Nobody should expect Addison Reed to duplicate his 2016 season. This is why the New York Mets will need a few bullpen surprises in 2017.
The guy was absolutely magnificent a season ago. In fact, he’s been brilliant since arrival on the scene late in 2015, coming from Arizona, a previous house of horrors for New York Mets setup man Addison Reed.
This doesn’t automatically mean Jeurys Familia’s right-hand man out of New York’s bullpen will showcase extraordinary innings in 2017.
It’s nothing personal. This is simply how bullpens in Major League Baseball operate. Very rarely can bullpen arms be depended upon year-after-year. The position is one of, if not the most unreliable spot in all of baseball (closer aside).
In 2016, the team who finished first in all the land in bullpen ERA were the Los Angeles Dodgers. They sported a sparkling 3.35 ERA. In 2015, the very same team finished 19th with a 3.91 clip. While closer Kanley Jansen has remained as steady as a rock, the club’s middle relief stepped up big time over the course of one season.
Last year, Addison Reed was downright filthy. His 1.97 ERA and 91 strikeouts over 77.2 innings only tells a fraction of the story. His stuff, his attitude, his demeanor — it fit brilliantly as the Mets 8th-inning man leading up to Familia.
To rely on the man, however, is another story.
Reed, 28, hasn’t been failproof throughout his six-year MLB career. Once thought of as the franchise closer in Chicago with the White Sox, Reed struggled to the tune of a 4.75 ERA and 1.364 WHIP in 2012. Two seasons later in Arizona didn’t solve any of Reed’s issues. His first full season as closer with the Diamondbacks yielded a 4.25 ERA with blown saves left and right. The worst part about his line was the 1.7 HR/9 innings mark.
Twenty-fifteen was the year that saw Reed take a backseat in the bullpen. He shifted to setup man and was eventually scooped up by a keen Sandy Alderson.
He’s been brilliant ever since.
But this is where things get interesting.
Can Reed do it again? Of course, he can. At the same time, he can struggle, mightily, especially considering he’ll likely start the season as closer in Familia’s absence (pending his domestic violence troubles). His past, extremely shaky past provides reason for concern and Terry Collins will need to pray a few of his other bullpen arms step up.
Behind Reed is lefty Jerry Blevins, another guy coming off a stellar campaign. At 33-years of age, the Mets lefty who missed all of seven games in 2015, pitched to a 2.77 ERA while striking out 52 in 42 innings pitched. Again, he’ll be another guy the Mets are depending on in that ‘pen.
Alongside Blevins is a mashup of arms — Fernando Salas, Hansel Robles, Josh Smoker, Josh Edgin, Erik Goeddel and Sean Gilmartin. One or two of these guys will need to step up if these Mets have any serious designs of contending in 2017.
Sure, Reed and Familia can come out and be just as dominant as they were a season ago. But when it comes to the inconsistencies of bullpens from year to year, contending teams always need a guy or two to surprise.
It’s just the nature of the beast.
Reed is coming off a year that saw him destroy his past highs in games (80) and innings (77.2) pitched (previous high of 68 games and 59.1 innings pitched). Until he proves he can get it done at a high level in back-to-back workload seasons, a backup plan must be firmly in place.
The only question now is, “Who is the backup plan in the bullpen for the New York Mets in 2017?”
What they’ll need is the next version of Jeurys Familia circa 2015.