Seth Lugo, Edwin Diaz
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

There’s no hiding the fact that the New York Mets have largely underperformed this season, most noticeably the bullpen. That’s changed.

One of the greatest downfalls for the New York Mets this season has been the performance of their bullpen. Disappointingly, after an offseason of hope in the area, the pen’s hurt the team tremendously.

That’s all changed since the MLB All-Star break.

The Mets’ bullpen currently owns the best-ERA(3.07) in the NL since the All-Star break, which is considerably better than their performance in the first half.

During the first half, the bullpen was one of the worst in the entire NL. They recorded the second-worst ERA (5.63), second-worst HR/9 (1.50), third-worst BB/9 (4.22), and they also owned the worst WAR (-0.5).

So, it definitely couldn’t have gotten any worse for the Mets. Thankfully, some much needed time off has been exactly what the Mets relievers needed. Along with owning the best ERA since the break, the Mets pen has largely improved in other areas as well.

They’ve improved their HR/9 to 1.02, WAR to 0.3 and they have also increased their LOB% from third-worst (69%) to an NL-leading 84.8%. The increase in the Mets percentage of runners left on base has been one of the most encouraging signs from their bullpen in the second half.

The high amount of runners the Mets bullpen has stranded is exactly why they also own the best ERA since the break. Those results were possible because of the improved performances from the relievers who largely struggled during the first half of the season.

This is especially the case as it pertains to the back-end of the. It all starts with Edwin Diaz for the Mets. Diaz was the highlight acquisition of this past offseason, but he failed miserably during the first half of the season, recording a 1-6 record, along with four blown saves and a 5.50 ERA.

However, Diaz has been virtually unhittable since the break. The 25-year-old has recorded three saves and hasn’t allowed a run through his five innings of work. Diaz also hasn’t allowed a home run since the break as well, which was a major issue for him, as he owned the seventh-highest HR/9 (1.83) among qualified relievers in the NL.

Along with Diaz, Luis Avilan has pitched excellent since the start of the second half of the season. As with Diaz, Avilan has also not surrendered a run during the second half, which has been a major improvement from the 9.00 ERA that he recorded during the first half of the season.

Perhaps most importantly, Seth Lugo‘s performance in the second half is a big reason for the success the Mets bullpen has had. The 29-year-old performed as the best pitcher in the pen during the first half of the season and has continued that into the second-half as well.

In 5.2 innings since the break, Lugo has allowed just a single hit and has created eight strikeouts. Recording strikeouts hasn’t been an issue for Lugo this season. But his ability to keep runners off the bases has put him and the Mets’ bullpen over the top. During the first half, Lugo allowed a respectful .697 OPP OPS. Since the break, he’s now recorded a .161 OPP OPS.

Despite the impressive results already, the Mets bullpen still has some room for improvement. Justin Wilson, Robert Gsellman and Jeurys Familia all own areas they can improve the rest of the way.

Lowering their walk totals will help the performances of both Wilson and Familia. Wilson has allowed a trio of walks through five innings, while Familia has given up an alarming five walks through just three innings. Fewer walks should also help both pitchers improve their strikeout totals as well.

For Gsellman, he’ll need to work on keeping the ball in the park during the second half of the season. The 26-year-old has almost already allowed as many home runs as he did during the first half. Gsellman has surrendered a total of three home runs through his 8.1 innings pitched.

Compared to just the four home runs allowed before the break, Gsellman should see his current 4.32 ERA since the break decrease if he’s able to keep the ball from flying out.

Surprisingly, the improved performance from the Mets bullpen has exactly translated to more victories coming out of the break. The Mets are currently 7-5 since all 32 teams took a much-needed break.

However, the majority of this Mets bullpen is slated to remain intact beyond this season, which makes their improved performances more encouraging for the success of this team for next season.