There’s no question that one of (if not the biggest) needs for the 2019 New York Mets to be a contender is reworking the bullpen that has struggled for two straight seasons.
The Mets bullpen ERA of 4.96 in 2018 was the second worst in team history with the 5.66 ERA of the 1962 bullpen being the only group worse.
Luckily, for the Mets it’s a strong free agent class for relievers including multiple options for high leverage late inning pitchers. Let’s take a quick look at some of the options in free agency:
The long-time domiant closer had 42 more saves this season though he also posted a career worst 3.13 FIP while seeing his H/9, HR/9 and BB/9 go up from his 2017 numbers. His strikeouts dropped from 16.4 K.9 in 2017 to 13.9 K.9 this season. The right-handers 2.74 ERA is the second worst of his nine year career.
The Rockies right-hander is enjoying a career season with new bests in WAR (2.6), ERA (2.43), FIP (2.74) and K/9 (13.0). He pitched 77.2 innings with a 0.99 WHIP and allowed only 41 hits. One of the weaknesses of Ottavino is baserunners running like crazy on him including going 24-for-27 in stolen base attempts this year.
The familiar face had a strong bounce back season in 2018 with a 3.13 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 10.4 K.9 and allowed only three home runs in 72 innings between the A’s and Mets. Familia used his slider twice as much in 2018 (28% compared to 14% in 2017) and threw 35 splitters, the highest amount for that pitch since 2015.
It has not been the usual dominatin season for the former Yankee lefty with a 4.24 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 1.38 WHIP and his lowest strikeout rater (11.9 K/9) since 2012. Injuries to his knee and shoulder limited him to only 34 innings this season.
The right-hander spent the 2018 combined between the Royals and Nationals with a 2.44 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 1.20 WHIP and 3.80 SO/W in 44.1 innings. He also compiled 17 saves and walked only 10 batters but also struck out only 38.
These five are just a taste of the 2018 free agent reliever class that also includes Cody Allen, Greg Holland, Brad Brach, Ryan Madson, David Robertson, Brad Ziegler, Tony Sipp, Zach Britton and Justin Wilson.