Too Soon For Concerns Over Mets Bullpen
We can and should argue the New York Mets should’ve done more to address the bullpen. That said, they didn’t, and we have to see how it shakes out.
On days like the Spring Training game against the Washington Nationals, you worry. Neither Jeurys Familia nor Dellin Betances was good. With respect to the former, Sandy Alderson was noticeably annoyed with his performance.
Familia walked two in a scoreless and hitless inning. Betances also walked two, but he wasn’t nearly as lucky or effective. Betances allowed four runs on two hits and two walks. He yielded a homer to Ryan Zimmerman, who didn’t play last year due to COVID19 concerns.
Neither pitcher struck out a batter.
For Familia, the walks are especially concerning. In his prime, he walked that fine line, but now that he’s older, he’s been falling off the cliff. Frankly, he’s walking far too many batters to be reliable and effective.
The situation is similar for Betances, but at least with Familia, his velocity is there. While it’s usually not there this early for Betances, it seems more of a fait accompli it’s not returning considering it hasn’t been there for two years now.
To wit, Betances is working to adapt to be a more effective pitcher without the velocity.
For both Familia and Betances, it’s clear they both had a lot to work on after last year. That’s just the thing. They’re still working on things. It’s also just their first Spring outings.
Opening Day is still about a month away giving both pitchers time to improve and hone things. Certainly, they can also work on things in-season.
They may succeed, and they may not. They may prove to be nothing more than middle relief rather than the high leverage relievers they once were.
There’s an important consideration there. No one said they need to pitch the seventh or eighth inning. For that, the Mets already have Trevor May and will be getting Seth Lugo back at some point before that All-Star Break.
Robert Gsellman has shown flashes of brilliance when used judiciously in the pen. Joey Lucchesi profiles as a potential top end reliever, and who knows what Jordan Yamamoto could do there if given the chance. That’s nothing to say of the veterans like Tommy Hunter who are fighting for a job.
The overriding point is the talent is here, and it doesn’t need to be Familia and Betances back to their dominant forms for this bullpen to succeed. What the Mets need is for Jeremy Hefner to get through to these relievers, the front office to provide the coaching staff with useful data, and for Luis Rojas to put them all in a position to succeed.
Overall, it’s just way too sook to freak out about the bullpen. It may still be great. It may also falter. The thing is we don’t know which direction it will go based on one Spring Training game. In fact, we may not really know until a month into the season.
So just calm down, and let’s see how this all shakes out.