Bullpen? That will probably look the most different out of any part of the Mets roster. With an off-season where the Mets have 6 of their main 8 bullpen arms from 2022, becoming free agents, there is a lot of questions about the bullpen. In a recent article I mentioned one arm the Mets should accept a mutual option on, but it’s still a question if Givens will accept. Right now the Mets have two arms who are almost certain of a bullpen spot but I believe two other in-house options also have a fair shot.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Drew Smith will make the Mets bullpen when healthy and there is every reason to believe he should. Smith had a solid year, pitching to a 3.33 ERA over 46 innings. In that span, he struck out 53 and walked just 15. Main issue with Smith was the long ball, as he allowed 9 homers over those 46 innings. However, even with the long balls and fairly high hard hit percentage, Smith Expected ERA stood at 3.78. That’s mainly because he kept his opponents expected BA and Expected Weighted OBA down (.221/.303).
It’s also worth mentioning that Smith’s worse month was July (7.56ERA), right before the Mets put him on the injured list with an arm issue. He returned with solid numbers at the end of the year. So yes, Drew Smith is obviously in the pen next year.
Could the Mets pen next year have two 2017 trade deadline additions in their bullpen for 2023? Yes I believe they should. Stephen Nogosek was tremendous in his time in the majors but also did well in AAA. The 27 year old pitched to a 2.45 ERA in 22 innings for the Mets. But besides his small samplesize success in the majors, he also pitched to a 2.30 ERA in AAA over 43 innings. In the majors he didn’t strike out as much as in AAA but still had a repectable 8.6K/9. However, it’s worth noting that he didn’t have a consistent role in the majors (mostly getting some multi innings stints when the Mets had a big lead/deficit).
Main reason I trust Nogosek is his added velo and success with his 4 seamer. In a small samplesize, Nogosek got a -3 run value with his 4 seam fastball alone. His expected slash line against his 4 seam fastball was .193/.304/.350. He uses his 4 seamer less and learned a cutter. His cutter is still a work in progress, but it did allow more success with his 4 seamer. Let’s hope he can develop his cutter in a better weapon. I see Nogosek more as a middle relief role instead of the back end off the bullpen.
The somewhat forgotten man in the Mets depth chart is Joey Lucchesi. A starter that will likely find his way into the Mets bullpen in 2023. With Williams being a free agent, the Mets need an arm that can give you innings and be a spot starter. Joey Lucchesi fits that profile.
After TJS Lucchesi had a year with rehab and ended his season with some rehab outings. Lucchesi looked good in his rehab outings, pitching to a 2.13 ERA over 12.2 innings. Before his injury Lucchesi pitched go a 4.46 ERA over 38.1 innings with the Mets in 2021. He did however, had a 3.40FIP and 1.17WHIP, indicating he could be better. And don’t we all love the churve?
Who? Yes John Curtiss. The Mets signed Curtiss last offseason with a 770.000 dollar deal with a team option for 775.000 dollars. The Mets made this trade to have him in 2023 as he was recovering from TJS as he signed the deal. The Mets were aware that he would miss the entire 2022 season when he signed, which was smart knowing how many free agents the Mets have.
The 29 year old right has control thru the 2025 season and owns a 3.63 career ERA. He did pitch in just 86.2 innings over his career with his most success in 2021. In that year he pitched to a 3.45 ERA over 44.1 innings with the Marlins and Brewers. Worth mentioning that Curtiss pitched to a 2.43 ERA before the trade, but got into just 4 games with the Brewers, were he struggled. That was followed with him being diagnosed with a torn UCL, which could indicate him pitching hirt
Curtiss gets his most success with his 4 seam fastball. In 2021 hitters hit just .155/.216/.238 against his 4 seamer. His slider however, got hit (.330/.388/.568) but his expected slash line against that pitch was way better (.266/.293/.385). So there is reason to expect him to have better results with his slider, with worse results with his 4 seamer.
Like Givens, Curtiss would be a solid arm to have as depth in your bullpen. And with the cost attached so low, you have to give it a try.
So who do you think will make this pen? Let us know in the comments.
Photo Credit: MLB Trade Rumors