in 41.2 innings, but peaked in June, allowing 19 runs in his final 35 innings. Shaw had a 130 ERA+, which when adjusted to ballpark standards, showed that he was 30% better than the typical pitcher.
Bryan Shaw pitches very similar to Kenley Jansen, succeeding with only two pitches, his cutter and his slider. Albeit less effective, Shaw’s cutter is the fastest cutter in the game, averaging almost 95 mph. Even more impressive was that 2017 was the second consecutive year that he gained velocity on his cutter. In the beginning of the 2016 season, he threw it 94 mph; but by the end of the August 2017, he was averaging 96 mph with his preferred pitch. His second pitch, which he threw 11.3% of the time, was his unhittable slider. His slider generated a lot of ground balls and when Shaw threw it, he only allowed eight hits. Shaw’s array of pitches completely dominated his opponents.
Although Shaw has always been a reliable arm in the bullpen, his excessive usage could also be a deterrent for a long-term deal. Over the past five seasons, he has thrown a major-league high 5,892 pitches for a reliever. Another red flag was his incompetence to deliver in important situations. In high leverage spots, Shaw allowed .550 SLG, which may make other teams wary that he failed in such significant matchups.
Obviously, the Mets need more help in their bullpen this offseason. The Indians are already worried that Shaw’s contract will be too much for their already strained payroll, so its unknown if the Mets will attempt to sign Shaw. Despite having similarities to Mike Dunn, who signed a 3 year, 19 million dollar deal with the Rockies in 2016, Shaw will command a heftier deal than Dunn. Due to competition for his services, I project Shaw to sign a 3 year, 25 million dollar contract.
I want the Mets to sign Bryan Shaw as he is the dependable and consistent reliever the Mets need in their bullpen. If the Mets were to sign Shaw, he would join Jeurys Familia, A.J. Ramos, Jerry Blevins, Paul Sewald and Chasen Bradford to form a solid 2018 Mets bullpen.