Mets Final Season Grades – Late Inning Relievers
Throughout the season, I attempted to grade the different Mets players performances for each month of the season. In determining the year end grades, the aggregate of the monthly grades given was considered, but it wasn’t conclusive. For example, one player’s awful month could be more than offset by having an incredible month. Also, those decisions were made in the heat of the moment. There has been a cooling off period in giving these finals grades, and with that, there is time for reflection. It should also be noted the Wild Card Game did have some impact on these grades as that game was part of the story of the 2016 Mets. Overall, the final grades assessed considered the monthly grades, but also took into account that player(s) overall impact on the Mets season (good or bad). For the seventh set of grades, here are the Mets spot starters:
Familia would not repeat the dominance of his 2015 campaign, but still he would be among the best relievers in the game. He would set a new Mets record for most saves in a season, beating the record he shared with Armando Benitez. In fact, he led the majors in saves and games finished. He pitched more innings and made more appearances than any other closer. Overall, he was 3-4 with 51 saves, a 2.55 ERA, and a 1.210 WHIP. He was a deserving All-Star, and he cemented his place among the best closers in baseball. Time and again, he answered the call . . . until he didn’t.
In the Wild Card Game, admittedly a game the Mets do not reach without him, Familia was not up to the task. We can over-emphasize the three run homer hit by Conor Gillaspie, but that was just a part of an inning where Familia didn’t have his command, and he wasn’t fooling the Giants hitters. It was a tragic end to what was a good season for Familia.
Addison Reed A+
One thing that was lost during the 2016 season was the eighth inning was supposed to be a question mark with Tyler Clippard departing in free agency. We forget about this because Reed was just that great this season. In 80 appearances, he was 4-2 with a 1.97 ERA and a 0.940 WHIP. Overall, he probably was the best relief pitcher in the National League. He combined with Familia to create the best 8-9 combination in the major leagues, and together, they walked a tight rope night-in and night-out. With no margin for error, they made each game a seven inning game, and they were among the biggest reasons the Mets made the postseason.
Henderson’s 2016 season is an example of why baseball is cruel. After losing almost two full years due to shoulder injuries, he not only made the Mets out of Spring Training, but he was also handed the seventh inning job. In April, Henderson excelled with his 95+ MPH fastball. He was helping turn it into a six inning game with Reed and Familia behind him. Then disaster struck.
After throwing a career high 34 pitches, Terry Collins would put him back in there a day game after a night game. Collins’ excuse was it was a must-win game. It was April 13th. Henderson had nothing that day, and he would get lifted after loading the bases (Hansel Robles got out of the jam). After that game, Henderson lost a bit off his fastball, and he would eventually need a long stay on the disabled list with a shoulder issue. Even with the stay on the disabled list, he was never the same. A promising year ended with him going 2-2 with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.371 WHIP.
Salas came to the Mets at the waiver trade deadline, and he had a similar effect that Reed did for the 2015 Mets. Essentially, Salas locked down the seventh inning, and he allowed the Mets to pull back a bit on the usage of Reed and Familia. He responded well to the workload and the Mets pitch framing. Overall, he would make 17 appearances going 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a 0.635 WHIP. The Mets and Salas should be interested in a reunion this offseason.