One of the most pressing needs for New York this offseason is to bolster their bullpen.
There a few guys who are likely to be locks in the pen next year: Anthony Swarzak who has one more year left on his contract, and Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo who established themselves as key pieces to the relief corps.
Let’s say the Mets go with a seven man bullpen out of Spring, and they sign two relievers this winter. That gives them five locks for the pen. So who get the other two spots?
Down the stretch this year, there were a few guys who made cases to be in the bullpen of the Mets future. In this article, I will pinpoint three potential candidates: Daniel Zamora, Tyler Bashlor and Drew Smith.
The first man on our brief list, Daniel Zamora, appeared in 16 games for the Mets after debuting on Aug. 17, and enjoyed moderate success. In nine innings for New York, he logged a 3.00 ERA, 2.38 FIP and 16 punch outs.
Zamora was originally acquired by the Mets from Pittsburgh in exchange for reliever Josh Smoker. This year at Binghamton, Zamora was one of Binghamton’s representatives in the All-Star game, and despite not having flashy numbers, ahowed promise with his secondary pitches and downward plane.
The 25-year-old from Loma Linda, California looked strong in a small sample for New York this year and could be a solid middle reliever for the Mets in 2019 with a strong chance to make the ball club out of Spring Training.
Next, we have the hard throwing Tyler Bashlor. And hard throwing is the key word, because it is his pharmakon. When he is able to control his fastball, he blows guys away, but he can also be erratic.
However, Bashlor started to come into his own towards the end of the year, and if he can just learn to locate, he could be a future closer in the Majors with his repertoire.
In 24 games with the big club, Bashlor pitched to a 4.22 ERA with a 5.44 FIP, 1.188 WHIP and 25 strikeouts in 32 innings.
The 25-year-old might benefit from some more minor league seasoning, but will almost certainly be back up next season if the Mets need an arm.
Last but not least, we have the man who was acquired for Lucas Duda, Drew Smith.
The Texas native debuted on June 23, and went on to log a 3.54 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.429 WHIP and 18 strikeouts over 28 innings tossed.
Smith had a few stinkers thrown in there, but overall has strong promise to be a solid relief arm. He won’t blow you away like Bashlor, but he uses what he’s got to record outs.
So at the end of the day, I’d say Zamora and Smith if they have strong springs have the best chance of cracking the Opening Day roster.
Which incumbent Mets do you think made the best impression down the stretch that could contribute in 2019?