Age: July 19, 1989 (29)
Traditional Stats: 2-1, 3.77 ERA, 70 games, 45.1 IP, 1.37 WHIP, 10.13 K/9, 3.57 BB/9
Advanced Stats: 0.5 bWAR, 0.9 fWAR, 139 ERA+, 3.09 FIP
Perhaps one of the more underrated relief options on the free agent market, Luis Avilan would serve as a very serviceable lefty in the bullpen, and would come at a cheaper cost than someone like Andrew Miller. And with the Mets’ recent signing of Jeurys Familia for three years and $30 million, going the cheaper route for another reliever might be the more likely scenario.
Avilan has a very solid overall body of work, with a career 3.09 ERA in 308.2 Major League innings pitched. While his walk rates have fluctuated from year to year (as is common among relievers), ranging from 2.50 to 4.58, he’s posted double-digit strikeout rates in three straight seasons over posting just a 6.60 K/9 through his four seasons.
Avilan has become a different pitcher over the past three years, showing signs of potential dominance rather just another left-handed ground ball specialist.
He is not strictly a LOOGY, however. While he is still generally used to a platoon advantage and averages less than an inning per appearance, he has been effective against both left-handed and right-handed batters. He is still better against lefties, with a .262 opponents wOBA in 607 left-handed batters faced, but has been very good against righties with a .289 opponents wOBA in 677 batters faced.
Avilan would give the Mets the lefty reliever they need at a relatively cheap cost while also serving as someone who can get all types of batters out.
Avilan could get a two or three-year deal because of his age, but will certainly receive less than the $10 million AAV that Familia received. With a price range closer to $2 or 3 million, Avilan would be a very affordable option who might just get you more bang for your buck.
As noted previously, now the Mets have made a big free agent splash on a reliever in Familia, they are less likely to pay for someone like Miller and more likely to go after someone like Avilan or Xavier Cedeno. Avilan is still relatively young, younger than many of the other relievers on the market, and won’t be demanding a crazy amount of money. He’s a left-handed reliever, which is something the Mets lack right now outside of the unproven Daniel Zamora, and gets both right-handed and left-handed batters out.
There’s a lot to like with Avilan, and I see him as a very good fit to this team.