Edwin Diaz: 2022 NL Relief Pitcher of the Year (2019 - 2024)

 Edwin Orlando Diaz Laboy was born March 22nd, 1994, in Naguabo, Puerto Rico. While growing up he was outfielder, until his father suggested he try pitching. As a youth he would play baseball with future major leaguers, Carlos Correa & Jose Berrios.

At age 18 he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 3rd round from the Caguas Military Academy. 

MLB Career: Diaz spent three seasons in Seattle, making the big leagues in 2016. That year he saved 18 games going 0-4 with a 2.79 ERA. In 2017 he saved 34 games emerging as one of the AL's best closers. 

In 2018 he had his best year with the Mariners going 0-4 with a league leading 65 saves, setting a
Mariners single season record & a personal career high. He also led the AL in games finished (57) with 124 strike outs in 73.1 innings pitched. He walked 17 & gave up five HRs. He won the Reliever of the Year award & the TSN Pitcher of the Year Award as well.

2018 All Star: By the All Star break he already had 36 saves. He was named to his first All Star team & pitched in the 9th inning in the game in Washington DC. Although he gave up a two run HR to Scooter Gennett tying up the game, he earned the win as the AL went ahead in the 10th inning.

In the off season he was traded to the New York Mets along with Robinson Cano & $20 million in exchange for Jay Bruce, Jared Kelenic, Anthony Swarzak, Gerson Bautista & Justin Dunn.

Mets Career:  He made his Mets debut on Opening Day & collected his first Mets save in a 2-0 win over the Nationals in D.C. He collected a save the next day as well. In his first month of April, he collected eight saves & had only given up one run until April 29th.

In that game he took his first loss of the season when the Reds Jesse Winker hit a top of the 9th inning HR off him. On May 1st he came into a scoreless game with the Reds when Jose Iglesias hit a 9th inning HR to give him his second loss in the 1-0 loss. That month he collected six more saves reaching 13 by May 26th.

On May 25th he blew his first save of the year, coming in a 5-4 loss to Detroit. On May 29th he came into a game at Dodger Stadium with the Mets ahead 8-5. He served up back-to-back HRs off Joc Pederson & Max Muncy, then back-to-back doubles, a single a walk & a walk off sac fly to Alex Verdugo.

In June he blew two more saves, taking a loss to the Cardinals on June 13th & then on June 27th,

the Phillies got him for five runs, including two HRs with a walk off by Jean Segura. After a save in the subway series, he gave up another five runs to the Phillies taking a loss on July 5th. At this point his ERA was over five.

Thru July he had recorded 24 saves but had blown five save opportunities & already had six losses with a 5.14 ERA. The Mets had been 14.5 games out of first in id July at 40-51, they would make a nice run winning 15 of 16 games into mid-August inching near a wild card spot. They would miss the playoffs finishing with a 86-76 record.

In the final two months, Diaz would record just two saves as he couldn't be used in those situations with his ineffectiveness. He had given up 15 HRs in the 9th inning & almost twice as many hits than he had the previous year. 

His ERA was 4.5 runs higher than the last season & he had given up twice as many runs. Diaz first season in New York was a disaster. He was 2-7 with 26 saves & a 5.59 ERA. He struck out 99 batters & walked 22 in just 58 innings pitched in 66 games.

In the Covid shortened 2020 season Diaz improved, he went to 2-1 with six saves & a 1.75 ERA.

2021: In the Mets up & down 2021 season, he would improve in his first full season back after the 2019 horror. On April 8th he saved a 3-2 win over the Marlins with a scoreless 9th. Two days later he gave up two runs in a 3-0 Mets loss to the Marlins. After two more saves, he took a loss on April 22nd when the Cubs walked off in the 10th inning at Wrigley Field on Jason Heyward's base hit.

In May he collected seven saves but had two outings where he gave up two runs or more not getting a decision. On June 1st he blew a save in Ariona as Josh Reddick hit a walk off double in the 10th inning. 

On June 23rd, he relieved Corey Oswalt in the 8th inning with two on & the Mets ahead of the Braves 6-3. He retired the side & earned a five out save. He was used twice for four out save opportunities that month.

On June 26th Diaz pitched a scoreless 9th behind 3-2 to the Phillies. The Mets came back with two runs as Luis Guillorme walked with the bases loaded & Michael Conforto's line outscored Billy McKinney with the walk off run giving Diaz his second win. On July 7th he earned his third win as Jeff McNeil's single off Brent Sutter won the game in walk off fashion.

Diaz had a rough stretch around the All-Star break, blowing three straight opportunities. He had four blown saves with a 3-4 record but would not blow another chance for almost two months. From July 23rd to September 3rd, he recorded nine saves & a victory allowing just two earned runs in 16 innings with 23 strike outs. He collected two or more strike outs seven times in those 15 appearances. 

At the end of July the Mets were in first place up by five games. That all changed as they went 9-
19 in August dropping five games back & never recovered.

From September 3rd thru the 8th, Diaz had a rough three games, giving up five earned runs in just two innings. The Nationals got him for two runs twice, where he earned a win & a loss, the Marlins beat him in a 10th inning walk off on a Bryan De La Cruz single.

On September 12th he earned a subway series save, striking out two batters in the Mets 7-6 win at Citi Field. On September 19th he reached the 30 save mark for the first time with the Mets, with a save in a 3-2 win over the Phillies.

For the 2021 season Diaz was 5-6 with 32 saves. He struck out 8 batters walked 23 in 62.2 innings pitched making 63 appearances finishing off 51 games. He allowed just three HRs 12 less that his 2019 season.

2022 Mets Wild Card Season: On Opening Day, Diaz came on to close out the Mets 5-1 win over the Nationals. On April 12th he earned his first save, striking out the side in a 2-0 win over the Phillies in Philadelphia. On April 22nd, he served up a 9th inning HR to the Diamondbacks Daulton Varsho, tying up the game in Arizona. In the top of the 10th, Starling Marte's infield single scored Jeff McNeil in what was the winning run earning Diaz his first win.

Mets Combined No Hitter: On April 29th, Diaz came into a 3-0 Mets lead over the Phillies at Citi Field. On that night Tylor Megill had pitched five hitless innings. Drew Smith 1.1 hitless innings, Joley Rodriguez one hitless inning & Seth Lugo 0.2 hitless innings. 

Diaz came on & struck out the side retiring Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos & then JT Realmuto to finish off the second no hitter in Mets history.

Diaz would save five more games & go month before blowing another save. On May 19th the Cardinals got him when Paul Goldschmit's infield single tied up a game in which the Mets went ahead to win in the 10th on Pete Alonso's walk off HR. In his next outing on May 22nd, he collected two strike outs & saved his tenth game of the year.

On May 24th, he had his worst outing of the year. Entering the game in the bottom of the 9th in San Francisco, the Mets had a 12-11 lead over the Giants. Diaz gave up four singles & a base hit with Brandon Crawford's walk off single to left being the game winner giving Diaz his first loss. 

It turned out to be his only loss of the season. He would convert 22 straight saves through the end of the season.

From there he really went on a roll & became a dominating force out of the bullpen. He would close out May in two Mets victories over the Phillies, first with his 11th save & then on May 29th earn an extra inning win on Eduardo Escobar's walk off double.

NL Reliever of the Month Awards For June-July & August: In June Diaz would allow just
one earned run in 9.2 innings of work in ten appearances, collecting five saves as well as a hold, earning him the Reliever of the Month Award.

In June 12th in a big series in Anaheim, he came on in the 8th inning with a runner on & one out, the Mets holding a 3-1 lead over the Angels. He relieved Seth Lugo & struck out Mike Trout & after walking Anthony Rendon he struck out Jared Walsh to end the jam. He then came back in the 9th inning & struck out the side for the save. It was the first time of the year manager Buck Schowalter asked him for a five out save & he responded in a big way.

In a late June weekend series in South Florida, he collected saves in the first two games. He closed out June with 16 saves & a 2.08 ERA on the season.

In July the strike outs kept racking up, in the seven games leading up to the break, he struck two batters or more each time. In two of those games he struck out the side in order & had eight games where fanned three or more batters. By the break he had struck out 75 of 145 batters he faced, he was 2-1 with 19 saves & a 1.69 ERA, the most dominating closer in the league.

2022 All Star: Diaz was selected to the All-Star team along with Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso & Starling Marte representing the Mets. He did not pitch in the NL's 3-2 loss at Dodger Stadium.

On July 16th the first game after the break, he recorded his 20th save, in an extra inning Mets win at Wrigley Field. 

Subway Series: On July 26th in the subway series at Citi Field he collected a four out save, as he entered the game in the 8th inning with a runner on & two outs relieving Adam Ottavino. Diaz struck out Joey Gallo to end the inning. In the 9th he gave up a single but struck out three more batters to earn his 22nd save.

Overall, in the month of July he did not allow an earned run in 11.1 innings of work in eleven appearances, with 25 strike outs as well, earning him his second straight Reliever of the Month Award.

On August 4th, he had a two inning save in a 6-4 win over the Braves at Citi Field. He struck out three batters & then three games later in the series finale he struck out the side in the Mets 5-2 in over the Braves for his 26th save.

MLB Brothers: When the Reds came to town in early August he & his brother Alex of Cincinnati
came out to greet each other at home plate before the game. Their parents were in attendance wearing split Mets / Reds jerseys.

200th Career Save: On August 13th he earned his 200th career save, coming in an exciting 1-0 win over the Phillies at Citi Field. In the game he issued two walks, the first walks he had issued in the last 50 batters. It was his 27th save of the year with a 1.35 ERA.

On August 21st he allowed his first earned run in two months, although he still collected a save
(28) in a wild 10-9 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, where the Mets put up three in the 9th inning.

In August he won his third straight reliever of the month Award giving up one earned run in 10.2 innings with 16 strike outs, six saves, a win & a hold.

Trivia: Diaz entrance music was "Narco" by the Australian musician Timmy Trumpet. The musician came to Citi Field for his first baseball game & performed that song live that August.

On September 16th he notched his 30th save of the year in a win at Pittsburgh. In the disastrous series in Atlanta where the Mets were swept by the Braves, essentially losing the NL Eastern title which came down to a tie but going to the Braves because they had won one more game head-to-head, Diaz finished off a Mets loss on October 2nd. On October 4thhe recorded his final save of the year in a 4-2 win over the Nationals.

For the Mets 2022 wild card season, Diaz was 3-1 with 32 saves (4th in the NL) & 1.31 ERA. He saved 32 games in 35 opportunities. 

He struck out 118 batters in 62 innings pitched, walking just 18 in 61 appearances, finishing off 49 games (3rd most in the NL). He was named the 2022 NL Reliever of the Year as well as TSN Pitcher of the Year.

2022 Post Season: He made two appearances in the Mets wild card series loss to the Padres, allowing no runs on two hits with two strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work.

In the offseason, the Mets signed him with a five-year $102 million deal.

Injury: During the 2023 WBC he was in injured after celebrating a win for Puerto Rico. He will miss the entire 2023 season. The Mets suffer the worst tragedy of this nonsense tournament which puts players at risks taking them away from Spring Training & the actual teams that pay them!

Career Stats: In his career Diaz is 16-29 with 205 saves & a 2.93 ERA. He has 657 strike outs & 141 walks in 399.1 innings pitched in 404 appearances, finishing off 307 games.

Family: Edwin & his wife Nashaly Mercado married in 2019. The two had been together for nearly a decade prior, They have two children.


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