Over the next five weeks I will post one Met each week that I think could have a breakout season in 2019.
#5 is flamethrowing relief pitcher Tyler Bashlor.
Bashlor’s first stint in the major leagues wasn’t a good one. In 24 games (32 IP) Bashlor posted a 4.22 ERA/5.44 FIP with underwhelming peripherals (7.03 K/9 3.38 BB/9 1.69 HR/9). Bashlor at times had trouble finding the strike zone, struggled putting hitters away and struggled with the homerun ball. Not unexpected for a guy getting his first taste in the major leagues.
You may be asking yourself right now, with those numbers, how could Bashlor be a breakout candidate? Well, firstly Bashlor has got a nasty two pitch combo with his fastball (averaged 96.7 MPH last season) and a nasty slider. Bashlor posted a great 12.72 K/9 in his minor league career showing the great stuff he has but walks have always been an issue. His 4.90 BB/9 in the minor leagues will not get it done in the majors.
Secondly, Bashlor finished really strong in September last season with a 2.45 ERA/3.84 FIP. Now, you can look at his .200 BABIP and 90.9 LOB% and say “he was getting lucky” or “those are unsustainable,” and you’d be right. But lets look deeper, Bashlor’s peripherals in September are very impressive: 12.27 K/9 2.45 BB/9 1.23 HR/9. So while the low BABIP and high LOB% are unsustainable, his peripherals show that maybe just maybe he was starting to figure it out.
Lastly, if there were two pitching coaches that get the most out of their pitchers, they’d probably be Dave Eiland and Mickey Callaway. Bashlor has two great pitching coaches working with him to help him reach his potential. Worked out well for Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom in 2018.
Now, with the trade for Edwin Diaz, the signings of Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson and Luis Avilan, and Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman having locked down their spots in the pen, where does Tyler Bashlor fit? Bashlor will be battling with Drew Smith, Eric Hanhold, Daniel Zamora and Kyle Dowdy for the final bullpen spot in spring training, and as always, injuries will hit which will provide an opportunity for guys like Bashlor.
In conclusion, Bashlor has great stuff that can get anybody out and he finished really strong last season, but an improvement in command is vital for Bashlor to be a key contributor in the Mets bullpen in 2019.