The Right Direction
After a shaky start to his Mets career during the 2019 season, Edwin Díaz has reverted to his form that was seen with the Seattle Mariners which gave him a reputation as one of the best relievers in the sport. The 2022 season has allowed Díaz to build upon his reputation as one of the finest relief pitchers in the game. This season has, without a doubt, been Díaz’s best season as a Met, culminating in an all-star nod. By increasing his slider usage and making it his primary pitch, he has become far more unpredictable to hitters. This is caused by the velocity differential between his slider and four-seamer, not to mention the obvious differences in movement.
In the past 3 years, Díaz has solidified himself as the Mets’ closer. Hopefully, he’ll allow the Mets to go on a deep October run. His 1.5 win probability added shows that he can be effective in high-leverage situations and he certainly has the ability for playoff baseball.
Some Absurd Numbers
During the 2022 season, Edwin Díaz has been nothing short of remarkable for the Mets. His 18.08 SO/9 is the highest among all pitchers with at least 5 innings pitched. His 100th percentile whiff %, k %, xERA, and xWOBA seem to imply that Díaz is not at all receiving lucky results from the pitches he is throwing. What one can infer from this, is that Edwin Díaz is legitimately an elite relief pitcher for the Mets. He can be their closer for many years to come. His slightly high .400 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) also seems to imply that Edwin could further improve on his numbers, provided he gets slightly luckier with contact.
The Power Of Strikeouts
Given that Díaz has such immense strikeout figures, he will likely always be an effective reliever. The primary aim of a pitcher is to limit hard contact. By striking out so many batters, through his high whiff %, contact is cut down to a minimum. Furthermore, his 1.8 Barrel% allowed highlights his ability to limit high-quality contact. By keeping quality contact to a minimum, pitchers can keep offenses silent. From this, one can see Díaz is a master at keeping quality contact to a minimum.
A Definitive Ranking?
Given the level of performance and talent of other relief pitchers in the sport such as Clay Holmes, Ryan Helsley, and the Brewers duo of Josh Hader and Devin Williams, saying that Edwin Díaz is the best reliever in baseball would be a flippant assertion to make. Despite this, it is clear that Díaz has certainly earned his reputation as a top 5 reliever within the sport and certainly holds his own when compared to other elite relievers.
While giving Díaz a definitive ranking is difficult, it is clear he belongs in the top tier of relief pitchers. His performances in the past three full seasons only accentuate this sentiment. From 2020-2022, Díaz has a 2.06 FIP to go alongside a 2.60 ERA. Overall, a top 5 ranking as a relief pitcher seems to be an accurate judgment of Díaz’s ability.
One can see from this that Edwin Díaz is an elite reliever within the sport and is quite comfortably a top 5 player in his position, at this current moment in time. The underlying numbers also seem to suggest that his current form is wholly sustainable and it should not be a shock to fans if they see a slight increase in his production, given his outrageous FIP of 1.24 is 0.49 lower than his ERA of 1.73.